Top IRA Investment Companies. Best Retirement Brokerage Firms


2018 best companies for ROTH and traditional IRA. Brokerage firms with best IRA accounts. Highest rated low cost retirement investment plans.





If you’re planning to open an Individual Retirement Account, be sure to check out everything TD Ameritrade offers. The top brokerage house for IRA has a lot of resources that retirement savers will find appealing.

IRAs Offered: Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Individual 401k (for small business)
IRA Setup Fee: $0
IRA Annual Fee: $0
IRA Termination Fee: $0


No Fees


TD Ameritrade has eliminated the vast majority of fees from its IRA’s. There are no annual fees, low-balance fees, maintenance charges, or inactivity fees; nor is there any charge to close an IRA.

Moreover, there is no minimum deposit requirement to open a retirement account, so you can start building your nest egg with nothing. Other brokers have fees and minimum opening requirements.


Good Educational Resources


If you’re opening an Individual Retirement Account, chances are you’ll be managing it on your own. If so, it helps to have some resources to assist you along the way. TD Ameritrade has an excellent learning center on its website that provides self-directed clients with a wealth of information.

For example, there is a video on tax-efficient investing and a self-directed course on portfolio management. Other topics we found include diversification, long-term growth, and an overview of annuities.

Besides the learning center, there is also a section devoted to planning and retirement. Here there is information on signing up for the broker-dealer’s investment management services if you decide you want help making trading decisions. The broker’s AdvisorDirect™ referral service makes it easy to find an independent financial planner as well.

During our investigation, we found articles for retirement savers who are just beginning to save for retirement, who are already in retirement, or who are nearing retirement. Dividing resources in this manner makes it easy to find information that’s relevant to your own situation. There are also articles on small business retirement plans, self-employed 401(k)’s, and education plans.


Customer Service


Some brokerage firms leave their clients on their own and don’t provide much in terms of customer service. TD Ameritrade, though, has a good track record of servicing their customers. The broker provides phone support 24/7 and operates a nationwide network of branch locations. Its website has a self-help section with a lot of useful features. These include the ability to download forms, send an e-mail to customer service, and link accounts.


Fund Trading


TD Ameritrade has an excellent selection of funds, which retirement accounts frequently invest in. All exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. markets are available for trading, and the brokerage house offers 300+ ETF’s with zero trading fees.

In the mutual fund department, there are several target-date funds available. These are securities that are designed for retirement savings. As the target date approaches, the fund’s investments become less risky. We found 590 of these funds. Some of the fund families include Invesco, Fidelity, and Goldman Sachs.


Free DRIP Service


TD Ameritrade offers its clients a free Dividend Reinvestment Plan. You can reinvest cash dividends as fractional shares of stocks and ETF’s. There are no fees or commissions charged on these transactions. Because some holdings in a retirement account may not be changed for many years, this is a great service that will allow equity positions to sit on autopilot.

It’s also possible to have mutual fund distributions rolled back into the fund or paid as cash into an account’s core position. As with stocks and ETF’s, there is no charge for either option.


Top IRA Firm


Great Trading Tools


If you plan to actively trade stocks, ETF’s, and options in your IRA, TD Ameritrade has some excellent tools to help you along the way. The company’s desktop platform is one of the best we have seen, and there’s also a much simpler browser-based platform called Trade Architect. It can be used for less frequent trading of securities.


Awards


Best IRA Brokerage


Full Review


Read detailed TD Ameritrade review.


TD Ameritrade IRA Promotion


Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.


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IRAs Offered: Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, Coverdell Education Plan
IRA Setup Fee: $0
IRA Annual Fee: $0
IRA Termination Fee: $25


Few Fees


Ally Invest does not charge an annual IRA fee. Some brokerage firms still do. Ally Invest also charges nothing for a low balance or inactivity. Closing an IRA costs $25.

Ally Invest does not have a minimum deposit requirement to open an IRA, which is a great help for small investors. If you have an IRA at another broker, you can transfer it to Ally Invest and receive a credit up to $150 for any transfer fees your old broker charges.


A Variety of Accounts


Ally Invest offers a variety of IRA’s. You can open a Roth or Traditional account. The brokerage firm also provides SEP and SIMPLE plans, which are designed for small businesses and self-employed persons. It’s possible to move an old employer’s plan into an Ally Invest IRA. The brokerage firm does not offer solo 401(k)’s. Besides retirement, Coverdell Education Plans are available at Ally Invest as well.

