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We evaluated IRA accounts from brokerage firms that are available in all 50 states, ultimately only featuring those that fit our strict criteria. To be included on this list, providers must have at least:
$1 trillion in assets under management if offering a self-directed account
$20 billion in assets under management if offering a robo-advisor account
Understanding Our Methodology
To choose the best IRA providers in 2023, Annuity.org’s independent editorial team carefully considered IRA offerings from the top brokerage firms in the country.
Annuity.org uses a strict and fact-based methodology to determine which companies qualify for our rankings. To be considered, a provider must offer individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in all 50 states.
We also considered other factors, including account minimums, fees, the variety of investment options offered, and the tools and resources available to investors.
Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.
Editor’s Choice: Best Overall
E*TRADE is an online brokerage firm that pioneered online investment trading for consumers in the early 1980s. The global financial services firm Morgan Stanley acquired E*TRADE in 2020.
Pros & Cons
- No account minimum for IRAs
- No account fees and no commissions on stocks, ETFs or mutual funds
- Over 6,500 mutual funds and 50,000+ bond and CD offerings
- $1 per bond charge for online secondary market trades ($10 minimum)
- $0.50 to $0.65 charge per contract for options trading
- No live chat feature for customer service
Wealthfront is an automated investment service company, commonly referred to as a “robo-advisor.” Wealthfront’s mission is to make investing easier, better and more accessible, and it does that by offering software-based financial planning solutions designed to automate investing.
Pros & Cons
- Low account minimum
- Hundreds of funds to choose from, including crypto exposure
- Can choose portfolios designed for socially conscious investing
- 0.25% management fee
- Technical support only, no investment or financial planning advice available
Best for Beginners
Fidelity Investments is one of the largest financial services firms in the nation with over $3 trillion in assets under management. Fidelity serves more than 40 million individual investors in America and nine other countries.
Pros & Cons
- No account or advisory fees
- Over 10,000 fund choices including index funds with no expense ratio
- Robust planning tools, calculators, reporting features and other resources
- No futures trading offered
Best for Varied Investment Options
In the fifty years since its founding, Charles Schwab has built a reputation for excellence as a brokerage firm. The corporation was named one of the Best Online Brokers of 2022 and Most Trusted Financial Companies of 2022 by Investor’s Business Daily.
Pros & Cons
- Variety of investment options including stocks, bonds, options, annuities, money market funds, futures and margin loans
- Over 2,000 ETFs and 7,000 mutual funds to choose from
- No account opening or maintenance fees and no commission on stock, options and ETF trades
- Award-winning 24/7 customer service support
- No crypto assets to invest in
- Higher margin rates
Best Robo-Advisors With No Fees
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® is the robo-advising subsidiary of Charles Schwab. Schwab’s robo-advisor selects ETFs for investors’ portfolios based on how the investor answers questions about their goals, risk tolerance and investment timeline.
Pros & Cons
- No advisory or management fees
- Three investment strategies and six risk profiles to choose from
- 24/7 live support
- $5,000 account minimum
- Mandatory cash positions (typically 6%-30%)
- Automatic tax-loss harvesting only for clients with balances of $50,000 or more
Best Robo-Advisors With No Minimum
Betterment is a robo-advising company offering investment services including retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s. Betterment’s approach to robo-advising combines human financial expertise and automation technology to help their customers manage their money.
Pros & Cons
- No account minimum
- Can customize curated portfolios to adjust for risk tolerance
- Premium plan includes phone and email support from financial planners
- Tools for tax-loss harvesting, tax coordination and rebalancing
- 0.25% management fee for basic plan, 0.40% for premium plan
- No direct indexing
- $300-$400 charge to speak with an advisor, no ongoing relationship available
Best for Experienced Investors
Founded by legendary business magnate John Bogle, Vanguard stands as the largest investment firm in the nation today. The company is best known for its selection of low-cost index and mutual funds.
Pros & Cons
- Low average expense ratio (0.09%)
- $0 commission for stocks, ETFs and Vanguard mutual funds
- 160 Vanguard mutual funds have no transaction fee
- Over 3,000 mutual funds to choose from
- Most Vanguard mutual funds require a minimum investment of $3,000
- Trading platform lacks tools and interactive features
- $20 annual account fee, but can be waived by signing up for e-delivery of account updates
Others We Considered
|Merrill Edge is an online investment trading platform owned by Bank of America. Merrill’s offerings include self-directed and guided investment accounts including IRAs.
|J.P. Morgan is one of the largest financial services firms in the world and the largest bank in the United States. The firm’s Wealth Management division offers investment and retirement accounts along with personal wealth advising services.
|TD Ameritrade is a brokerage providing online stock trading, investing and retirement planning services to over 11 million customers. The company is currently being acquired by Charles Schwab.
|Vanguard Digital Advisor
|Vanguard Digital Advisor is a robo-advisor offered by the Vanguard Group. Vanguard Digital Advisor builds custom portfolios based on investors’ current savings, risk assessment and investment timeline.
What Is an IRA Account?
An individual retirement account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement. Unlike a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, an IRA is a personal savings plan not sponsored by your employer.
When you contribute to an IRA, your funds are invested in a portfolio of assets you choose. Common investment options for IRAs include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This allows your contributions to grow throughout your working years.
You can contribute up to a certain amount to your IRA each year; in 2023, the contribution limit is $6,500. If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute up to $7,500.
IRA contributions are tax deductible. This means that you can deduct the amount you contribute from your taxable income for that year. However, distributions from a traditional IRA are counted as taxable income. So, you don’t pay taxes on the money you contribute to an IRA until you withdraw it from the account.
When Should You Open an IRA?
Typically, the sooner you can open a retirement account, the better. Even if you don’t max out your contributions the first few years, any amount you contribute will have more time to grow the earlier you start.
Time is the biggest factor in determining how much your retirement fund will grow. The more time your contributions have to grow before you retire, the more likely you are to weather any economic downturns and come out ahead. So even if you’re only in your 20s, you can still benefit greatly from contributing to your retirement fund.
However, you may not want to open an IRA right away if you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k). If you have access to a retirement plan from your employer, you’re usually better off contributing to the 401(k) instead because your employer may match your contributions up to a certain amount. Employer-sponsored retirement plans also tend to have a higher contribution limit than an IRA.
Frequently Asked Questions About IRAs
Most experts recommend aiming to contribute between 15% to 20% of your income to retirement. In 2023, the IRS caps IRA contributions at $6,500 a year or $7,500 for ages 50 and older.
You can withdraw money from an IRA without penalty after you turn 59 1/2.
Withdrawals from a traditional IRA are considered taxable income.
As it is an investment portfolio, it is always possible to lose money in an IRA.