Best Places To Open A Roth IRA

Best Places To Open A Roth IRA

The best Roth IRA accounts are easy to open online. There are a ton of online brokerage firms that let you open a Roth IRA and invest in various funds. To help you with your search for the best Roth IRA account, we compared more than 30 financial companies to find out which ones offer the best Roth IRA accounts in terms of investment options, investment help, and fees involved.

Our top pick is Betterment due to the way it helps beginners build a portfolio while keeping ongoing account management costs low.

Unlike a Traditional IRA, a Roth IRA account lets you make contributions with after-tax dollars. This means you pay income taxes on the money before you move it your Roth IRA.

While this means you’ll pay taxes now, contributing to a Roth IRA can make a big difference in the future. This is because your money grows tax-free. When you withdraw from your account after age 59 1/2, you can use your Roth IRA funds without paying income taxes and without any penalty.

This all sounds great, but it can be easy to become overwhelmed when you start looking at where to open a Roth IRA. Not only that, but how will you invest the money that’s inside your Roth IRA?

The Best Roth IRA Options of 2021

  • Beginners; Hands Off
  • $0 per trade
  • Annual: 0.25-0.40% account balance
  • Minimum: $100/mo
  • Self-Directed Investors
  • $0 per trade
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $100
  • Low Fees
  • $0 per trade
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $0
  • Non-Stock
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $0
  • ETF Trading
  • $0 per trade
  • $49.99 mutual fund
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $0
  • Overall
  • $0 per trade
  • $19.99 mutual fund
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $0
  • Military
  • $8.95 per trade
  • $45 mutual fund
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $50
  • Low Cost
  • $0 trades for online stock and option trades
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $1,000
  • Low Cost
  • $0 Vanguard funds
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: Varies
  • Low Cost
  • $0 For Fidelity funds
  • Annual: $0
  • Minimum: $0

Reviews of the Best Roth IRA Companies

We chose 10 different Roth IRA providers for our ranking, but it’s possible one of these providers will ultimately suit your needs the best. The following reviews break down the highlights of each of these companies, how much you’ll pay in fees, and who they might be best for.

Betterment – Best Roth IRA for Hands Off Investing

In recent years, Betterment has made a splash in the world of investing. If you are a hands-off investor who wants to grow retirement wealth over time, Betterment might be the right choice for you. 

What to know:

  • Fees are based on the total amount invested. Betterment offers a no-fee “Checking” plan, a “Digital Investing” plan with a 0.25% annual fee, and a “Premium Investing” plan with a 0.40% annual fee.
  • The Checking and Digital Investing plans have no minimum balance requirement; the Premium Investing plan has a $100,000 minimum.

M1 Finance — Best for Self-Directed Investors

M1 Finance is ideal for experienced investors who want to customize their investment accounts. You can invest in fractional shares that help you diversify as much as possible, and automate your investing schedule to stay on track with your goals. 

What to know:

  • “Pie-based” interface that lets you customize a portfolio based on your appetite for risk. 
  • You can choose from more than 6,000 stocks and funds to build your own pie, or you can choose from more than 100 pies expertly created by M1 Finance.
  • M1 Finance lets investors get started with a Roth IRA and other investment accounts without any fees, and they don’t charge trading fees, either. 
  • Requires a minimum deposit of $100.

Stash — Best for Low Fees

Stash offers Roth IRAs as well as an array of digital banking products from bank accounts to metal cards that reward you with stock when you shop. 

What to know:

  • Three account options: Stash Beginner ($1 per month), Stash Growth ($3 per month) and Stash+ ($9 per month).
  • You’ll need to upgrade to the mid-tier Stash Growth account at $3 per month to have a Roth IRA with this provider. This type of account also comes with a bank account and free budgeting tools, among other benefits.
  • For its Roth IRA offering, Stash lets you invest with no added investment fees. The Roth IRA account minimum starts at just $.01.

LendingClub – Best Non-Stock Investments

LendingClub is the top peer-to-peer lender in the United States. Unlike the other brokerage firms in this post, LendingClub allows you to invest in loans that are made to other people. 

