Best of

Best Roth IRA Accounts of April 2019

NerdWalletApril 23, 2019

At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Our picks for

Hands-On Investors

For people who want to pick their own investments, opening a Roth IRA at an online broker makes a lot of sense. At the best brokers, you’ll find a large list of low-cost investments to choose from, including index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Here are the favorites from this year's analysis:

Ally Invest IRA

on Ally Invest's website

on Ally Invest's website

Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $3,500

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

Ally Invest’s low commissions, no annual fee and no account minimum make it a good choice for IRA investors. For investors who want to be more active, the broker also offers a solid suite of research and tools, but IRA customers may be put off by closure and transfer-out fees.
Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

on Merrill Edge's website

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

Merrill Edge offers high-quality customer service, robust research, low commissions and fees — all with no account minimum for IRA investors. Customers of parent company Bank of America will love the seamless, thoughtful integration, with a single login to access both accounts.
TD Ameritrade IRA

on TD Ameritrade's website

on TD Ameritrade's website

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

TD Ameritrade’s $0 account minimum, wealth of free research and retirement planning tools, and plentiful lineup of no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs make it an ideal place to set up an IRA. Its library of educational resources and free paper trading account are also great features to help investors hone their skills.
Etrade IRA

on Etrade's website

on Etrade's website

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

Retirement investors will find a lot to love with E-Trade’s IRA offering, including a large line-up of no-trading-fee mutual funds and an extensive library of retirement advice and tools. Plus, there’s no minimum account balance.
Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

on Interactive Brokers's website

Fees

$0.01

per share

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

Interactive Brokers is a strong option for advanced, frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, low commissions and a quality trading platform. New traders might be turned off by inactivity fees, high balance requirements and a lack of educational resources.
Vanguard Brokerage

on Vanguard's website

on Vanguard's website

Fees

$7.00

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Vanguard is the king of low-cost investing, making it ideal for buy-and-hold and retirement investors. But active traders will find the broker falls short, with no trading platform and increased commissions for frequent trades.
Schwab Brokerage IRA

on Charles Schwab's website

on Charles Schwab's website

Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$1,000

Promotion

Up to $100

bonus award

Charles Schwab is one of the best overall IRA providers large fund selection, high-quality customer service and reasonable account minimums and fees. The company offers a large selection of no-transaction-fee funds and commission-free ETFs. Minimum $1,000 deposit waived for IRA with $100 monthly automatic deposit.
Fidelity IRA

on Fidelity's website

on Fidelity's website

Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

Fidelity’s lineup of services for investors goes well beyond retirement accounts. The company’s brokerage arm features low commissions, a wide investment selection, plenty of research and advanced trading capabilities (including a strong mobile app). The biggest knock are the volume and trade minimum requirements to access its active trader platform.
T. Rowe Price

on T. Rowe Price's website

on T. Rowe Price's website

Fees

$19.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$2,500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Mutual fund investors are well-served by T. Rowe Price’s selection of no-load, low-expense-ratio funds and free tools to build and manage a well-balanced retirement portfolio. Stock, options and ETF traders aren’t the company’s target clientele, which makes sense when you compare T. Rowe Price’s commissions, account fees and minimums to other discount brokers.

Our picks for

Hands-Off Investors

For people who want to invest for retirement but don’t want to worry about managing their portfolio over time, a robo-advisor is an easy choice. Generally, robo-advisors hire investment pros to develop a handful of portfolios aimed at different types of investors. Here are our top three picks for investors who prefer help with management:

Wealthfront IRA

on Wealthfront's website

on Wealthfront's website

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

Wealthfront takes the hassle out of IRA investing. The robo-advisor manages accounts by constructing portfolios out of low-cost ETFs, with a flat and low-cost fee structure that appeals to investors seeking a hands-off approach. What’s more, the company has built client trust by offering free management on the first $5,000 invested (for NerdWallet readers).
Betterment IRA

on Betterment's website

on Betterment's website

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

With its low-cost ETFs, automatic rebalancing, extensive tax strategies and retirement advice, Betterment is a strong bet for retirement investors. Betterment’s planning tools include advice on “asset location” — which types of investments are best for different types of accounts — and investors can sync outside accounts, as well.
Sofi Automated Investing

on Sofi Wealth's website

on Sofi Wealth's website

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

SoFi Automated Investing is great for beginning, cost-conscious investors who favor a hand-off approach. Plus, as a customer you could be eligible for bonuses on other SoFi products.

