Charles Schwab

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 20, 2019
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Charles Schwab was founded in 1972. The iconic brokerage firm has built a name for itself by offering excellent customer service, many commission-free exchange traded funds, and no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Charles Schwab has been in business for almost fifty years. It was founded by Charles R. Schwab in San Francisco, California. The company has grown into one of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the United States. It provides a full array of online investing services. Members have access to two electronic trading platforms that enable them to purchase and sell financial securities such as common stocks, exchange-traded funds, future contracts, preferred stocks, fixed income investments, mutual funds, and options. There are also margin lending and cash management services available. Charles Schwab offers services through registered investment advisors. 

Even a well-planned retirement fund can fall short as the years pass and inflation takes hold. Seniors who continue to invest wisely can build their retirement savings steadily as the years pass. The additional money made from investments can help pay for unforeseen future expenses. Just because a senior retires from the workforce does not mean they should stop investing and making money for their retirement.

Grandfolk Scoring
Robo-advisor 10/10
Cost 9/10
Ease 10/10
Cancellation 10/10
Customer service 9/10
Initial deposit requirement 7/10
Securities traded 9/10
Regulatory memberships 10/10
Financial strength 10/10
Is a robo-advisor service available?
Is a deposit required?
$4.95 per stock trade
Is the service easy to use?
Yes, its two platforms are easy to navigate and use
Can I cancel the service?
Yes, a $50 full-balance transfer fee, or $25 for partial transfer
Customer service
How do I reach customer service?
Online chat, phone or email 24/7, plus local branches
Initial deposit requirement
How much must I invest?
$1,000, but waived in some cases
Securities traded
What trading options are available?
Equities, ETFs, Fixed Income, Foreign Stocks, Futures, Mutual Funds, Options; no new Forex
Regulatory memberships
Does the company belong to FINRA and SIPC?
Financial strength
Is the company financially strong?
Yes, it has $3.18 trillion in client assets
Age Score:
50-64 Years
65-74 Years
75-84 Years

Charles Schwab is geared towards newbie investors who might be taking a first-time plunge into online investing. The company’s easy to follow platforms are ideal for seniors just learning. No matter what your age, the friendliness factor of the site is first-rate compared to other online banking and brokerage firms. Seniors should have no problem grasping the concepts that are laid out. If they have any doubt, then they can utilize Charles Schwab’s excellent customer service via the phone, online chat or email. They can also stop into more than 300 branches across the United States for personalized face-to-face assistance.

Health Score:
Great Health
Good Health
Fair Health
Poor Health

With the rising costs of healthcare across the nation, many seniors are facing staggering medical bills. Such unexpected medical expenses can quickly drain a senior’s savings. Creating a diversified investment portfolio even after retirement helps a senior continue to make money, and enables them to build a well-padded nest egg that is beneficial in paying for medical bills. 

Nobody knows what health challenges await them in the future, but one thing can be known for certain, and that is that medical prices will continue to increase every year. Planning for your health care future with a growing savings account provides indispensable peace of mind. 


  • Third-party research is available to members at no extra charge. Charles Schwab offers access to  Morningstar, Reater,, S&P Capital IQ, Market Edge, Ned Davis and others. 
  • 300 branches offer in-person service, and also workshops. 
  • When in the web training platform, members can still view balances, make payments or transfer funds.
  • Watch lists and alerts can be customized.
  • No inactivity fee
  • No maintenance fee
  • No fee banking for checking, savings and debit transactions
  • Customer service is available 24/7


  • The system must be constantly refreshed to view current prices
  • Very few customizable options
  • Charles Schwab offers many no-transaction-fee funds, but the ones that are not free cost $76.

Bottom Line:

Charles Schwab has been in business for almost fifty years, and has a wide fan-base of dedicated members. The company provides a huge array of investment products, fantastic customer service, top-of-the-line research, and in-person assistance at its many branches. In 2017, Investor’s Business Daily listed Charles Schwab as the Best Online Broker for its optimum research tools.  

Many seniors find Charles Schwab to be an acceptable brokerage firm and banking institution. They can maintain their portfolios with the extensive research tools, so they can continue to make investments during their retirement to build their savings account.  Seniors can use the services by making a minimum $1,000 deposit, or they can waive the deposit by agreeing to a $100 monthly transfer. The company’s $4.95 flat-rate stock trades are far more reasonable than many of their competitors. 

Seniors who want to have professional assistance can opt to use Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which is a robo-advisor service. The service is available for as little as a $5,000 deposit. It builds, monitors and automatically rebalances a diversified portfolio of ETFs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I pay for my policy?

A $1,000 deposit must be made to start services. You can waive the deposit by agreeing to a $100/month transfer. All fund transfers are done electronically.

Can I change my plan? 

Charles Schwab offers a multitude of financial options that can be changed extensively. You can contact customer service via online chat, phone or email 24/7 to make changes. 

Can I cancel my plan?

You can close out your account at any time for no fee. However, if you transfer your account to another firm, you will be required to pay a $50 fee for a full transfer, or a $25 fee for a partial transfer. 

More Information:

Note: Charles Schwab offers two platforms, Robo Advisor and StreetSmart Edge.


Since its inception in 1972, Charles Schwab has continued to supply superior service to its many members. It has grown substantially and still continues to expand. Currently, it has $2.73 trillion in client assets and 10 million active accounts. It offers a highly competitive flat-rate stock price of $4.95. Option trades cost $4.85 plus $0.65. There are also 229 commission-free ETFs available. 

Package Details

Seniors can start immediately by opening an account with a minimum $1,000 deposit. To waive the deposit, they can opt to have a $100 per month transfer. Once they have established membership, they can purchase stocks for $4.95, and utilize the brokerage firm’s many other services. 

Individual Plans:  Individuals can open individual accounts

Family Plans: Group accounts can be opened with a spouse, child or other relatives. 

Charles Schwab Mobile App: Charles Schwab offers an app for both Android and iOS devices, including the Apple Watch. The app syncs to the platforms to allow users to stay up-to-date and gives users full access to their accounts. 

Discounts: The company offers no discounts, but it does sometimes run promotions for limited periods of time. 

Add-On Services: All services are available to account holders. 

Additional Company Details: 

Charles Schwab provides two distinct platforms to its users. The Robo Advisor is for the casual user and StreetSmart Edge is for the active trader. 

Payment Policies: Transactions can be made online, via the mobile app, or over the phone with electronic funds transfers. 

Cancellation Fee: There is a $50 fee for a full transfer or a $25 fee for a partial transfer. 

Warranty: Charles Schwab offers no warranty. The company is not responsible for any losses. 

Accreditation:  Charles Schwab has been an accredited member of the Better 
Business Bureau (BBB) since 12/10/2013. The company maintains an A+ rating. 


Charles Schwab is a financial institution and brokerage firm. It has been in business since 1972. The company boasts $2.73 trillion in client assets and 10 million active accounts. Services can be accessed online, via the mobile app, in person at one of the 300 branches nationwide, or over the phone. 


Charles Schwab 
2 Cellu Drive
Suite 113
Nashua, NH 03063-1000
Tel: (800) 435-4000

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.