TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade IRA Review 2015: Pricing, Fees, Pros/Cons, and Promotions for Traditional, ROTH, SEP, Simple, Rollover IRA Accounts

TD Ameritrade IRA Promotion for 2016: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.

TD Ameritrade IRA Accounts

  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Individual 401k (for small business)

TD Ameritrade IRA Fees

  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • IRA Termination Fee: $0
  • Account maintenance fee: $0
  • Account inactivity fee: $0
  • Outbound Full Account Transfer: $75
  • Outbound Partial Account Transfer: $25 Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review

TD Ameritrade IRA review

A few years ago, Trade Architect (read Trade Architect review) was the only online platform offered by TD Ameritrade, but with no special distinctions, and then they bought Think Or Swim (TOS) (read Thinkorswim review). TOS was a relatively small player in the field but had a dedicated following of futures and options traders that had discovered a trading platform that was almost without equal. Even Interactive Brokers, a very popular broker for professional traders, does not offer the kind of trading software that TOS had created, and so in a bold move TD Ameritrade acquired the company and its technology to compliment its offerings.

The IRA investor has full access to the TOS trading platform which downloads as an application on to one’s computer and can be open and running 24 hours a day. TOS is the closest most investors will get to the experience of trading directly on an exchange, and it was indeed developed to accommodate the fast paced world of electronic futures trading.

There is no way to detail all of the capacities of this smooth functioning and feature rich software program, and its ability to visually capture second by second price movements across stock, option and futures exchanges. Suffice to say that it can satisfy any trader’s technology needs, and is continually updated and improved each month. There are system requirements to download the software, and those with older operating systems may need an upgrade to run the powerful platform.

The only downside to TOS is that the display is so full of data sets and various trading signals that it is addictive and hard to walk away from during trading hours. Many full time traders use it, but its intuitive functions are easy to learn for anyone. As a word of caution, there is a tendency to overtrade using the platform, as it resembles an unreal investing video game, easily generating trading commissions for TD, and potentially depleting the IRA account. It is also available as a mobile application for popular handheld devices.

For those who are not interested in the Ferrari of trading platforms, TD offers a web-based Ford version that works perfectly well. Recent enhancements improved some glitches around awkward scrolling and slow response time, so that for the casual investor it makes for a fine substitute. There are charting displays, account profit and loss calculators and the ability to initiate trades by moving one’s mouse over a symbol on the customized watch list. Most IRA investors would find that it is adequate for occasional trading and monitoring prices and account value, with a real time data stream during normal market hours.

TD Ameritrade IRA Pros

  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Large and well-known company with 126 local branches
  • Two excellent trading platforms: Thinkorswim and Trade Architect
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading
  • Easy access to myTRADE online trader community
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Best selection of independent, third-party research from 13 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • 100+ ETFs with no commissions
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)
  • No-fee IRA accounts

TD Ameritrade IRA Cons

  • At $9.99 for stocks and ETFs and $49 for mutual funds, commission rates are high
  • High margin rates

TD Ameritrade IRA Review

TD Ameritrade is one of the five most recognizable and largest discount online brokers in the United States. For the serious investor that requires a brokerage account with sophisticated customer support and technology-based trading tools, the TD Ameritrade IRA is an excellent selection, but not the cheapest broker in the marketplace. However, the array of trading tools and educational formats may make a TD IRA worth the money, especially if one is looking for broker-assisted trading and portfolio management.

Most instruments can be bought and sold for a flat fee, $9.99 for an unlimited number of shares per trade for stocks and ETFs, and the same price for option trades plus 75 cents per contract. At first, this looks expensive compared to many discount brokers that offer single trades for $5-$8 dollars, but in this case the value received may be worth the price, due to the complete offerings for the TD account holder. The pricing does not change according to account balance or trading frequency. The price for broker-assisted trades is $44.99 per trade for those who would like help selecting the right instrument at the optimal price.

TD Ameritrade offers over 2,500 no-transaction fee (NTF, free to buy and sell) mutual funds, and 101 commission-free ETFs researched and objectively selected by the investment experts at Morningstar Associates. Unlike many other brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade does not levy surcharges on large orders, penny stocks, or extended-hours trading. It also does not charge for its cutting-edge trading platforms, top independent third-party investment research, or market data. IRA account can be opened with no initial deposit - $0 down.

In addition to their broker-assisted trading service, there are other ways that TD seeks to assist their customers looking for a long-term return. First, they do offer their Amerivest Portfolios, which have a variety of holdings to provide a diversification for any investing style and objective. The pricing for this service is an asset-based scheme that starts at 1.25% for portfolios up to $100,000 in its Opportunistic Portfolio, and then decreases all the way down to .30% for accounts over $500,000 in the Income Portfolio. The minimum investment for any portfolio is $25,000.

If one is more independent there are no lack of research or educational tools available on the website, for all kinds of strategies using stocks, bonds, options and mutual funds. With their affiliated Investools site they offer online courses and live webinars on almost any topic imaginable related to investing, as well as one-on-one coaching and trading chat rooms for exchange of information. All of these features make TD attractive to both beginning and advanced investors, but where this broker really shines are the online platforms available for the active trader.

TD Ameritrade IRAs don't have account setup, annual, maintenance, or inactivity fees. The firm doesn't even charge IRA termination fee that majority of online brokers charge. In fact, you'll never be charged IRA account fees unless you decide to move it to a different company.

Whether one is looking for traditional broker based portfolio and investing advice, or a high technology trading platform, the TD Ameritrade IRA can accommodate either approach. In a competitive marketplace they have assembled an attractive number of options for the IRA holder to manage and grow their account in the modern electronic markets.

TD Ameritrade IRA Promotion: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.

Open TD Ameritrade account

Updated on 1/2/2016.

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