What’s The Best Broker To Start My Roth IRA?

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I am often asked where is the best place to open one’s first IRA. Usually it’s a Roth IRA, since people tend to start out in lower tax brackets and Roth IRA save you taxes upon withdrawal.  But to be sure whether you want a Roth or Traditional IRA, check out a quick IRA comparison tool over at Mint.com.  You’ll be able figure out what kind of IRA you want, and then locate a broker to get it started.

Choosing a one’s broker is still a very personal decision so I don’t think there is one single best broker for everyone, but here are the ones I would recommend to my friends and family, so I would also recommend them to anyone. First, some assumptions:

  1. You want to invest in low-cost funds or ETFs. Not every believe in this style of investing, but I do. If you wish to trades stocks all day or chase 5-star Morningstar funds, then my suggestions might not be the best fit fo you.
  2. You want low commission costs and account fees. By this, I mean you want the basic services at a good price. I don’t pay attention to things like streaming quotes, advanced trading software, options contracts, or if the website has AJAX everywhere.
  3. You wish to be an independent investor. If you want to pay for guidance, I still recommend taking the time to learn some of the basics, but please find a good fee-only advisor. They’ll probably set you up with a institutional account in which they can trade for you.
  4. You are just starting out. So you have anywhere from just $50 a month to $5,000 to put into an IRA. You may be worried about minimum balance requirements, and aren’t eligible for most premium accounts.

Mutual Fund Brokerages
These firms mainly trade their own mutual funds, which somewhat restricts investment choice. To generalize, mutual funds are better suited for people who wish to dollar-cost average and like simplicity.


  • Commissions: Free to trade Vanguard mutual funds, although there may be certain redemption fees.
  • Account fees: No account fees with electronic statements. Otherwise they may apply.
  • Minimum to start: Most index funds have a minimum opening balance of $3,000. The STAR fund (VGSTX) lets you start with $1,000. More information here.
  • Vanguard is the place where I hold all of my Roth and Rollover IRA balances. They offer a wide variety of both active and passive products, but I use them exclusively for their index funds. I like their all-in-one retirement funds for new investors.

T. Rowe Price

  • Commissions: Free to trade TRP mutual funds, although there may be certain redemption fees.
  • Account fees: $10 fore each mutual fund with less than $5,000. Not sure if this is waived for AAB.
  • Minimum to start: Most funds have a minimum opening balance of $1,000 for IRAs. However, if you enroll in their Automatic Asset Builder (AAB) program and can commit $50 every month, the minimum requirement is waived and you can start with nothing. More information here.
  • T. Rowe Price has index funds, but their expense ratios about about 0.25% higher than at Vanguard. However, their active funds have relatively low-costs and lower turnover compared to other actively-managed funds. I like the combination of the $50/month plan and one of their all-in-one retirement funds for those with limited funds starting out, although I don’t have an account here.

In case you’re curious, I’m leaving out Fidelity because their index funds have $10,000 minimums, and their active funds are more expensive in general than T. Rowe Price. I also don’t like their all-in-one retirement funds very much, as they seem to contain a slew of mediocre funds.

ETF & Stock Brokerages
There are lots of great ETFs out there now, including several from Vanguard, and having a stock brokerage account gives you great flexibility to buy any of them. However, you will be faced with potential per-trade commissions, so here are a few that have low fees. I have accounts with all of these firms.

Zecco Trading

  • Commissions: Free for the 1st 10 trades per month if you have $2,500 in total account equity (cash + value of stocks). Otherwise, $4.50 per trade. Both limit and market.
  • Account fees: $30 annual IRA fee.
  • Minimum to start: No minimum balance to open.
  • For more information, see my Zecco account review.


  • Commissions: $4.95 per trade, limit or market.
  • Account fees: No annual IRA fee.
  • Minimum to start: No minimum balance to open.
  • For more information, see my TradeKing account review.

