Setting Up ThinkorSwim: Tips for Using Investing Tools

Setting Up ThinkorSwim Tips for Using Investing Tools, June 2021

The world of investing offers many paths to financial freedom and choosing the right tools to use to go down that path is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Part of choosing the right tools for the job is choosing the appropriate broker to conduct all of your trading and research through.

TD Ameritrade has developed the ThinkorSwim platform specifically with trader feedback for the best and most streamlined trading experience.

ThinkorSwim is a great choice for all traders and even though it is not advertised as a short term day trading platform, day-traders will find plenty of use out of this one. 

What is ThinkorSwim by TD Ameritrade?

One of the largest online brokers in the United States, TD ameritrade has a significant market share of beginner investors using their platforms and tools.

This is largely due to TD Ameritrade offering their customers a choice of platforms from a basic website, mobile apps, to the ThinkorSwim platform. 

We are primarily going to be focused on the ThinkorSwim aspect of TD Ameritrade’s services today. 

ThinkorSwim is actually an entire suite of programs that are purpose built and put together for the average self-directed investor looking for good trading tools and analytics.

ThinkorSwim offers financial literacy services and investor education products in a variety of different ways. The platform helps traders to understand and participate in more complex markets such as the derivatives markets.

Most importantly, ThinkorSwim  is offered free to TD Ameritrade account holders. 

ThinkorSwim Features

TD Ameritrade’s ThinkorSwim platform has many features that will make your investing and trading experience that much simpler.

Not only that but ThinkorSwim  give the retail investor access to a full variety of investments and not just the barebones securities that smaller brokers offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that make ThinkorSwim stand above the competition. 


ThinkorSwim does not require a minimum deposit to open an account. In fact, say goodbye to commissions all-together because ThinkorSwim does not charge for a single trade. That's right, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds all have $0 commissions.

The only fees that you will run into on the ThinkorSwim platform will be options contract commission at $0.65 a piece, and a $75 dollar fee for a full account transfer. 

Tradable Securities

TD Ameritrade offers access to a FULL assortment of various investment securities which branch over into other markets as well.

These securities can be traded through 3 different platforms, TD Ameritrade Desktop, Web, aor through the mobile app as well.

These securities include; Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, ETFs Options, Futures, Forex, Foreign ADRs, and IPOs. 

Having such a wide variety of investments to choose from really broadens the investor’s possibilities and increases the possibility of returns. 

With access to securities such as Forex and Bitcoin Futures, ThinkorSwim allows the average investor to capitalize on the exotic trends or stick with the proven results in the over 4000 no transaction mutual funds. 

These offerings are equal if not better than big-name brokers such as FIdelity and CHarles Schwab. 

Learning It All

TD Ameritrade has gone out of their way to include and make available to you an enormous library of educational tools.

There are some brokers out there that help the average and beginner users to get adjusted and educate them but for the most part, new investors are left to learn through trial by fire.

ThinkorSwim and TD Ameritrade are different seeing as I have never seen a larger collection of investor educational information apart from maybe investopedia. 

TD Ameritrade offers education in almost every format including videos, articles, slideshows, quizzes and even live online seminars and presentations.

When first starting out with TD you will be asked some questions and placed in a skill level from rookie, scholar, or guru. This will serve as a basis for leafing through the research and resources available for your skill level.

In case you have a more specific question or require further guidance, you can find extra help by making use of “Ted”. Ted is a chatbot that can provide directions and advice about all the investing tools, tutorials, data and whatever other options you may have.

Speaking with Ted is a great choice if you cannot find the information yourself, and don’t want to go out of your way to speak with customer service. 

Most beginners don’t know where to start when downloading a new trading software but it seems the issue here is not knowing where to start delving into all the available knowledge at your disposal.

All jokes aside though, the amount of information available is appreciated and more brokers should take note from TD and help to educate their user base, because knowledge is power, and in this case, that’s the power to make money. 

How To Get Started With A TD Ameritrade ThinkorSwim Account

TO get started with setting up a new account the first step will be to navigate over to the TD Ameritrade web page and navigate to the Thinkorswim trading platform. 

  1. 1
    After clicking the link, select the “Open New Account” button close to the top center of the page.
  2. 2
    Select which type of account you would like to open. Choices include; individual, Traditional IRA, ROth IRA, ROllover IRA, Joint/minor accounts as well as many more subcategories including Retirement accounts, educations savings, business/trust accounts, and managed portfolios. 
  3. 3
    Once you have selected the correct account for yourself, lick the “Open _____ Account “ button that has lit up green once your selection has been made. 
  4. 4
    The next step will be to fill in your required personal information.
  5. 5
    Followed by the next page requiring all your financial information.
  6. 6
    After reviewing all your information and making sure everything is correct then you can read through their terms and conditions and once satisfied, sign them.
  7. 7
    The last step is to create a User ID and password for easy and safe access to your accounts. 
  8. 8
    Once your account is set up you can download and use the Thinkorswim platform either on the web, desktop, or using your mobile app.
  9. 9
    Congratulations, you are on your way to learning more about investing then you ever imagined and making some good money and investing decisions along the way.

Who is ThinkorSwim Best Suited For?

As mentioned earlier, Thinkorswim is best suited for the absolute beginner because of the breadth of information available for training.

The amount of knowledge one person can learn from here is worth more than the starting account balance you will have to start with for sure.

One can not simply place a price on information as that is the more important tool for generating more profit and potential. 

Experienced traders will find this platform to be extremely useful as well seeing as this platform was developed by traders themselves to ensure all the necessary functions of the platform are available. 

This is also most likely the reason why so much information is available. If I was a seasoned trader and creating an entirely new investing account for new retail traders I would definitely try and include a section with all the available information I wish I knew when first learning my way through the markets. 

Lastly, due to the practice account on this platform being available without having to actually make a deposit in the account, it makes this a perfect choice for a strictly educational and theory crafting account.

Have an idea or theory you want to test out? Try it out on the practice account and see how your theory holds up without fear of losing it all. 

Final Opinion

TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim platform does what it can to get the beginner user up to speed with the market. This can be it’s greatest benefit or weakness. 

To some the amount of information is overwhelming and it is difficult to start learning anywhere and many give up before even getting started.

On the other hand the platform offers so much information that those with the slightest interest in investing can stumble down the rabbit hole so far and come out the other side knowing more than they could have ever imagined with regards to the financial markets. 

The wealth of information available to the average ThinkorSwim user plus the enormous range of offerings make the platform a no-brainer decision for anyone looking to trade some more exotic securities rather than sticking to the smaller but more consistently safe returns.

The choice of almost any tradable security you may want coupled with next to no fees with the exception of options contracts, ThinkoSwim accounts have every advantage a savvy investor may want when doing their due diligence on the markets.

Take your time, do not trade emotionally, and most importantly don’t risk more than you are willing to lose when participating in the markets. Stay safe, smart and make plenty of returns!

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