Traders Can Tackle The Market With thinkorswim®


Simpler Trading Team

Aug 16th 2019  .  12 min read

Jump to a Topic

  1. What is thinkorswim®?
  2. Data and Knowledge History
  3. Support and Education
  4. A Variety of Trading Platforms
  5. Access and Fees
  6. Develop Your Skills

There’s an essential question traders must ask about any trading platform they are considering: How will this platform help me achieve financial goals while trading?

Thinkorswim® from TD Ameritrade delivers a high-end solution that caters to traders. Active traders can explore a variety of securities such as stocks, futures, ETFs, and options. Newer traders can tap into volumes of information and education to develop and improve their trading skills.

Thinkorswim is the advanced trading software platform that supports traders in day-to-day investing pursuits while TD Ameritrade is the comprehensive investment and securities brokerage that started in 1975. TD Ameritrade acquired thinkorswim in 2009 and has since integrated the platform as the brokerage’s feature trading platform.

Traders of all interests can quickly appreciate the thinkorswim trading platform as the high-end solution for serious traders who want to achieve investment trading goals.


Investment House with a Focus on Trading

TDAmeritrade is on the forefront of today’s trading environment for retail and institutional investors alike thanks to the thinkorswim platform.

The mainstay software, thinkorswim provides innovative trading tools and an array of educational resources for trading throughout the securities arena. Complex strategies and techniques are unraveled in a platform designed to help traders succeed.

The depth and range of trading services, high-end technologies, historical data, and educational resources combine for an empowering investment partner to investors.

Technical traders can tap into more than 400 technical studies covering support and resistance, trends, and more. Traders can also build their own algorithms with thinkScript®.

This in-depth technical access supports traders wanting more thinkorswim backtesting or other customizable options like creating a personalized thinkorswim scanner.

There are enough thinkorswim indicators to keep traders busy. Technical analysis options offer a host of thinkorswim charts. There are also eight Fibonacci tools and the Simpler Trading original TTM Squeeze. John Carter’s innovative Squeeze Pro is also available on thinkorswim.

Options traders will appreciate Options Statistics. This thinkorswim options tool provides insight into the potential entrance and exit strategies. It also delivers a breakdown of options traded across the market. And, it’s bolstered by Sizzle Index™ which monitors historical and implied volatility.

All traders can take advantage of the Company Profile element. This third-party research tool is integrated into thinkorswim to provide an in-depth breakdown of key factors affecting the bottom line of companies in the markets.

All of these trading elements can seem overwhelming and thinkorswim support is available for anyone who needs guidance.


Decades of Data and Knowledge History

There are a ton of reviews in the digital realm where “experts” rap about the bells and whistles of various online brokerages and trading platforms. What they all seem to miss about TD Ameritrade is its access to a variety of investments through its trading platforms and the history that drives this brokerage.

The brokerage delivers a multi-faceted trading arena allowing U.S.-resident investors to trade in almost every security available including stocks, futures, options, bonds, forex and various funds. Cryptocurrency is in the works after TD Ameritrade invested in ErisX, a regulated exchange for trading futures and spot contracts.

The company supports traders in all securities with information resources designed to complement all investment opportunities.

Traders can easily access live news media, market analysis, and an active library of informative content and videos. Topics are covered from basic to in-depth trading data and strategies.

Investors also have access to the brokerage via branch locations where in-person training sessions are scheduled.

Trading opportunities and education resources are backed by decades in the investments and securities business.

TD Ameritrade is not just one simple company. It is a decades-long consolidation of multiple companies fused into one investment and trading powerhouse serving millions of clients.

The origination of the company was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1975 after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) banned the investment industry practice of fixed brokerage commissions. Several partners opened an independent securities investment company and laid the foundation of what would become TD Ameritrade.

In the decades since, the original company has continued to expand through mergers and innovation. Key advancements include first to offer automated trades via touch tone telephone (1988). Purchased another company to enter online trading (1995) and the first to offer trading via mobile device (1999). A (2002) merger vaulted the company to become the largest brokerage firm in average trades per day (850,000 currently).