Sharebuilder (now owned by Capital One 360)

  • Commissions:$4 for each pre-scheduled “window” trade purchase. $9.95 for a real-time trade and to sell. Alternative higher-volume plans also available. In addition, if you open an IRA by 4/15/08 and use the promotion code ‘IRA2008’, you’ll get 7 free trades good until 12/31/08.
  • Account fees: $25 annual fee if you are in their basic plan. If you are on a plan with a monthly charge, or you have any account on such a plan, this fee is waived.
  • Minimum to start: No minimum balance to open.
  • For more information, see my Capital One 360 ShareBuilder review.

I hope that helps people with their research. You should also be aware of IRA termination and transfer-out fees if you wish to move, but these change all the time so by the time you want to leave they may be different. For more related posts on starting out in investing, please see my Rough Guide To Investing.

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  1. Schwab?

  2. Last time I checked, the index funds available at Schwab were much more expensive than Vanguard. Their NTF funds are also expensive because the funds themselves have to pay to be included in their OneSource listing. This cost is usually passed onto the investor (check those 12b1 and other marketing fees in the expense ratio).

    In addition, their ETF commissions are $12.95 per trade. All in all, Schwab would not be too appealing to me…

  3. Thanks, Jonathan!
    Question: do you think it’s a bad idea to just walk into your bank and say, “Oi, tell me about your rollover IRAs!”?

  4. You could try, but they probably will either be more expensive or only be limited to cash products like certificates of deposits. I wouldn’t put my IRA in cash, as I am investing for the long term.

  5. Why didn’t you add Fidelity?

  6. Vanguaqrd STAR is a good balanced fund.

  7. I think that banks serving retail clients are expensive for any kind of stock or mutual fund investing.

  8. Correction to T Rowe Price with who I have majority of my holdings with. They do have index funds. They have a total stock market, 500, intl and extended index. Note, their expense ratio is little more than Vanguards.

  9. “In case you’re curious, I’m leaving out Fidelity because their index funds have $10,000 minimums, and their active funds are more expensive”

    Actually, fidelity is easier to get started with than vanguard with their 3k minimum. The target date funds (and I suspect index funds and other funds, though not positive) have minimums, but they waive the minimum (or it is really low, like $250) as long as you commit to auto deposits each month. Simple, no fees… But now that i have 5k, i’m moving to vanguard 🙂

  10. I’ve had ameritrade for years. no fees or min balances and you pretty much get everything out there but its 9.99 a transaction….I don’t trade much so it’s no big deal to me…

  11. I use thinkorswim for my IRA’s. They have no fees and you get 3 free mutual fund trades per month. Right now I just own Vanguard funds, but if I wanted to, I could trade T Rowe Price funds or Dodge and Cox or Fidelity funds all at no cost, or stocks or options if I wanted to (stock trades are reasonable but not bottom dollar at $5-10 per trade). I went with them since it seemed like the ultimate in flexibility without any real downsides. Support has been good and they’ll pay Fedex next-day charges for any deposits (was useful when I rolled over a 401k to them, I didn’t have to chance the check in the US mail).

  12. I’m curious if anyone has any thoughts on http://www.scottrade.com for a RothIRA account, under the same idea as here, a no-fuss date targetted retirement fund.

  13. I took a look at Fidelity’s retirement 2030/35/40/etc. funds earlier this month and totally agree with Jonathan’s assessment. They have a high expense ratio – around .85% – and seem to be a large collection of primarily actively-managed funds that overlap at random without offering much in the way of a coherent asset allocation strategy. Unfortunately my 401k is with Fidelity, and we have limited fund choices, so I have designed my own asset allocation strategy out of available funds. The average expense ratio is approximately .2% on those index funds – so much better than .85%!

    Question for Jonathan/the group: what are the best articles/posts you know of that provide a good, numbers-based rationale for low-cost index funds vs. high-cost actively-managed funds? I am firmly in the index fund camp, but I frequently discuss this with people who are fans of actively-managed funds, and I would love some better background information to pass along.