It’s possible to access both Ally Bank and Ally Invest accounts from a single login. If you wanted something safer than securities, you could also open an Ally Bank IRA and link it to your regular brokerage account. An IRA with the banking division can be a savings account or a CD. Currently, rates go as high as 3%.


Best IRA Company


Educational Resources


Ally Invest knows that it has a lot of self-directed customers. If you’re opening an IRA, you’ll probably need a little guidance along the way. The Ally Invest website has an educational section that provides a lot of learning materials. These are mostly in the form of articles that cover a wide variety of investing topics, such as buying and selling mutual funds and how inflation affects the value of investments. One feature we found that might help with an Ally Bank IRA was a CD laddering tool.


Portfolio Management


If you decide that you would rather let your broker manage your assets, Ally Invest offers a robo-advisory service that costs just 0.30% per year with a low $2,500 minimum account balance. Other brokers (such as Firstrade and SogoTrade) don’t offer this service.


Customer Service


If you do decide to manage your own account, you’ll definitely want good customer service. Ally Invest offers customer support day and night, 7 days a week. Many brokers don’t do this, so obviously Ally Invest would be a good choice. The broker’s website also has an online chat feature if you prefer that route.


Fund Trading


Besides stocks, options, CD’s, and bonds (which themselves may be of interest to retirement savers), Ally Invest offers an extensive list of funds. In the realm of ETF’s, the broker-dealer offers 115 funds commission-free. These are mostly WisdomTree and iShares funds. For mutual fund traders, Ally provides target-date funds, which are a good choice for a retirement account.


Free DRIP Service


Ally Invest has a Dividend Reinvestment Plan that costs nothing. When you sign up for the service, cash dividends will be rolled back into your stock or ETF as additional shares. This includes fractional shares if they are needed. A security must have a share price of at least $4 to be eligible for the program. It’s a great way to leave a retirement on autopilot without having to manually withdraw cash distributions or purchase additional shares of securities.


Awards


Top IRA Investment Firm


Full Review


Read detailed Ally Invest review.


Ally Invest IRA Promotion


Up to $3,500 cash bonus + commission free trades for new accounts.


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Commissions

TD Ameritrade


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $44.99
Options $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
No-load mutual funds $49.99
Treasuries at auction $25
All other bonds and CMOs, CDs on a net yield basis
Futures $2.25 per contract plus exchange & regulatory fees
Forex Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.

Investments stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
TD Ameritrade minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTD Ameritrade fees
Promotion links TD Ameritrade promotions


Ally Invest


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95 ($3.95 per trade if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract ($0.50 per contract if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds $1 per bond with $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Treasuries commission-free
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) $24.95
Futures $0.85 per contract up to 250 contracts, $0.65 per contract 251-2000 contracts, $0.45 per contract over 2000 contracts

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, futures, treasuries, ETFs
Ally Invest minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesAlly Invest fees
Promotion link Ally Invest promotions





What Investors Should Look for When Choosing a Broker for an IRA

Retirement savers need to take several issues into consideration when looking to open a brokerage IRA. Because companies vary widely on some of these issues, it’s especially important to do your homework before opening an Individual Retirement Account. Here’s a rundown on some of these important areas:


IRA Fees


At the top of the list should probably be fees. After all, we are talking about money here. But it’s especially important with retirement accounts because brokers traditionally have charged IRA fees. Many online discount firms have eliminated their IRA charges in recent years, but some still charge either an annual fee or a fee to close an IRA.

For example, Ally Invest charges $25 to close a retirement account, while Vanguard charges $25 per year for each Vanguard fund inside a SIMPLE IRA. Notice that these fees differ from fees assessed against regular brokerage accounts.

Some brokerage firms will also have a minimum deposit requirement to open an IRA. TD Ameritrade requires nothing to open a retirement account.


Educational Resources


If you’re going to be responsible for your own trading decisions, you’ll probably want access to good-quality educational resources to help you along the way. This is especially true if you’re a beginning investor. Broker-dealers vary widely on this issue, so it’s important to verify what resources a broker has before choosing a firm.