Another significant company purchase was thinkorswim (2009). This innovative acquisition implemented online trading and education.

At each stage of its history, TD Ameritrade focused on its long-standing march toward “transforming lives and investing for the better.”

TD Ameritrade now oversees $1.3 trillion in assets across 11 million clients worldwide with a company team of 10,000 people. This is bolstered by 7,000 registered investment advisors.


Brokerage with Full Support and Education

TD Ameritrade stands out among brokerages for its promotion of support and education for investors.

Individualism among retail investors can be a disadvantage in the fast-moving world of trading. TD Ameritrade offers access to the company through a toll-free phone call during business hours, email 24/7, or visiting one of the more than 360 branches throughout the United States. A simple zip code search connects investors to the nearest branch and locally scheduled events or training.

Investors can easily get overwhelmed when they have too much access to information, especially traders who salivate over excessive details.

TD Ameritrade provides a learning journey where traders can customize educational resources based on personal interests and goals. There’s no need to chase forex updates when your focus is long-term stock holdings. Traders can selectively choose their learning path.

This education journey allows for what the company labels an “immersive curriculum.” Trainers with real-world experience provide a variety of investing and trading subjects designed to keep investors informed on their own schedule with easily accessible and useful information.

A catalog of more than 200 instructional videos, tutorials, and investing publications is backed by daily market analysis on the TD Ameritrade network along with a variety of webcasts. These webcasts cover onboarding to thinkorswim or other platforms, long-term investing, active trading or portfolio management.


Delivering a Variety of Trading Platform Options

While thinkorswim is the more advanced and comprehensive of the TD Ameritrade trading platforms, the brokerage has other trading software choices that include a robust web interface and mobile access.

Analysis, support, and education from TD Ameritrade can all be applied across the various trading platforms.

The online platform delivers all the fundamental investor essentials for trading bonds, ETFs, stocks, options, and mutual funds. Watch lists, extensive research, and news updates (including social media through Social Signals) make this a one-stop trading environment for active traders.

Thinkorswim is the advanced, desktop-based software engine that provides trading across securities markets. The thinkorswim download delivers high-end analysis and information resources that help traders generate creative trading strategies while pro-level tactics and tools allow traders to capture trades efficiently in real time.

TD Ameritrade touts its premier thinkorswim product as a trading platform with “unparalleled power” for serious traders. As traders know, the market never stops and thinkorswim provides trading access 24/5 to available U.S. and international markets.

For traders who want on-the-go access to trading accounts, TD Ameritrade offers two mobile options.

TD Ameritrade Mobile is the companion app for the web platform. It provides access to manage accounts and investments on most handheld devices.

TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader is the thinkorswim app that essentially duplicates the software on handheld devices. Users can download thinkorswim mobile app across most operating systems. Any mobile internet connection becomes an access point to trade securely while enjoying education and data resources available in thinkorswim.

Newer traders wanting to learn how to use thinkorswim can enjoy a free “paper trading” or simulator mode on the thinkorswim platform. This thinkorswim paper money tutorial allows you to practice strategies, watch lists, scanning, change backgrounds or data streams, and manage virtual cash from $1,000 to $100,000, including a margin account.

With a thinkorswim demo account, thinkorswim paper trading provides access to virtually everything the software can do, just without actual money. Active TD Ameritrade accounts can use the simulator indefinitely while non-customers can give it a run for a 60-day trial.

TD Ameritrade’s resourceful trading platforms garner a variety of accolades every year. Recent accomplishments include being best in category among brokers for trader app, desktop platform, platform and tools, broker innovation, trader community, and education. All were these awards were received in 2019 from

With high praise from industry peers and all the platform options, TD Ameritrade brokerage services may get confusing to traders looking for an edge in their trading strategies.

Don’t let the feature-rich platforms get you tied in knots.

Pros at Simpler Trading suggest traders pick one trading platform and master its features.

Thinkorswim is a favorite of Simpler traders and this provides a learning advantage for all traders.