  14. I’m pretty sure that Sharebuilder has an annual fee for its IRAs, unless you subscribe to one of its monthly programs.

  15. I use USAA for my Roth IRA, and so far it’s going pretty well. Granted I’m not a big roller by any means, but I don’t have any complaints about them at all. Their website is super easy to navigate, especially when setting up auto. transfers, and their customer service is just as cool. I’m one of those people who ask a lot of questions, and they’re always pretty patient and helpful.

    Oh, and most of their mutual funds have zero initial balance requirements if used as a Roth IRA.

  16. Sharebuilder has a $25 annual fee for standard accounts.

  17. I heard Vanguard quality is going bad. I read some news about it. I cannot remember from where. Any comments and thoughts?

  18. Why no mention of TD Ameritrade?

  19. Independent George says

    Vic – I don’t understand – exactly what do you mean by Vanguard’s ‘quality’? Could you elaborate?

    They’re almost exclusively low-cost index funds, which means their value more-or-less keeps pace with whichever index they track. Expenses & fees remain the lowest in the industry. I’m not sure what else you’d be looking at – the firm is pretty much been exactly the same as it’s been for the last 30 years.

  20. I use vanguard and have been pretty satisfied with them and enjoy the low fees.

  21. T. Rowe Price only has the possibility of a $30 if you open a Brokerage Roth IRA. If you want to invest in just their mutual funds, not outside securities like stocks, ETF’s, or other companies mutual funds, etc… the annual fee would be $10 per mutual fund in your IRA that has a balance under $5,000. You should probably just start out with one fund, like one of the all-in-one Retirement Funds that Jonathan mentioned. This way, you will only get charged $10 per year until you reach $5,000 in that fund. Another good all-in-one fund is called Spectrum Growth. For clarification, T. Rowe Price does do index funds. They have about 3 or 4 of them, but the expense ratios, while low, are not as low as Vangaurd’s or Fidelity’s.

  22. question:

    Let’s say you have a roth at vanguard. Does it make any difference fee-wise if you make deposits monthly or quarterly into a target retirement? I’m gonna start an IRA soon but I’m a little confused about how to figure out fund fees. Besides the brokerages having a per/year fee for having an account in general, how do you find the fees associated with whatever funds you want to invest in within the IRA. I just want to be absolute sure about not paying unnecessary fees…maybe that would be a good topic for a separate post – analyzing fees and guarding against hidden fees.

  23. Fidelity has lower minimums for retirement accounts ($1,000, $2,500, $3,000) and, as previously mentioned, no minimums with the automatic investment program.

    I’d probably use Vanguard if I could, but since I work for a securities firm, the firm needs to keep tabs on all of my tradeable securities. The firm has a deal with Fidelity; otherwise I’d have to use my firm’s brokerage for my IRA, with no access to low-cost mutual funds. So I’m not rah rah Fidelity, but considering I have no options here – Fidelity isn’t so bad.

  24. If you open a traditional Vanguard brokerage IRA account (much like you would with Fidelity, TRowe Price, Schwab, etc) they do have an annual fee of $30 which is not waived unless you have a large balance with them.

    Of course, it is possible to invest directly in the different Vanguard funds and have those fees waived with electronic statements, but it not the same as having a traditional IRA brokerage account, that holds all your mutual funds, and other investments together in one account, with a linked money fund to hold uninvested cash.

  25. Just a thought here: So $30/year is enough to deter you opening an account with Vanguard? And by large balance, do you mean like $10,000? We are talking about a lifelong retirement account, so hopefully we’ll pass that $10,000 mark very quickly.

  26. You guys are right about Sharebuilder. If you have the basic account, and are not subscribed to any other plan with a monthly charge in any other account, you get charged $25 per year. I missed this one. Jeez, all over their site is “no minimums and no inactivity fees”.

