best brokerages for december 2018

I like to take a look at where our investement accounts are held each year around this time. Sometimes you can earn a nice bonus for transferring funds in-kind (without realizing tax consequences) by switching brokerages.

Here’s a list of the best bonuses I see at each dollar level at the moment. Some of these expire 12/31/2018, others last until 1/31/2019. Offers tend to recur.

Some are for taxable accounts only, others include retirement accounts.

$10,000 Level

$20,000 Level

$25,000 Level

$50,000 Level

$75,000 Level

$100,000 Level

$200,000 Level

$250,000 Level

$500,000 Level

$1,000,000 Level

HT: Hustler Money Blog

Are you aware of a better offer at one of these levels? Let us know in the comments.

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15 thoughts on “Best Brokerage Bonuses for December 2018

      • I agree that the $200k bonus is the most interesting. For all of these “50% more” per the terms of the offer, you need to already be or become within 90 days a “Preferred Rewards Client.” So you must have at least $100k qualifying balance with Merrell Edge to qualify and the $200k or $100k offers or a mix of IRA/non-IRA account bonuses for two different lesser bonuses would be the best way to qualify within 90 days, if you aren’t already in the BoA preferred rewards program or have other accounts that you can pull in. (Not sure how joint owners would work for a non-IRA account; maybe both owners get the preferred rewards on each of their individual credit cards?) Also, for updating the post, the stated expiration for the “50% more” offers is April 30th.

        • Whoops, never mind, I conflated preferred rewards, which only requires $20k and a BoA checking account and the enhanced credit card rewards, which requires $100k. Feel free to delete the comment above.

          • Thanks the comments – much appreciated.
            If you don’t mind, I’ll keep them here.
            Because it’s complicated and if you were confused others are as well.

            My problem is I’m with Merrill Edge already, and they’ve got the best bonuses at their levels I’m looking for.
            I tried calling them for a “retention bonus” but was unsuccessful.
            That said, on the way in I’ve found brokerages to be somewhat negotiable.

            • I’m a little confused about this as well. So if I’m not currently a BofA customer, I open up a checking account (and get a bonus). Then before I can become eligible for the $200k/$900 bonus, I need to put $20k in the checking account for 3 months in order to become a preferred rewards member? Am I understanding this correctly?

              • From https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/faq/

                “All you need to qualify is an eligible Bank of America® personal checking account and a 3-month average combined balance of $20,000 in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill Edge® and Merrill Lynch® investment accounts.”

                So you need these 2 things:
                1) A BofA Personal Checking account
                AND
                2) $20,000 in total between BofA Checking and Merrill Edge

                There is no minimum balance in the checking account (no fees even) provided that you have $20,000+ with Merrill Edge.
                With $100,000+ with Merrill Edge you have maximum benefits of the combined relationship as outlined here:

                https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/details/

                So if I had no business whatsoever with BofA/Merrill and $200,000 in investements I’d do the following:
                1) Open a minimal checking account, hopefully with a bonus
                2) Open an account with Merrill Edge and transfer over $200,000 in investments for the $900 bonus
                3) Open a BofA Premium Rewards credit card for a $500 signup bonus
                4) Enjoy 2.625% everywhere on the Premium Rewards card

                Hope that helps?

            • It won’t let me reply to your most recent comment, so I’m replying here. Thanks very much Robert, I really appreciate that thorough explanation. I’m going to do the step by step process you laid out.

  1. Sure, although I have to admit that I am/was still confused. You don’t need $100k since you get some level of enhanced credit card rewards with at least $20k (+25%) and then $50k (+50%). So I am thinking that a $50k IRA and $50k CMA actually makes the best sense for me. You would get $450, exactly half of the bonus for $200k; and the other $100k could be used for player 2 for the same total bonus amount, which would get the 75% CC rewards for both after 90 days and more flexibility with respect to amounts transfered. Now to see what kind of inkind transfers I can make for the IRAs…

    • Did Roll-over IRA (old 401k) and Roth IRA (open new and inkind transfer in) each for 50k+ a few years ago and scored bonuses on both accounts (terms limit to 1 of each anyways). So your plan is solid.

  2. If I am not currently a Merrill Edge client, is signing up for the $200k level a way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone- get the $900 bonus and get the benefits of preferred rewards (including maybe being approved for a BofA Alaska card)?

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