Summary of Best Roth IRA Accounts of April 2019

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Ally Invest IRA Logo

Ally Invest IRA

on Ally Invest's website

$4.95

per trade

Up to $3,500

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Ally Invest's website

Merrill Edge IRA Logo

Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

$6.95

per trade

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Merrill Edge's website

TD Ameritrade IRA Logo

TD Ameritrade IRA

on TD Ameritrade's website

$6.95

per trade

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on TD Ameritrade's website

Etrade IRA Logo

Etrade IRA

on Etrade's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Etrade's website

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

$0.01

per share

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Interactive Brokers's website

Vanguard Brokerage Logo

Vanguard Brokerage

on Vanguard's website

$7.00

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Vanguard's website

Schwab Brokerage IRA Logo

Schwab Brokerage IRA

on Charles Schwab's website

$4.95

per trade

Up to $100

bonus award

$1,000

on Charles Schwab's website

Fidelity IRA Logo

Fidelity IRA

on Fidelity's website

$4.95

per trade

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Fidelity's website

T. Rowe Price Logo

T. Rowe Price

on T. Rowe Price's website

$19.95

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$2,500

on T. Rowe Price's website

Wealthfront IRA Logo

Wealthfront IRA

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

Betterment IRA Logo

Betterment IRA

on Betterment's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Betterment's website

Sofi Automated Investing Logo

Sofi Automated Investing

on Sofi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$100

on Sofi Wealth's website

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Ally Invest IRA Logo

Ally Invest IRA

on Ally Invest's website

$4.95

per trade

Up to $3,500

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Ally Invest's website

Merrill Edge IRA Logo

Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

$6.95

per trade

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Merrill Edge's website

TD Ameritrade IRA Logo

TD Ameritrade IRA

on TD Ameritrade's website

$6.95

per trade

$100-$600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on TD Ameritrade's website

Etrade IRA Logo

Etrade IRA

on Etrade's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Etrade's website

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

$0.01

per share

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Interactive Brokers's website

Vanguard Brokerage Logo

Vanguard Brokerage

on Vanguard's website

$7.00

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Vanguard's website

Schwab Brokerage IRA Logo

Schwab Brokerage IRA

on Charles Schwab's website

$4.95

per trade

Up to $100

bonus award

$1,000

on Charles Schwab's website

Fidelity IRA Logo

Fidelity IRA

on Fidelity's website

$4.95

per trade

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Fidelity's website

T. Rowe Price Logo

T. Rowe Price

on T. Rowe Price's website

$19.95

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$2,500

on T. Rowe Price's website

Wealthfront IRA Logo

Wealthfront IRA

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

Betterment IRA Logo

Betterment IRA

on Betterment's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Betterment's website

Sofi Automated Investing Logo

Sofi Automated Investing

on Sofi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$100

on Sofi Wealth's website

How (and why) to open a Roth IRA

Opening a Roth IRA is easy: You’ll need to provide some personal information, including your birthdate and Social Security number, but that’s about it.

With a Roth, you can withdraw your contributions at any time without paying taxes or penalties. In that way, Roths can act as a backup emergency savings account. Plus, once you’re retired, there are no required minimum distributions, as there are with traditional IRAs. One thing to know: There are income-based eligibility requirements for funding a Roth IRA — see the FAQs below.

Even if you have a 401(k) or another workplace plan, it can make sense to save in a Roth IRA — as long as you also make sure to get any company 401(k) match you may be offered — because Roths often offer more investment choices. This is important because your investment returns will have a big impact on your savings over time.