  27. @Andy L

    I use Scottrade for my individual brokerage account as well as my Roth IRA. My Roth consists almost entirely of index-tracked ETF’s, which I usually invest in 1k chunks. As such, each trade is only $7 online, which is about as cheap as you’ll find. Scottrade has no load, no transaction fee mutual funds, but I’m not sure how diverse their offering is. Most of the mutual funds are subject to a $17 fee.

    More info on fees here:

    All in all, I love Scottrade because it’s cheap and basic, just what I need.

  28. I must say, navigating TRP’s site looking for fee information is a pain.

    For a mutual fund IRA account:

    There are no annual IRA fees for mutual fund accounts with $5,000 or more, individuals with a total of $50,000 or more, or households with $100,000 or more invested with T. Rowe Price. A low $10 fee per year is charged for each IRA mutual fund account under $5,000. The fee helps offset costs for IRA record keeping, tax reporting, and account servicing.

    But this is waived with AAB, or no?

    For a brokerage IRA account:

    Annual Account Maintenance Fee

    $30 fee $30 fee is waived for:

    * T. Rowe Price customers who qualify for Preferred, Personal, or Enhanced Personal Services1

    * Brokerage accounts in which five or more commission-generating trades are executed over the previous 12-month period

    * Brokerage customers who hold $50,000 or more in T. Rowe Price mutual funds

    * Brokerage Advantage customers subject to the $40 cash management service fee (see below)

  29. Independent George says

    b-bo – The $30 annual fee is only for the regular (non-IRA) brokerage account. An IRA account only charges the annual fee if you don’t select electronic statements ($20 for any fund with a balance less than $10,000). If you do sign up for electronic statements, all you pay are the expense ratios (typically around 0.2%).

    For example: suppose you open a 2007 IRA account with the $3,000 minimum balance. If you elect electronic statements only, you pay no annual fees; if you prefer paper statements, you would pay the $20 annual fee.

    Now, suppose it’s April 14, and your no-good cousin pays you back the $7,000 he owes you. You decide to put it all into Vanguard to keep it simple: $1,000 as a 2007 IRA contribution, $5,000 as a 2008 IRA contribution, and put the remaining $1,000 into a new, non-IRA brokerage account.

    The brokerage account automatically incurs a $30 annual fee for 2008.

    The fees for the IRA account depend on how you invest. If you decided to buy a second fund, you’d pay a $40 annual fee ($20 for each account) for 2008. If instead you put all your contributions into the same fund ($9,000 balance), you’d pay $20 for the account.

    Suppose the market jumps 20% in September, and your fund is now worth $10,800. For the first three quarters, your average balance was below the $10,000 minimum, so you’d still pay $5 each quarter. Assuming the market holds in the 4th quarter, you would no longer pay any fees on your IRA account, but would still be subject to the $30 annual fee on your brokerage account.

  30. I pretty much agree with what people have said here. I have Fidelity through work for my 401k, and I have a huge selection of funds (~200). I like the fact that there is a large variety of indexes and actively managed funds. However, their Target funds are mainly actively managed, which I do not like.

    I opened up my ROTH IRA at Vanguard because of their cheaper retirement index funds. If I’m plunking a decent amount of money down every year into a ROTH, I like the fact that it is going to be relatively well diversified – I can tweak my overall diversification strategy using my 401k.

  31. Vanguard charges a $20 annual account service fee for each Vanguard fund in which you have a balance under $10,000 in an account.

    Does this apply to Vanguard funds held in a non-Vanguard brokerage account?

  32. I have T Rowe Price for my 403(b) at work. I did pay $10 the first August because my balance was less than $5000. I have very little good or bad to say. Everything seems to work fine; I have the retirement 2035 fund.

    I’ve had my Roth IRA and Traditional IRA with TIAA CREF for about a decade. I found their fees to be reasonable, and I like the “rebalance on my birthday” feature. I’d be a bit wealthier if I’d understood why that was a good idea earlier.

