Automatic Investing

How does the Automatic Investment Plan work?

The Automatic Investment Plan allows you to make dollar-based investments in stocks, ETFs and mutual funds on the security or securities you select on a schedule that you chose.

Here's how it works:

  1. Select the securities you'd like to buy and pick a dollar amount to invest
    To find securities you want to buy in your plan, you can find them in our Research section or use our convenient in-page tabs (e.g. Top Stocks, Top ETFs, Mutual Funds).
  2. Next, set the investment frequency and schedule of your plan for a Tuesday
    You can choose to invest when funds are available in your ShareBuilder account, on a recurring basis or one time.
  3. Transfer money to pay for your automatic investments
    You can fund the purchase(s) either from your bank account or from cash available in your ShareBuilder account's cash balance.

Once you have followed these steps and saved your Automatic Investment Plan, ShareBuilder automatically processes your scheduled instructions, including transferring money (if you’re using this option), creating open orders and executing your trades. If you need to make a change to your investments or schedule, go right ahead edit your plan as often as you like.

Tip: Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan need to be done before 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday. And, enough cash must be available or on the way. Otherwise, it's too late to set up a plan for the current week. All sales are made with online trades and are subject to applicable commissions.

Why are Automatic Investment Plan trades made on Tuesdays?

For whatever reason, calendar makers didn't build a lot of market holidays or other types of regularly scheduled holidays on Tuesdays. This makes it the best day for us to schedule and run the Automatic Investment Plan.

If you don't like to wait for Tuesday to come around in order to make an investment, you can always Trade any day of the week the market is open by placing online market and limit orders – which costs just a bit more.

How do I set my plan to execute one-time only?

With the Automatic Investment Plan, you can set up a one-time investment or invest on a recurring basis. The plan is flexible to fit your needs.

To set your plan to make a one-time investment, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Navigate to Trade > Automatic Investing (sign in required).
  2. Click the Edit link next to Frequency.
  3. Select One-Time for the Investment Frequency.
  4. Choose your Investment Day.
  5. Click Save and you're all done.

Tip: Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan must be done by 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday (generally, Monday at 5:00 PM ET). Otherwise, any updates you made to the plan won't happen for the current week.

Switching off your plan won't affect any open orders. To view any orders that may be open on your account, go to Trade > Order Status (sign in required).

Alternatively, if you do not have the funds in your ShareBuilder account right now, but want to keep your plan switched on and invest when the funds are available in your account, you can do that too. Just set up a deposit whenever the mood strikes your fancy

How do I add stocks and ETFs to my Automatic Investment Plan?

Depending on whether you're changing an existing plan, or setting up a plan for the first time, we have you covered.

Instructions for both are provided below:

Tip: When putting stocks, mutual funds or ETFs in your plan, please enter whole dollar amounts, only. Also, any applicable transaction costs will get deducted from the investment amount.

To edit your Automatic Investment Plan's securities:

  1. First, you'll need to navigate to Trade > Automatic Investing (sign in required) and once there, click on the Edit link next to the 'Funding Source'. Or if you are creating your Plan, it will be the first step in Plan Setup process.
  2. If you have an existing Plan, click the Edit link located in the heading of the 'Your Automatic Investments' table.
  3. From the `Add by Symbol' tab, enter the Symbol you want to buy, enter the dollar amount to invest, and then click the green Add to Plan button. If you need some help, we have a few different in-page tabs to help you find securities:
    • Add by Symbol lets you enter a specific symbol for a company.
    • Find a symbol lets you type in the name of a company to find it's symbol.
    • Add Top Stocks and Add Top ETFs shows lists of the stocks and ETFs that customers have purchased the most in their Automatic Investment Plans.
    • Add from Watch List lets you move securities from your watch list to your investing plan.
  4. Continue adding securities until you've put in everything your heart desires. You can also:
    • Change a security's investment Dollar Amount – and then click Recalculate to view new investment totals.
    • Remove a security by clicking the Remove from Plan button.
  5. Click the Save button. (Or the Next button if you are creating your Plan).
  6. Tip: A plan needs to contain at least one security, whether it's switched on or off.

Tip: Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan need to be done before 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday. And, enough funds must be available or on the way. Otherwise, it's too late to set up a plan for the current week.

What automatic investment schedules are available?

The Automatic Investment Plan lets you set up your investment schedule in either of these ways:

  • You can either establish your own Tuesday investment schedule or invest when funds are available in your account.

By establishing your own investment schedule, you can invest weekly, once per month, twice a month, or just make a one-time investment. Find out more about creating your own investment schedule.

If you want to set your plan to execute whenever you have enough cash in your ShareBuilder account, just select invest when the funds are available. By choosing this method, your plan only invests if you have enough funds to cover your plan's instructions.

