Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Charles Schwab customer service rocks my socks!

So, this story doesn't reflect very well on me, but it definitely makes me happy that my Roth IRA is at Schwab.

The backstory is that I have a regular investment account with them and recently started my Roth IRA there (after years of telling anyone who would listen that they should get one). Today I moved some money from my checking account into my Roth IRA and was planning to buy some stock. (My first stock purchase, but that's also another story.) Unfortunately, the way that their online setup works, it's very easy to toggle back and forth between your accounts. Normally I love this, but today it caused me to make a HUGE mistake. I bought the stock in the WRONG ACCOUNT, which meant that I unintentionally borrowed money from Schwab since there was no cash in the other account. Ay de mi! I was freaking out, because when I checked, it turns out that the interest rate for borrowing to buy stock this way is more than 10%. I was having a minor freak out, when my husband suggested I call them to "take it back." Of course I scoffed at the suggestion that you can "take back" stock trades. But I called them anyway, mostly to find out if anything bad would happen tax-wise if I sold the stock again immediately. The nice man they connected me to not only fixed the problem (who knew they could do that? He switched the stock into my other account, with no evidence that I ever made the mistake in the first place), but he also told me to take a deep breath and assured me that everything was going to be fine. Two lessons learned: 1) be careful about which account I'm in, and 2) don't make a move before calling them, and actually trust customer service when I screw up. This is not a conclusion I would ever have drawn before today.

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