    I’m thinking of transferring at least one of my accounts away from them though. I’m tired of problems with the web site. My account has shown “phantom” contributions for over a year that I did not make, although all of my balances seem to be correct. I must not be the only person having problems. They recently sent a letter out that they are raising their fees because of the cost of running to accounting systems at the same time because their transition to a new one has gone so badly. Basically they hired it out to a company that botched the job, and not only does the system not work well enough to use, they’re charging me for it.

    For my IRA this year I opened an account with Firstrade and purchased a Margaritaville portfolio in ETFs. There’s no fee for the IRA (about $30 at many other places). I can have my dividends reinvest throughout the year, with partial shares, so I stay fully invested. And with 3 trades a year to add new funds and rebalance, my trading fees will come to a reasonable $20.85.

  33. The $20 fee is waived with electronic statements, or a few other ways. I don’t believe they are charged if you hold them in a non-Vanguard brokerage account.

    There are several brokers like Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, and more out there who charge from $7-$15 per trade. But they all charge more than $5 per trade without adding anything substantially of value in my opinion.

    If you’re already with them, you might have the inertia to stay. But if you’re looking for a new place to start, I can’t justify including them in my “top 3”. Why pay more?

    TradeKing is even offering to reimburse your transfer-out fees if you move your account to them, as long as the value is over $2,500.

    ThinkOrSwim is interesting. I keep waiting for them to drop their free mutual fund trades though. Scottrade couldn’t keep free mutual fund trades from any fund family going. FirsTrade tried too, and couldn’t keep it going either. Limiting it to 3 per month seems to be working for now.

  34. right now my roth ira is at vanguard in a target retirement fund. once i have sufficient balances to build my own asset allocation with their funds, i will move out of the target retirement fund.

    overall their service, fees, website, and fund choices have been fabulous. as jonathan has said in other posts, vanguard is a company i could see myself staying with for decades (which is what i have until retirement).

    i personally dont like the prospect of paying ANY sort of fees (beyond expense ratios) in an account that i can only add a finite amount of funds to annually. i started with td ameritrade, and once my free trades expired, i watched commissions just eat away at my balance. combine that with never being fully invested…. opening an account directly with the fund company you wish to invest in is the only way to run an ira in my book.

  35. to follow on to my above post, i am currently shopping for a place to open a taxable brokerage account for ETFs first (for further diversification and tweaking my asset allocation), and later for an individual stock or two here and there… maybe an active managed fund if i really get a decent chunk of play money? (small % of total portfolio). so cheap to free trades would be ideal i think…

    been looking @ scottrade… any thoughts/comments on them? i was never thrilled with td ameritrade and dont want to deal with etrade. schwab and the others in that range just get too expensive… although i have a schwab checking account.

    thanks for the recommendations.

  36. You may also try EverBank IRA and Roth IRA. Say, ISK 3 months CD gives 12% at the moment. You will lose 0.75% conversion exchange rate twice: USD to ISK, and back. The annual fee is $45.

  37. after opening zecco acount and not funding it for 17 weeks, they offered me $100 to fund it with $2500 before March. Guess it paid to wait.

    So…sharebuilder will charge me $25 for my 1/2 share of EEM? Guess the whole patient payoff bonus won’t be coming through on this one for us Jonathan. What’s the selling fee? 15? do’h!

  38. ShareBuilder $25 annual fee is only for IRAs. Regular taxable account have no maintenance or inactivity fees, which I guess is what they talk about when they say “no fees!”

    I still have my EEM and BRKB 🙂

  39. The $10 Annual Fee at T. Rowe Price IS waived if you use Automatic Asset builder (AAB). I’ve had a mutual fund account with them for a few years. It took a while to get over $5,000 and I’ve never been charged a fee.

    I recently cleaned out my account to pay off our car loan and started over at $50 per month into three mutual funds through AAB.

    Still No Fee.