In our survey, we found that while WellsTrade does offer IRA’s, the brokerage house provides scant educational materials, especially those designed for retirement customers. Merrill Edge, on the other hand, has a lot of resources, in different formats, that can help guide investors trying to build a nest egg.


Customer Service


Besides learning materials, you’ll also want good customer service. Once again, brokerage firms differ widely here. M1 Finance, for example, offers customer support only during the weekday and does not have online chat or branch locations. The self-help section on its website also is rather limited.

Fidelity, by comparison, offers phone support 24/7 plus online chat more limited hours. The brokerage house operates a network of branch locations and the self-service section on its website is much more extensive than M1 Finance’s.


Funds


A common investment used in retirement accounts is funds, both mutual and exchange-traded. If you think you might invest in funds, be sure to pick a broker that offers plenty of them. Once again, companies differ greatly in this area. tastyworks, for example, doesn’t provide its customers with access to any mutual funds. USAA, on the other hand, offers over 14,000 of them.

You’ll also want to make sure that target-date funds are on your broker’s list of funds. These are investments that become more conservative as the target date (the date of retirement) approaches, which is a good idea because you don’t want a lot of volatility near or during retirement.

Exchange-traded funds tend to have lower fees than mutual funds; so they have become more popular in recent years. Most brokerage firms in the United States offer ETF’s that trade on American exchanges, but some offer more than this.

Firstrade, for example, offers all US-listed ETF’s commission-free with no short-term trade penalties. Interactive Brokers provides not just access to US-listed funds but also many ETF’s that trade on foreign exchanges as well.


DRIP Service


If you do decide to invest in ETF’s (or stocks for that matter), you may want to reinvest any dividends you get as additional shares of the security. Some broker-dealers like TradeStation don’t offer this service even for a fee. Other firms like TD Ameritrade offer it for free.

When you sign up for a Dividend Reinvestment Plan, you get cash dividends converted into shares of the security. Those shares are automatically reinvested into the position without any work on your part. It’s a good way to put your investments on autopilot. If you plan to hold the security for several years or longer (certainly a possibility in a retirement account), finding a broker that doesn’t charge any commissions on DRIP reinvestments could save a lot of money over the long term.


Commissions


If you plan to trade frequently in your IRA, commissions could really add up over time. Be sure to check any potential broker’s pricing schedule before making a commitment. Some brokers like Firstrade have eliminated all commissions on stocks, options, ETF’s, and mutual funds; while other firms like HSBC still charge high commissions ($65 minimum charge on some trades).


Portfolio Management


Many broker-dealers today offer some form of account management if you decide you would rather turn over your assets to a professional. These services range from computerized management (Schwab’s ETF robot is free) to traditional human management. Typically, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are available in the second category, but the cost is higher.


About Top IRA Companies

Above is the list of our best IRA companies in 2018. All of them offer free Traditional IRA, ROTH IRA, SEP IRA and SIMPLE IRA accounts for individuals. There are no annual, maintenance, custodial, or setup fees associated with these top IRA accounts.

The overall best brokerage company for IRA for do-it-yourself investors is TD Ameritrade. There are no IRA fees at the broker: individual retirement account setup, inactivity, or maintenance fees. The firm offers low mutual funds commissions, over 2,000 mutual funds commission-free, investment research amenities, and rich selection of investment products.

The best brokerage firm for IRA for beginners is Ally Invest: the broker offers very good customer service, easy to learn website, and lots of free trading tools and services.

Another top rated company for IRA is Firstrade. This is the cheapest broker among our best IRA firms, so it's naturally very attractive option for the bargain-seeking customers. Firstrade also offers a suit of valuable services for free.

If you are only comfortable having a brokerage IRA account with large, well-known firm, then either TD Ameritrade or Fidelity Investments will work great for you.

You can open new tax exempt retirement account or set up to transfer your existing brokerage IRA or employer 401(K) account by clicking one of the links on this website and following instructions. Make sure to read these brokerage's IRA account reviews before making final decision.

All best companies for IRA mentioned here are members of FINRA - they have to comply to strict government rules. They are also SIPC insured - broker-dealer equivalent of banks FDIC insurance. It covers up to $500,000 per customer, including up to $250,000 in cash.


Best IRA Companies reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4.5