TD Ameritrade IRA Overview
In addition to research tools and commission-free funds, TD Ameritrade also provides good services for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's). Throw in advanced trading technology at no cost, and this broker is a good choice for retirement savers.
TD Ameritrade IRA Account Types
TD Ameritrade offers several varieties of IRA’s. Investors can open a Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Minor, Minor Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA. A Traditional IRA was created for savers who will be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, whereas the Roth is designed for investors who are in a lower tax bracket while working. The Rollover IRA is a retirement account that has been transferred from a previous employer's plan. The Minor IRA was created so that parents could create a retirement account for their children. Talk about starting early for retirement! The SEP IRA was created for sole proprietorships, partnerships, non-profits, self-employed persons, and corporate employers. A SIMPLE account is designed for small businesses with less than 100 workers.
TD Ameritrade has retirement consultants who are able to help clients transfer, rollover, or open a new IRA.
TD Ameritrade Trading Tools
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 IRAs
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, $6.95 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
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.
Investors who open and fund a new TD Ameritrade IRA with $3,000 or more will receive free trades for 2 months. A deposit of at least $25,000 will also earn a $100 bonus. It's a great opportunity
to open a retirement account and use some of the broker's trading tools. Link: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.
Compared to Schwab and Merrill Edge, the TD Ameritrade website has more information on retirement planning. The broker's zero opening deposit requirement is also lower than Schwab's $1,000 minimum. TD Ameritrade also provides more commission-free mutual and exchange-traded funds than many other brokers, such as Firstrade and Fidelity.
TD Ameritrade IRA Review Summary
Investors saving for retirement have a lot of resources at TD Ameritrade. Add in 24/7 customer service, more than 100 local branches, and professional portfolio management, and this broker is hard to beat for retirement planning.
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