Like any training atmosphere, learning and applying the same tools and resources as your trainer directly benefits your success in any endeavor.

Likewise, using the same software platform as your trainer can help speed up your understanding of trading and how to effectively apply what you learn.

There are drawbacks to any trading platform and there will never be a “holy grail” of chart indicators or trading strategies within a platform.

Professional traders at Simpler Trading agree that it’s best to pick one platform and stick with it. It’s much easier to follow a mentor trader when using the same platform. There’s less time translating instructions for the different technologies and more time applying useful tools and strategies.

Thinkorswim is a favorite among traders throughout the Simpler Trading community of mentor traders and member traders both seasoned and new.

John Carter, founder of Simpler Trading, uses thinkorswim throughout his trading endeavors from stocks to futures to options. His innovative chart indicators, such as Squeeze Pro, and strategies can be applied across all his securities investment interests.

While an 8-figure trader like John Carter can move from one market to the next, traders with fewer interests can take advantage of Thinkorswim with more selective trading goals.

Simpler Trading’s TG Watkins depends on thinkorswim for his Moxie Stocks trading system where he finds big moves in stocks for profitable trades.

“Thinkorswim is my favorite,” Watkins said. “I like its look and ease of use for charting, drawing, and annotating.

“Clarity of charts and being able to easily manipulate them is most important to me since I am a visual and technical trader.”

He encourages traders to tap into the Simpler Trading community to accelerate their thinkorswim learning curve.

“The hardest part of learning a new software is learning all the ways to use and adjust the charts that aren’t exactly spelled out,” said Watkins, who guides traders in his MoxieTrader Mastery program. “There are little tricks and shortcuts that usually you learn or pick up from other traders.”

Traders can learn more about trading platforms such as thinkorswim by connecting with Watkins and the Simpler Trading community.


Gaining Trading Access and Conquering Fees

There is no minimum deposit required, no platform fees, and no minimum trade amounts. You can sign up online for an account and within a few minutes have full access to any of the brokerage’s trading platforms.

TD Ameritrade is often criticized for “higher than average” costs, especially thinkorswim fees, but a closer look doesn’t exactly match that label.

As an example, keep in mind that the $6.95 trade fee for stocks and options (plus a .75 cents fee per options contract) is not exceptionally above average compared to other trading platforms. Some TD Ameritrade mutual fund fees can be more than competitors, but the trade-off is there are no fees for hundreds of mutual funds and no fees for more than 550 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

With any trading platform, check the updated fee schedule for your specific trading interests before getting started and plan accordingly.

There are “cheaper” trading platforms, i.e. $1 trades, but you’ll need to be sure to check on any hidden fees. It’s difficult to beat the fact that the answer to the question, “Is thinkorswim free?” is yes. There is no initial thinkorswim cost and no thinkorswim account minimum or ongoing maintenance fees.

Traders should also be aware that few if any, discount platforms can match TD Ameritrade for customer support, information resources, and ongoing education.

The professional traders at Simpler Trading will tell you that in any trading, fees must be accounted for in any trade. Effective traders will target trades that cover fees and deliver an overall profit.

The Simpler Trading philosophy is to get into more winning trades than losing ones to avoid worries over the cost of trade fees.


Develop Your Individual Trading Skill

TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim, like any brokerage or trading software, aren’t perfect. But this combination pushes above and beyond competitors and puts up a great argument as the all-encompassing brokerage and trading platform.

TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim constantly strive to innovate trading services for anyone who wants to get started investing in the market.

There is a steep learning curve associated with any trading environment and accompanying software, including thinkorswim.

You can’t just turn on the software and suddenly be a better trader. Like all aspects of trading, your commitment to learning and applying the tools of the trade will have a direct impact on any success as a trader.

Throughout decades of merging companies, an aura of a “renegade” enterprise has surrounded TD Ameritrade and its acquisitions such as thinkorswim. This fuels the appeal to do-it-yourself retail traders who want to exercise personal control over their investing activities and futures.