What to know:

  • LendingClub partners with a third-party to set up a self-directed Roth IRA. This allows you to direct your investments and not be limited to just stocks.
  • Account fees range from $40 to $100 depending on your custodian.
  • LendingClub retirement accounts come with a $5,500 minimum to open an account, followed by fee-free account management.

TD Ameritrade – Best for ETF Trading

Another brokerage firm that mixes online discount trades with brick-and-mortar locations is TD Ameritrade. This brokerage has more than 175 locations around the country that you can walk into whenever you have a question you want to be answered in person. Their online trading platform is also easy to use.

What to know:

  • Trade costs are competitive on the stock and ETF side, with a no-fee commission structure. It’s also worth noting that TD Ameritrade has an extensive collection of commission-free ETFs. 
  • Mutual fund charge of $49.99 per trade.

E*TRADE – Solid Option Overall

E*TRADE has been around since 1992 and has constantly been pushing the industry to innovate trading technologies for customers. 

What to know:

  • E*TRADE’s has more than 9,000+ mutual funds available that come with no load and no transaction fee. Adding these to your Roth IRA will lower your fees. 
  • Technically, E*TRADE has brick-and-mortar locations for you to visit, but there are only 30 in the entire country. E*TRADE is primarily an online discount brokerage firm, and it’s an industry leader in this space.

USAA – Best Roth IRA for Military and their Families

USAA provides a variety of services and accounts for military personnel and their families. If you or one of your family members has ever been a part of any military service, you should be able to open an account with USAA.

What to know:

  • Although USAA’s trading fees might be a little higher than other options, it offers just about any insurance or financial product you’ll need. 
  • USAA lets you bundle all of your accounts and policies with a single company for a potential discount.
  • Some fees can be waived by upgrading to a premium account.

Charles Schwab – Low Cost

Charles Schwab is a full-service brokerage that is trying to play in the discount brokerage space. 

What to know:

  • No fee for online stock and ETF trades, $25 for broker-assisted trades.
  • You’ll pay $0 in commission with Charles Schwab for option trades, although you’ll pay $.0.65 per options contract. An additional $25 service fee applies for broker-assisted options trades.
  • All other mutual funds are up to $49.95 per purchase. An additional $25 service fee applies for broker-assisted mutual fund trades.

Vanguard – Low Cost

Vanguard is well known for their high quality funds that have performed better than peer-group averages over the last ten years. 

What to know:

  • Choose from more than 200 commission-free Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs.
  • Competitive trading commissions are also offered on non-Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs, and stocks and bonds. 

Fidelity – Low Cost

At this brokerage, a broad range of investment choices are available, and Fidelity offers helpful tools that can help you optimize your investment strategy and grow wealth over time. 

What to know:

  • No account service fees.
  • $0 commissions for online U.S. stock, ETF, and option trades.
  • Fidelity also lets you open and account online and get started investing right away. From there, its online platform makes it easy to research investment options and track your progress over time. 

Which Roth IRA Accounts Didn’t Make the Cut?

Although the Roth IRA providers listed above are good ones, there are plenty of others that didn’t quite make it on our list. We didn’t include Wealthfront or Personal Capital, for example, because we found that Betterment offers a better platform and a more competitive package among robo-advisors. We also didn’t include Acorns and plenty of other “techy” or app-based investment options that work in conjunction with consumer spending.

For the most part, we focused on traditional Roth IRA providers for our study, and only the ones that offer the best investment options with the lowest fees possible.

How We Chose the Best Roth IRA Accounts

The best Roth IRA accounts offer a broad selection of investment options with minimal fees. Beyond their investment options, the top Roth IRA accounts are also easy to open online and from the comfort of your home.

Although a lot of thought and research went into our ranking, here are the main factors we looked for in the best Roth IRA accounts this year. 

Investment Options

Opening a Roth IRA account can help you save on taxes later in life, but you’ll get the best results if you have a broad selection of investments to choose from. We looked for providers that offer many investing options ranging from index funds to ETFs. The more options available from each provider, the higher they scored in our ranking. 

