Transamerica retirement reviews 3.5-star brokerage rating

TransAmerica 401k Review


2022 TransAmerica 401(k) Savings and Investment Plan review. TransAmerica retirement account performance, minimum, rating, investing cost, and fees. TransAmerica vs Vanguard comparison.


TransAmerica 401k Plan Overview


Transamerica, known primarily for their life insurance offerings, also deals with investment portfolios geared toward retirement accounts.

The website includes a few exclusive features as well as the standard information one would expect. Taking a look at what they succeed at vs what could use improvement is important to be aware of when deciding if this is the best choice.


TransAmerica Website


To highlight some of the interface, it begins with a convenient At-a-Glance interactive chart included on the overview homepage. This allows one to quickly view the total balance as well as the specific contribution types that make it up. In cases where it is connected to an employer matching program, it will show how much the individual has put into it vs the employer.


Transamerica Home Page


Clicking Balance Details from here takes the user to a new page where one can see what types of investments that money is in.


Transamerica Balance Detail


The always-present side bar allows the user to quickly navigate to other pages within the profile.

A Contributions tab is where one can edit the percentage amount per pay period they would like to have drawn out automatically from their paycheck. This can be adjusted from this page at any time and will take effect on the following pay cycle.

The Dividend Election tab lays out 3 options for how they can be paid out: payout by check, direct deposit, or reinvested into one’s employer stock.

Moving further down the side bar is the Resource Center tab. This is useful for those who would like a professional touch involved with their investments. Transamerica has partnered with Edelman Financial Engines to provide these more advanced services such as personalized retirement forecasts, personal advisors, and regular account reallocation and rebalancing all found in this area of the site.

Investment Evaluation pop-ups are a feature that should not go unnoticed. Based on the goals set for one’s retirement, the amount being saved regularly, and the overall outlook of the funds in which money is invested, the software will present a rating of the portfolio as it stands. This rating is shown most simply as a stoplight- green meaning that one is on pace for the desired timeline for retirement and red of course meaning adjustments are needed in order to meet the goals set. A yellow light depicted would indicate that although no major changes are suggested to be made, considering adjustments to the current allocations would be recommended. Exploring this function further, one can view pie charts displaying the current allocations of the portfolio vs the suggested ones based mainly on market conditions and one’s age. For anyone looking to stay on top of their investments, this is an extremely nice feature to leverage.


Transamerica Investment Evaluation


Is TransAmerica Safe?


Transamerica and its website shine in one area in particular: Security. Transamerica must be commended for their dedication to establishing a top tier secure site to protect one’s investments.

Upon logging in from a new device, a code is sent to the email on file which must then be input on the login page. From there, a follow-up security question may be asked in addition.

Lastly, if the session is left idle for even a fairly short amount of time, the site will prompt one to interact with it within 5 minutes and if nothing is done by the user, the entire log in process will be initiated again. Although some may find this to be overkill, having investments under strict safekeeping is truly a necessity in today’s world of hackers and uncertainties with technology. Other brokerages fall short in this area, giving Transamerica the advantage here.


TransAmerica Pros and Cons


Another primary positive aspect is that the site offers a unique feature mentioned before assisting with ensuring that all investments are performing as expected and alerting the user if the opposite is true. Investing in specific retirement funds and being able to view their past performance as well as what is projected is key to making smart decisions with one’s hard-earned money. Transamerica nails this on the head as well in a way that does not appear daunting or confusing to navigate through.

The website is not the most user-friendly out there but after tinkering with it a bit, it begins to feel more natural.

Of course, Transamerica is not without its fair share of flaws. As mentioned, the website is hardly appealing to use and navigate through. When compared to something like TD Ameritrade, it’s not even remotely a fair fight.

Transamerica could best be compared with Vanguard which also seems to be stuck in an archaic interface. The menus and tabs are a bit clunky and far from intuitive. Anyone from the younger generation would likely avoid creating an account for that exact reason.

Another less than stellar attribute of Transamerica is the customer service. Long periods of time on hold to speak with a representative, red tape involved with otherwise simple requests, and continuous issues with the site being down for maintenance are common complaints from users online.

A final con to mention would be their funds underperforming their competitors. The Vanguard VTTSX 2060 fund would be seen as a direct rival to the Transamerica ClearTrack 2060 R1 fund available. Statistically comparing them, Transamerica is down 8% year to date vs Vanguard’s fund being down just 7%. Taking a look from an even broader perspective and comparing the two, the difference in performance becomes even clearer. The Transamerica 2060 fund is up around 37% over the last 5 years whereas the Vanguard 2060 fund is nearing 47% gain over the same 5 year time period. This 10% difference is crucial to maximizing value when investing long term.


Competitors


Broker Review Broker
Rating
Stock/ETF
Fee
Mutual Fund
Fee
Option Promotion Offer
TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade rating

$0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.
M1 Finance
M1  rating

$0 na na Up to $500 cash bonus for funding account at M1 Finance.
Ally Invest
Ally Invest rating

$0 $9.95 $0.50 Up to $3,000 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.


TransAmerica 401k Review Summary


Deciding to open an account with Transamerica will come down to what customers value most. Security and features that keep one aware of their future outlook may be what is paramount for some. They would be sacrificing overall convenience and top quality funds to put their money into to acquire it however.

Transamerica has its place in the industry and deserves consideration but ultimately, other options may better suit most users.


Author: John Hausman. Updated on 4/12/2022.