Tip: Learn more about how to have your plan invest when the funds are available.

How do I select my plan's funding source?

If you've already set up your Automatic Investment Plan, changing the funding source is just a couple of clicks away. And it's just as easy when creating your plan.

Edit Plan Funding Source

  1. Navigate to Trade > Automatic Investing (sign in required) and once there, click on the Edit link next to the 'Funding Source'. Or if you are creating your Plan, it will be the third step in Plan Setup process.
  2. Select Use my cash balance or Automatically fund via electronic funds transfer.
  3. If you select Automatically fund via electronic funds transfer make sure your checking or savings account information looks correct, then authorize the transfer by checking the Transfer Authorization box.
  4. Click Next and keep following the steps (if you're setting up a brand new investment plan) or click Save (if you're editing a plan you've set up already).

Tip: Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan need to be done before 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday (generally Monday at 5:00 PM ET).

And, if you selected cash balance, enough funds need to be available at that time, otherwise, the plan won't execute for the current week

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How do I set up my Automatic Investment Plan to use more than one funding source?

Currently, it's only possible to pick one funding source at a time for your Automatic Investment Plan.

Your choices are:

Tip: Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan need to be done before 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday (generally, Monday at 5:00 PM ET). Otherwise, any updates you made to the plan won't happen for the current week.

What cost will I pay for Automatic Investment Plan transactions?

Each transaction costs $3.95. This means you’re charged for every stock or ETF on your plan, on every Tuesday your plan makes a purchase.

NTF Mutual Funds: There are no load or transaction charges when purchasing mutual funds in our NTF program. Keep in mind that costs and other expenses apply to continued investment in a fund and are described in each fund's current prospectus.

Tip: Transaction costs are subtracted from the total investment amount. For example, if you invest $100 in a security and your commission is $3.95, then your total investment amount is $96.05.

Mutual fund investors should carefully consider information contained in the prospectus, including investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Mutual Fund Compensation: We receive compensation from fund companies participating in its no-load, no-transaction fee program for recordkeeping, shareholder, and other administrative services. For additional information, please review our Mutual Fund Disclosure.

Early Redemption Policy: We reserve the right to charge $49.95 on the redemption or exchange of shares of any no-load, no-transaction fee mutual fund that is held less than 90 days, except for money market funds. This charge is in addition to any applicable charges or expenses described in the fund's prospectus.

How do I switch my plan on?

Switching on your Automatic Investment Plan is a breeze (details to follow):

  1. Navigate to Trade > Automatic Investing (sign in required).
  2. Click the Switch plan on link.
  3. Review your plan settings and click Save.

Tip Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan must be done by 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday (generally, Monday at 5:00 PM ET). Otherwise, any updates you made to the plan won't happen for the current week.

Tip (part two): An active one-time investment automatically switches off at the deadline. Switching off the plan won't affect open orders, and they'll execute as scheduled unless you cancel the orders.

How do I switch my plan off?

You can switch off your Automatic Investment Plan by following the instructions below:

  1. Navigate to Trade > Automatic Investing (sign in required).
  2. Click the Edit link next to Plan Status.
  3. Select the Switch off my Plan radio button.
  4. Set up a reminder email to turn the plan back on.
  5. Click Save.

Changes to your Automatic Investment Plan must be done by 5:00 PM ET on the business day before an investment Tuesday (generally, Monday at 5:00 PM ET). Otherwise, any updates you made to the plan won't happen for the current week

.

An active one-time investment automatically switches off at the deadline.

Switching off your plan won't affect any open orders. To view any orders that may be open on your account, go to Trade > Order Status (sign in required).

When will my Automatic Investment Plan order be placed?

All Automatic Investment Plan (AIP) orders are created at 5 PM ET the business day (usually Monday with the exception of market holidays) before your scheduled investment day and will trade mid-morning on Tuesday. Since there is no set time or price for your orders to process, it’s possible that not all your orders will be filled at the same time.

Once the order is created, you can see it by going to the Trade tab, then Order Status. Here are the possible order statuses you’ll see on this page:

  • Open – This order is open, but we haven't sent it to market, yet. You can still cancel any open orders with this status (but it may be too late to cancel your bank deposit used to pay for these orders).
  • Pending Funding – We’re just waiting on your automatic electronic funds transfer to deposit the money for your trade, but otherwise your order status is Open.
  • Processing – We've sent your order to market. Come back and check the final details in a little bit.
  • Posted – Your order has posted to your ShareBuilder account. To view a trade confirmation, go to Trade, then Trade Confirmations.
  • Canceled – Your order is canceled, and we didn't send it to the market.

If you don’t see your AIP order, check for what date your plan is scheduled by looking at the AIP calendar on the Trade tab under Automatic Investing.