Say you put $500 every month into a Roth IRA (which would total the annual maximum of $6,000). The stock market’s annual average return of 8% would get you about $475,000 after 25 years. Even if you earn a more conservative 6%, you would end up with over $345,000 after 25 years.

Need more help with this process? See our guide on Roth IRAs.

Choose your investment style

Pick the investor type that describes you so we can point you toward the best provider for your situation:

  • I’m a “do-it-yourself” investor. You can open a Roth IRA at an online broker, then choose your own investments (this may be simpler than you think — you can build a diversified portfolio with just three or four mutual funds). With the providers detailed below, you generally won’t pay an account fee (though that may require your agreeing to electronic document delivery or maintaining a minimum account balance), so the primary costs you need to watch for are trading commissions and investment fees, which are also called expense ratios
  • I’m a “manage it for me” investor. If you would rather have someone pick an investment portfolio for you, you can open your Roth IRA at a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors are online investment services that build and maintain a diversified portfolio for you. You pay a small fee for the service, but the fees tend to be substantially lower than for a human financial advisor — typically 0.25% to 0.50% of the assets under management annually. These services are growing rapidly: One of our top robo-advisor picks, Wealthfront, has over $11 billion in assets under management.

Roth IRA FAQs

Do I qualify for a Roth?

The Roth IRA has income rules for contributions. For 2019, the amount you can contribute begins to phase down at $122,000 in annual income for single filers and $193,000 for those married filing jointly. (For 2018, phase downs begin at $120,000 and $189,000.) The contribution limit is slowly reduced until your ability to contribute is eliminated completely. If your income is above these amounts, our Roth IRA calculator tells you your contribution limit.

With a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, the contribution limit is a shared limit — you can contribute a total of up to $6,000 per year ($7,000 if age 50 or older), and it’s up to you to decide how you want to divvy that up between the two.

How easily can I access money in my Roth IRA?

With a Roth IRA, you can pull your contributions out at any time — remember, you’ve already paid taxes on that money.

However, if you withdraw your investment earnings, you may owe income tax and/or a 10% penalty, depending on how old you are and how long you’ve owned the account. But there are quite a few situations where an early withdrawal of investment earnings is exempt from penalties and income tax. We detail those exceptions here.

How much can I contribute to a Roth?"

In 2019, you can contribute up to $6,000 a year, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older, unless your contribution is reduced by the income rules noted above. The contribution limit applies only to new contributions to the account, not rollovers.

Can I contribute to a Roth IRA if I already have a 401(k) or a traditional IRA?

Yes. You can have both a Roth IRA and a 401(k) and contribute the maximum you’re allowed to each.

Traditional IRAs don’t have income limits, but if you’re also covered by a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k), the amount of your contribution that you can deduct may be phased down or eliminated.

That means you can still make the maximum annual contribution, but a portion or all of it will be considered a nondeductible contribution. There’s no immediate tax benefit on nondeductible contributions, but you're still able to defer taxes on investment income until retirement. Read more about the traditional IRA deduction limits.

How do I open a Roth IRA?

The process is easy as can be: You can open a Roth IRA at any online broker or robo-advisor, typically online in about 15 minutes. You’ll need to provide some personal information like your name, address, birthday, Social Security number and means of funding the account, so have that handy. Here’s our step-by-step guide to opening a Roth IRA, including details about how to fund and invest the account.

How will my Roth IRA grow?

Unlike savings accounts, Roth IRAs don’t pay a set interest rate or return. Once you’ve put money into the account, you need to select investments; otherwise, your money will sit in cash, which isn’t ideal for a long-term goal like retirement. Most Roth IRA providers offer a wide range of investment options, including individual stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

If that sounds out of your league, you can open your Roth IRA at a robo-advisor — like the two mentioned above — which will manage your investments for you for a small fee.

Last updated on April 23, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Roth IRA Accounts of April 2019