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How Does the Automatic Investment Plan Work?

The Automatic Investment Plan allows you to make dollar-based investments in stocks, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that you select, and on a schedule that you chose. This is different from the way most stock and ETF purchases take place. Traditionally when buying stocks and ETFs, you decide the number of shares to purchase, and find out the total cost after the fact. With the Automatic Investment Plan, you decide amount you'd like to spend instead, and you'll end up buying as many shares as you can afford with that amount - including partial shares. It would be like telling the butcher, "give me $20 worth," instead of, "give me 2 pounds."

Here's how it works:

  1. Pick the securities you'd like to buy and tell us a dollar amount to you'd like to invest in each
    1. To find securities you want to buy, you can use the convenient in-page tabs (e.g. Top Stocks, Top ETFs, and Mutual Funds) found right in our Automatic Investment Plan setup, or head on over to the Research section for an in-depth look.
  2. Next, decide how often you want to invest and pick which Tuesday you'd like it to happen
    1. It's totally flexible - you can choose to invest when funds are available in your ShareBuilder account, on a recurring basis or just once, whatever suits your needs.
  3. Decide how you'd like to pay for your automatic investments
    1. You can fund the purchase(s) either straight from your bank account or with funds you have available in your ShareBuilder account's cash balance.

Once you have set up your Automatic Investment Plan, ShareBuilder automatically follows your instructions, including transferring funds (if you asked us to), creating buy orders and executing your trades. If you need to make a change to your investments or schedule, go right ahead and 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 (so, usually Monday, unless there's a holiday). And, make sure to have enough funds available or on the way to cover any changes you've made.

Transaction Costs for your Automatic Investment Plan are determined by your Pricing Program.