  40. You pay tax on any withdrawals you make with a Roth IRA if you have not had more than 5 years elapsed since the creation of the Roth.

  41. I’ll second thinkorswim.com. while I don’t have an IRA there I do have a brokerage account and really like their Java-based trading platform. even if you don’t actively trade, you’ll learn a lot about trading there. plus you can paper-trade to your heart’s content to help you learn the platform and basic trading strategy.

    for non-IRA accounts you can trade pretty much anything: options, futures, forex. you can’t trade these in an IRA there, though some places allow it. frankly for your IRA you shouldn’t be looking at options and futures anyway; those are for your “I can afford to lose it all” account. oh yeah: how do you make a small fortune trading futures? start with a large one!

  42. I have my IRA with T Rowe Price. They do NOT waive the $10 IRA fee if you use Automatic Asset Builder. I paid the fee last year and I’m using AAB. Also they charge $10 a year to invest in their index funds. You need to have a $5000 balance to avoid the IRA fee. Not sure how much you need to avoid the index fee.

  43. If you just want mutual funds, I found TIAA-CREF to be a good choice for low(ish) cost funds with no account fees even for small accounts. This was when I did my research into this topic 5 years ago – not sure if things have changed since then.

  44. I agree with your mutual fund brokerage recommendations. I don’t really agree with your ETF/stock brokerage recommendations. With any kind of retirement acct, you kind of want the company to be around when you retire. Zecco, Tradeking, or any of those new companies most likely will not be around. Yeah, they might have cheaper commissions, but it’s not worth the hassle of moving from company to company as they go out of business. I think they’re suitable for playing around with stocks for short-term, but not for retirement.

  45. Scottrade is a decent company to do business with, unfortunately they do not offer reinvestment of dividends. This has discouraged me from using them for Roth IRA purposes.

  46. You missed the best of all – a Cayman Islands bank. No taxes or fees. Period.

    • Oh, does Credit Suisse also have a branch there?? I suspect with the NSA collecting and sharing all the wire , plane travel, travel traffic and the satellite comm traffic, the Cayman Islands are now a thing of the past for aspiring retirees at least for those who are Americans!

  47. I agree that some of the brokerages have a higher chance of going under, but in general they will be bought out or merged. Mergers also aren’t really that disruptive. And you can’t predict this stuff:

    BrownCo, which I thought was pretty solid, got bought by E-Trade.

    E-Trade, which I also thought was pretty solid, got hammered by subprime losses.

    Ameritrade and TD Waterhouse were big, but now they merged, and now might buy or merge with E-Trade.

    In the end, I think trades are becoming pretty much a commodity. So I’m not willing to pay $20+ per trade in the meantime. Just my opinion.

  48. Just curious as to why you didn’t list Fidelity…?

  49. Never mind, I just read the bottom, sorry.

  50. I have used Scottrade for 3 years. No fees at all and either $7 or $17 per trade depending on what fund you choose.

  51. For smallish accounts, I think Vanguard is the best choice. You can get into a low-cost Target Retirement Fund for just $3000 and there are no account fees whatsoever if you choose e-delivery of statements. They also have a large stable of low-cost index and some above-average actively managed funds. The only caveat is that their trading commissions are expensive if you want to buy individual stocks. If you are trading stocks, I’d go with Scottrade or Zecco.

  52. Ryan S.@uncommon-cents.net says

    I have a Roth and traditional IRA both at Firstrade; yes, there are charges for mutual funds, but these accounts are pretty much all either ETFs or individual stocks. I like them a lot!

  53. I have a number of old 401K accounts and a a couple other investment accounts with small amounts in them. I have a new roth IRA w/ ING (that I want to move) and about 15K in cash. I’m 31 and the 15K in cash is an emergency fund and some savings for an upcomming engagement. That being said the rest of my accounts are a mess and probably total about 20-25K. They are so spread out that I can’t keep track of them. I went to my local credit union and they have a finacial advisor who will work with you on these things for free. One of the first things she thinks I should do is open a Pershing account. I have never heard of this before. Is this a good idea and if so what questions should I ask and what types of fees should I look out for? After that I need to totaly reallicate my investments. I am considering some of the Vangaurd retirements funds, but other then that I’m not sure. Any help would be appreciated.