Low Trading Fees

We also looked for Roth IRA accounts with low fees, both in terms of ongoing account management fees and individual trading fees. The Roth IRA accounts on our list tend to come with some of the lowest fees available today. Many also offer a range of fee-free investments to choose from. 

Investing Help

Finally, we gave precedence to Roth IRA providers that offer hands-on investing help. Some of the accounts on our list will even choose all your underlying investments for you. Many also offer investor education and online tools that can help you learn how to invest for optimal results. 

What You Need to Know When Opening a Roth IRA

Saving money on taxes later in life sounds like a no-brainer, but there are still plenty of things you should know about Roth IRA accounts before you sign up. Because eligibility requirements and contribution limits are determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you’ll also need to stay on top of these crucial details. 

Here’s everything you need to know before you open a Roth IRA with one of the brokerage firms we profiled above. 

Make Sure You’re Eligible

It’s important to establish that you qualify for a Roth IRA. For starters, you need to have earned income. If you are a stay-at-home partner, your spouse can make contributions to your Roth IRA. It’s also possible for minors to contribute to custodial Roth IRAs if they earn money from a job.

You also need to meet income requirements based on your tax filing status. The IRS evaluates these requirements each year and can make changes based on inflation. 

For the 2021 tax season, married couples filing jointly can contribute the full amount to a Roth if their modified adjustable gross income (MAGI) is below $198,000. For incomes between $198,000 and under $208,000, the contribution maximum is lowered and ultimately phased out.

Single filers can contribute the maximum to a Roth IRA if they earn less than $125,000. For incomes between $125,000 and under $140,000, contribution limits are lowered and phased out. 

For the 2021 tax season, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your Roth IRA each year. If you are age 50 or older, you can make an additional “catch-up” contribution of $1,000 per year for a total annual contribution of $7,000. 

It’s also possible to convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth account, or to roll over a 401(k) into a Roth IRA. However, there are tax consequences associated with this decision. You will have to pay taxes on the amount you convert or rollover today, and that can mean a hefty tax bill. Consult with a financial professional before you make this type of conversion.

Building the Roth IRA Habit

Having trouble getting into the habit of sending money into your Roth IRA? You’re not alone. All of the above companies provide some sort of automatic investment option, which can help a lot. 

Automatic investing is one of the best ways to build your Roth IRA without having to think about it every month. Simply open an account with a brokerage firm above and set up automatic contributions, and you’re good to go.

Should I Combine My Investment Accounts?

Of course, you may have investment accounts, Roth IRAs, and Traditional IRAs across several different companies. You have multiple logins to remember to check up on your investments, and having some understanding of your asset allocation is not easy. Some investors consider combining their accounts for this reason, but this strategy comes with a lot of paperwork and headache.

Enter Personal Capital. The company aims to solve the problems of managing multiple accounts, tracking your asset allocation, watching the performance of your investments, and helping you keep all of your financial tasks in order. With a slick web interface and mobile apps that work on iOS and Android, you can see everything together in one well-designed space. On top of that, Personal Capital offers a fee analysis to help you reduce what you pay.

The best part about Personal Capital? The software is 100% free.

How to Think About Taxes

With a mounting national debt, many people believe personal income tax rates will eventually be forced to increase. So, even if you think that you will have a lower income during retirement, you might still be in a higher tax bracket or have other tax considerations impacting your finances.

Even if the national debt issue is somehow solved, the government doesn’t tend to lower a tax once it is set.

If you think that tax rates are going to go up by the time you retire, the best retirement account for you to open if you qualify for it is the Roth IRA.

A Roth IRA can be especially beneficial to you if you are just starting your first job. Chances are that you won’t make very much. Your tax liability might be fairly low anyway, so paying taxes on your low income isn’t likely to be a huge burden to you today. Plus, you have even more time on your side to let compound interest work its magic on your behalf.

Summary

The best Roth IRA accounts of 2021 can help you save for retirement while reducing your tax burden later on. Make sure to compare each of the Roth IRA providers on this list in terms of their fees and investment options before you pull the trigger.

There is no reason to put off investing for retirement. Open a Roth IRA today with one of the best brokers. It’s easy, inexpensive, and your future self with thank you.

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