Best of

Best Roth IRA Accounts of May 2019

NerdWalletMay 18, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our picks for

Hands-On Investors

Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

on Merrill Edge's website

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit to a new Merrill Edge Self-Directed account

Pros

  • Robust third-party research.
  • Ongoing promotions for opening and funding a qualified IRA account.

Cons

  • No commission-free ETFs for IRA investors.
  • Minimum balance requirement for high-end platform.
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

Pros

  • Low commissions.
  • No account minimum.
  • No IRA annual fee.
  • Strong web-based platform.
  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • IRA closure fee of $50.
  • IRA transfer out fee of $50.
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

Pros

  • No minimum balance for IRAs
  • Extensive research and tools
  • 156 commission-free ETFs
  • 4,400+ no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds

Cons

  • $19.99 cost for trading non-NTF mutual funds
  • Higher trading fees for low-volume ETF and stock traders
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

Pros

  • $0 account minimum.
  • Large lineup of no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
  • Good customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commissions.
Fees

$0.01

per share

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Low commissions.
  • Quality trading platform.
  • Advanced tools.
  • Low margin rates.
  • Wide investment selection.

Cons

  • Inactivity fees.
  • Complex pricing.
  • Minimal educational resources.
Fees

$7.00

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Large mutual fund selection.
  • Over 50 commission-free ETFs.
  • Leader in low-cost funds.
  • Helpful customer support.

Cons

  • High trade commissions.
  • No trading platform or tools.
  • Limited research and data.
Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$1,000

Promotion

Up to $100

bonus award

Pros

  • Minimum waived with $100 monthly deposit.
  • No inactivity fees.
  • Above-average mobile app.

Cons

  • Higher account minimum.
  • Higher trade commissions.
Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

Pros

  • Low trade commissions.
  • Free research and data.
  • Strong customer support.
  • Low fees.
  • Quality trading platform.

Cons

  • Trade minimum for active trader platform.
Fees

$19.95

per trade

Account Minimum

$2,500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Low-fee mutual funds.
  • Fund screening tools.
  • Free retirement investing tools.

Cons

  • Pricey commissions.
  • High account minimums.

Our picks for

Hands-Off Investors

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

Pros

  • Broad range of low-cost investments.
  • Very low management fees.

Cons

  • Automatic rebalancing.
  • Customer support.
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

Pros

  • Low-cost, hassle-free approach to IRA investing.
  • First $5,000 managed free (for NerdWallet readers).
  • Automatic rebalancing.
  • Free automated tax-loss harvesting.

Cons

  • No large-balance discounts.
  • No access to human advisors.
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

Pros

  • No account minimum.
  • Extensive tax strategies.
  • Robust goal-based tools.
  • Free automated tax-loss harvesting.

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting.
  • Limited account types.
  • Short track record.

Summary of Best Roth IRA Accounts of May 2019

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Merrill Edge IRA Logo

Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit to a new Merrill Edge Self-Directed account

$0

on Merrill Edge's website

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

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

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

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

$0.01

per share

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

Read Review
Vanguard Brokerage Logo

Vanguard Brokerage

$7.00

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read Review
Schwab Brokerage IRA Logo

Schwab Brokerage IRA

$4.95

per trade

Up to $100

bonus award

$1,000

Read Review
Fidelity IRA Logo

Fidelity IRA

$4.95

per trade

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

$0

Read Review
T. Rowe Price Logo

T. Rowe Price

$19.95

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$2,500

Read Review
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

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

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Merrill Edge IRA Logo

Merrill Edge IRA

on Merrill Edge's website

$6.95

per trade

Up to $600

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit to a new Merrill Edge Self-Directed account

$0

on Merrill Edge's website

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

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

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

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

$0.01

per share

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

Read Review
Vanguard Brokerage Logo

Vanguard Brokerage

$7.00

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read Review
Schwab Brokerage IRA Logo

Schwab Brokerage IRA

$4.95

per trade

Up to $100

bonus award

$1,000

Read Review
Fidelity IRA Logo

Fidelity IRA

$4.95

per trade

500

free trades with a qualifying deposit

$0

Read Review
T. Rowe Price Logo

T. Rowe Price

$19.95

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$2,500

Read Review
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

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

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 May 18, 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 May 2019