  54. I’m starting my first Roth this year and I’m leaning towards a target retirement fund. I’m pretty conservative with my money and I don’t want a lot of hassle. Right now Most of my money is in CDs and T-Bills. I really just want to open the account and forget about it and just add money to it once a year. Do I have to be actively managing it or can I just leave it?

  55. I want to open an IRA . My husband and I together make about $187k gross. He is eligible for his company’s 401k plan, but I am not eligible for mine. We plan on maxing out his 401k plan. My understanding is that because of our income, we are not eligible for a Roth IRA. Can you recommend a good broker for a traditional IRA? Since I’m in my late 20s and am relatively young, so I plan on choosing 100% stocks. I am absolutely clueless about personal finances. I just want to dump my money into an account and leave it. I don’t want to “actively manage” anything. Thanks.

  56. Currently I use several small accounts. Thanks to this collection I ‘ll give tradeking a chance and maybe I shift all to one account.

  57. I have a roth ira with ing that hold a few mutual funds. If i wanted to also invest in stock for my ira, would i have to open a separate ira altogether?

  58. C – If ING does not allow you to buy stocks, then yes.

  59. I have been using scottrade for my roth ira. i buy mostly mutual funds and also a couple stocks. I have been very happy with everything. Lots of funds to choose from. Simple to purchase funds and to deposit money. Every time i call i am speaking with an actual person within seconds without having to listen to a bunch of options first. No annual fee and no fee to transfer the account out if i ever want to change. They dont allow dividend reinvestments on single stocks which i wish they would, but they do allow it on mutual funds. I would recommend scottrade for sure.

  60. Aaron Shaefer says

    I have my ROTH IRA with Scottrade. It has low commissions and very good service. You will speak to an actual person within seconds. The only thing I don’t like is that the CD minimums are all at $10,000, which is a little HIGH for an investor just starting out. I am considering to goto Vanguard because of this. But I think I’ll stick with them for now.

  61. How does this fall under the real estate tag?

  62. I want to open up a self directed IRA but do not want the hassle of learning all the companies and ETF’s to trade.
    Is it possible to permit someone trade in my account but not make any withdrawals.
    I would pay them 5% a year of the performance that they increase my account. i.e. if my account was 20k Jan. 1 and on
    Dec 31 it was 30k I would send them a check for 500 dollars.
    I would lay rules on stock price and volume traded before doing any of this and the authorization can be revoked with one phone call.
    Does this sound like it is do able?

    • Have you thought about checking out one of the highly recommended financial advisors, for instance like Edelman Financial–I think they are fee based, have credentials and their fees may be quite a bit less than 5%, and they have a track record of success trading the accounts for their their clients, and take small accounts from those starting out. Per Barrons, they have won American best financial advisor awards status a number of years. I don’t use them because I do all my own trading, but if something happened that I was not able to continue that in the future, I would go that route.

  63. can i invest in stocks for my T. Rowe Price account, or does it have to be just mutual funds. Isnt it best for younger people to invest more in stocks then mutual funds.

  64. “I want to open up a self directed IRA but do not want the hassle of learning all the companies and ETF’s to trade.”

    Danny: This doesn’t sound like a very good way to do it: and a lot of active traders underperform the indexes. IMHO, you’re better off learning a little about some basic ETFs and putting your money into those. Many people who call themselves experts underperform the indexes, too.

    And a question for everyone: What do you think about Optionshouse? I’ve been with them for 6 months and they’ve been reliable for me. I don’t see any fees associated with IRAs, and their commissions are $4.

  65. Thank you for posting such interesting article. Keep posting.

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