Best Roth IRA Accounts: 2017 Top Picks

Brokers, Investing, IRA

NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and info we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent.

We spent over 300 hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. And to help you find the one that’s best for you, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons and current offers.

The Roth IRA is a unique addition to your retirement savings plan, giving you a pot of tax-free income in retirement. Whether you’re opening your first account, looking to transfer your existing Roth IRA to a new broker or converting a 401(k) to a rollover IRA, check out NerdWallet’s roundup of the best Roth IRA account providers.

(Have questions about Roths? See our post about Roth IRAs.)

We’ve considered the factors that matter most to Roth IRA investors — fees, investment selection, account minimums and customer service — to select our top picks by category. Most of the brokers below offer a wide selection of funds that can be purchased without transaction fees, including no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

 

Best Roth IRA providers overall

These providers offer a large fund selection, high-quality customer service and reasonable account minimums and fees.

Five-star brokers Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade are ready-made for retirement investors: They offer their customers a large suite of retirement planning tools and resources, alongside impressive no-transaction-fee and commission-free fund selections. Both brokers also have 24/7 customer service, local offices and online and in-branch educational offerings.

TD Ameritrade edges out Schwab slightly when it comes to account minimums, requiring no initial deposit compared to Schwab’s $1,000 minimum. However, Schwab waives its minimum with auto-deposits of at least $100 a month, and offers an impressive selection of index funds with investment minimums of just $100.

» MORE: How to Open a Roth IRA

 

Best Roth IRA providers for hands-off investors

Robo-advisors Betterment and Wealthfront manage your portfolio for you.

Betterment and Wealthfront are robo-advisors that manage your IRA account for you. Both companies assess your risk tolerance, goals and financial standing via a series of questions, and then build and manage your portfolio of low-cost ETFs.

Betterment leads the independent offerings in this growing industry, largely due to its low costs and robust lineup of retirement planning tools. The company charges a flat 0.25% management fee for its Betterment Digital offering, which includes in-app access to human financial advisors, but investors can select its higher-priced Premium plan that also offers phone access to human advisors.

Wealthfront charges a flat 0.25%, but waives its fee entirely on the first $10,000 invested ($15,000 with a special promotion for NerdWallet readers). For a full comparison of the two services, check out our post on Wealthfront vs. Betterment.

 

Best Roth IRA providers with no account minimum

These providers have $0 minimum investment requirements for Roth IRAs.

To size up some additional options alongside our top-choice TD Ameritrade — which also has no account minimum — investors should consider E-Trade and Merrill Edge. Both brokers require no account minimum to access their quality 24/7 customer service, including physical branches (Merrill Edge customers can visit advisors at 2,000 Bank of America locations).

E-Trade, which only waives its standard $500 account minimum on IRAs, beats Merrill Edge by offering more than 100 commission-free ETFs. But Merrill Edge may appeal to customers with accounts at its parent company, Bank of America, as the two brands are integrated under a single login.

 

Best Roth IRA providers for active traders

These brokers offer low commissions, plus extensive research and strong trading platforms.

If you want to dedicate a portion of your IRA to stock trading, here are two pieces of advice: Keep individual stocks to 10% or less of your total portfolio, and look at commissions, research and tools when comparing providers.

Charles Schwab and Ally Invest offer $4.95 stock trades, along with advanced tools and trading platforms. Ally Invest has discounted pricing for investors who trade 30 or more times per quarter, charging just $3.95 per trade and 50 cents per options contract.

Charles Schwab is the best fit for investors who want to combine active trading and fund investing in their IRA: The company offers a large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs, whereas Ally Invest has none.

Best Roth IRA providers for low costs

These providers offer a large selection of mutual funds and ETFs with low expense ratios.

Investors who prioritize low fees and investment expenses — and we think everyone should join this group — should look to Fidelity and Vanguard (though Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade, our top picks, are also strong contenders here).

Fidelity brings an impressive selection of highly rated funds with expense ratios under 0.50%; many charge no transaction fees or commissions. The downside: The majority of the company’s mutual funds have a $2,500 investment minimum, but in many cases Fidelity waives that with auto-deposits of at least $200 a month. Investors should also consider the company’s robo-advisor, Fidelity Go. Launched in 2016, the service has a $5,000 account minimum and costs just 0.35% — including investment expenses — of assets managed for retirement accounts.

Vanguard offers a small but mighty selection no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. The company easily beats other brokers on investment expenses: Its funds have an average expense ratio of just 0.18%. Vanguard’s retirement funds have a $1,000 minimum.

Note: Some of these promotions won’t apply for first-time depositors, due to Roth IRA contribution limits of $5,500 per year. We’ve tried to include promotions with low deposit requirements where available. 


Summary: Best Roth IRA account providers

Broker
Best
for
Highlights
Commiss-
ions
Promotion
Account minimum
Start investing

TD Ameritrade

Overall
Commission-free:
100 ETFs, nearly 4,000 funds
$6.95
per trade
$100 bonus ($25,000+ deposit)
up to $600 ($250,000+ deposit)
$0

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab
Overall and active trading
Commission-free:
200 ETFs, 3,000 funds
$4.95
per trade
$100 referral award for first-time clients
$1,000

E*Trade

E*Trade
No account minimum
Waives $500 account minimum for IRAs
$6.95
per trade; volume discounts
60 days of commission-free trades ($10,000+ deposit)
$0 for IRAs

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge
No account minimum
First-rate customer service
$6.95
per trade
$100 to $600 bonus (based on account size)
$0

Betterment

Betterment
Hands-off investors
Offers access to human advisors for a higher fee.
0.25%-0.40% of account balance
per year
Up to one year of free management with qualifying deposit
$0

Wealthfront

Wealthfront
Hands-off investors
Manages first $10,000 for free
0.25% of account balance
per year
$15,000 managed free (for NerdWallet readers)
$500

Ally

Ally
Active traders
Competitive commissions, no account minimum
$4.95
per trade
None
$0

Fidelity

Fidelity Investments IRA

5.0 stars
Low cost
Commission-free:
3,600 funds, 91 ETFs
$4.95
per trade
Up to 500 free trades with a qualifying deposit
$0 for IRAs

Vanguard

Vanguard
Low cost
Known for low-cost index funds
$2 to $20 per trade depending on account balance
None
$0

» MORE: Try our Roth IRA calculator

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

Updated June 30, 2017.