Robinhood to Merrill Edge Transfer

I been a loyal user of Robinhood since I got my invite in March 2015 and slowly I have been adding funds to the account.  At first I was chasing yields with the mREITS and BDCs and a little bit of swing trading.  It was a lot of work and most of these strategies only work in the short term, not in the long term growth that I was looking for.

Dividend Growth Investing

I found out about the power of Financial Independence and Dividend Growth Investing in the beginning of 2016 and have slowly been building my portfolio.  I was reading all what the other bloggers were buying, and had in their portfolio. I took all the stocks they owned and weighted and had a starter portfolio.

Now that I had a list of all the stocks, I needed a way to organize all the stocks and saw that everyone was using Spreadsheets to keep track.   I needed to find a easier way to organize the data since I was not buying huge lots of stocks and was dollar cost averaging and buying at the most 1-2 shares at a time.

I started doing research on what was available and found out that someone had figured out Robinhood’s API and since I am a developer my self, this is exactly the light I needed and when my internal FI Stocks Tracker was born.

FI STOCKS TOOL

I love charts and to visualize data so I built a couple of scripts to start downloading everything that was on the Robinhood API into MySQL to later on start charting later, keeping track of dividend growth etc.

Dividend Income Summary for February 2017

When you start visualizing all the data, it comes alive and you get a better picture.

Robinhood API does not have all the info that I needed such as a history of dividend payments, if they were qualified or non-qualified, frequency of payments, etc.  Luckily, there are tons of sites/places that provide this sort of stock data such as Yahoo! Finance and Nasdaq.

Monthly Dividend Summary for Feb 2017
the migration to merrill edge

This is a difficult one, since Merrill Edge does not have a “nice” API to work with. I needed to find a solution to continue downloading the data nightly locally to further analyze and generate beautiful graphs.

Most banks and brokerages have an OFX Server to automate the download of the data into Quicken/Money.

I found resources online that pointed to that server, did some test runs and everything that I needed was inside the export file.  Challenge number 2 was to process the individual items and make sure they go to the right place.

Was I happy with Robinhood? Yes, I was as it gave me a starting point to start on this journey, but I was increasing growing concern with the non-existent support and over 2 weeks to get a response.

When the portfolio passed the $50,000, I started the search for another broker that would continue to let me purchase small batches of stocks and Merrill Edge fit the bill, 30 free trades a month if you have over $50,000 in assets with them.

The whole process took a little over a week and half to move.  So far it has been a pleasant experience.

Thanks for reading,

Div Tech Guy 🙂

Current Brokerage

Update: 02/22/2017

I have since moved from Robinhood to Merrill Edge.  I still save on commissions.

Most of the Cons have turned into pros with the move and I am happy with the transition thus far.

Robinhood

I started using Robinhood early this year for all my stock purchases and just recently got access to Instant, since I am starting with only a little bit of money every month, Robinhood is the perfect fit.

Pros of Robinhood.

  • Free Trades – allows me to buy small amount of shares without starting from a loss.
  • Money Available Instantly – Up to $1000, it is credited instantly and allows me to buy the stocks. If you are invited to Instant
  • Intuitive interface, easy setup, no commission fees. The UI is the best I’ve seen in awhile.
  • Save Money – An investor following sound investing principles will save about ~$100-200 per year on trades which can be used towards buying more stocks.  Specially if you are a starting out with limited capital.

Cons

  • App-only version, wish there was a nice web client also.
  • No integration with Personal Capital
  • No Automatic Dividend Re-investment.

Since they are still relatively a new brokerage, features like charting and web client will be added later as they are more focused towards the millennial users.