(Money magazine) -- Recent price wars and innovations by brokerages benefit not just day traders but also buy-and-hold investors.
Go to FolioInvesting.com. It offers dozens of premixed portfolios that contain up to 100 stocks each, such as Moderate (holdings include blue chips Comcast (Fortune 500) and Humana ( , Fortune 500)) and Dividend Yield (Abbott Labs ( , Fortune 500), 3M ( , Fortune 500)). Caveat: Transactions are processed just twice a day.,
Time it takes: Maybe five minutes.
How much it costs: The flat-fee plan runs $290 a year for unlimited stock trading.
Pick a super low-priced broker. Some online brokerages now let you buy stocks almost as cheaply as you can via an old-fashioned dividend-reinvestment plan (go to dripinvestor.com for info) and much more flexibly. Blain Reinkensmeyer, head of StockBrokers.com, which ranks brokerages, calls Sharebuilder.com "a great deal for long-term investors who want to make regular automatic investments" in individual stocks. (Automatic investments are executed twice a week.)
Time it takes: Roughly 10 minutes.
How much it costs: Sharebuilder's Advantage plan gives you 12 automatic investments for $12 a month; additional such investments are $1 each; other trades run $7.95.
Time it takes: How much time have you got?
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Carlos Rodriguez is trying to rid himself of $15,000 in credit card debt, while paying his mortgage and saving for his son's college education.
Susan Carson and Laura DeLallo make $225,000 and have half a million in retirement savings, but their sprawling portfolios is proving hard to manage.
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