How to Open an Account Using Schwab.com

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In addition to our “Comprehensive” and “Collaborative” service levels, we also offer some of our services in a “Do-It-Yourself” service level that has a lower annual fee and no minimum. Basic services include asset allocation design and portfolio management. Some additional services are available for an additional charge.

Within the past year, we opened up our Do-It-Yourself service level so that, in addition to the algorithm-traded Institutional Intelligent Portfolios (IIP) accounts, we also offer regular accounts which are hand-traded by our investing team. We often recommend the algorithm-traded IIP accounts for IRAs as the quick implementation of the dynamic tilt can be worth a lot. However, hand-trading is often better for taxable accounts as capital gains management is handled poorly by algorithm but wisely by skilled traders. Furthermore unlike the Schwab IIP accounts, our hand-traded accounts do not require a 4% allocation to cash. Assuming a 7% rate of return, a 4% allocation to cash could reduce performance by as much as 0.28% because it is not invested.

If you want to open a “Do-It-Yourself” account on the Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios (IIP) platform, you should follow these instructions. If you want to open a Scwhab account to be hand-traded by Marotta, then one option for opening that account is to use Schwab.com’s online account open.

Charles Schwab’s official website is Schwab.com. Right on the homepage, there is almost always a big button that says “Open an Account” or something like it. That should take you to their online account open. Currently, that online account open is found here and boasts requiring “about 10 minutes” to open an account.

Step one of the account open process is to select the account type. If you are hoping for your “Do-It-Yourself” account to be traded by Marotta, then you should select one of the following:

  • Brokerage Account is a regular taxable investment account.
  • Trust Account is a taxable account that is owned by a Trust.
  • Roth IRA is the post-tax individual retirement account that we recommend everyone have.
  • Traditional IRA is a pre-tax individual retirement account. This is the account that is necessary if you are going to be using the backdoor Roth strategy.
  • Rollover IRA is a pre-tax individual retirement account. This account type is the correct one to receive funds rolled over from an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) plan.

After selecting an account type, the screens will then prompt you with information in the following order.

First, you will fill in the personal information required to open an account: name, social security number, and birthday.

Then, you will be asked to create your login and password with a security question. We recommend that you use random passwords for each website stored in a secure password vault and that you use a completely unique password for the websites with the most important information.

Next, you will be asked to provide your contact information: phone number and address. The phone numbers that you give them will be used as an extra layer of security at Schwab as they use the number you are calling in from as one factor of a multi-factor identity check.

And after that, you will be asked to provide your employment information including annual income and liquid net worth (minimum of $1,000). Schwab says with regards to this data, “Securities industry regulations require that we collect this information.” They are referencing the anti-money laundering “Know Your Client” legislation.

After this, they ask two regulatory questions where the most common answer is “no.” They also ask whether you want a trusted contact at this time. If you are unmarried and without children, a trusted contact is an especially wise idea.

Next, you are then asked what “optional features” you would like to add. If you are ultimately going to sign up as a client with Marotta Wealth Management, you do not want to add on Schwab services like “Schwab Trading Services.” If you would like to add on margin features, you may. We typically turn on margin features for brokerage accounts we are opening by default.

This page also has whether you’d like to receive your documents paperless (electronically) or in the mail on paper. Checked means paperless / electronic delivery. Schwab delivers a lot of notices. Most people like paperless delivery for everything that can be.

If you are opening an IRA, it will then ask you if you’d like to add beneficiaries. We recommend adding beneficiaries on account open if you know who you’d like to leave assets to. Unfortunately, account open cannot utilize the per stirpes beneficiary designation. If you’d like this, you should fill out your designations without the designation and then utilize the “Update Beneficiary Designations” paperwork after the account is open to update your designations.

If you choose to add beneficiary designations, there is a toggle in the corner for whether the beneficiary will be an “individual” or an “entity.” Entity can be used if you are leaving the assets to a trust, charity, estate, or donor advised fund.

After all of those steps, you will get to the “Terms and Conditions.” On this step, you check several boxes to acknowledge that you have read various paragraphs. Once you have finished those, Schwab will take you to funding options.

After your account is step up at Schwab, then you can add our management discretion to the accounts. This can be accomplished by logging in to your Schwab account and submitting a “Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) for Investment Advisor” form via the message center. We have a mostly pre-filled form available for download here and a helpful guide on how to complete the form here.

This form grants us the appropriate permissions to see your account information, make trades in the account, and withdraw our fee. It notably does not give us the authority to disburse funds as we believe you should safeguard your money, even from your financial advisor. We do not accept disbursement authority because it is custody of client assets.

The information you need to fill out on this form is minimal and is highlighted on this pre-filled example. You can contact us if you’d like our help with the process.

To upload the document to Schwab, you can use the online message center. Once logged in, the link for the message center is here https://client.schwab.com/Apps/service/messagecenter. You click “upload document” to start the message. Then, you can upload the relevant file and, optionally, write them a message like an email.

After you submit that paperwork to Schwab, your account will be linked to our advising master. If we haven’t heard from you yet, we will reach out to you using the email on file with your account to begin designing an asset allocation and investment plan for you.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

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Chief Operating Officer, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. Her most popular post: The Complete Guide to Your Washing Machine