Best IRA Accounts for 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Advertiser Disclosure
× helps investors like you across the globe by spending over 1,000 hours each year testing and researching online brokers. You support us through our independently chosen links, which may earn us a commission. This does not impact our completely unbiased research, which is respected by broker executives as the most thorough on the web. Thank you for your support.

The annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Industry leaders trust us because our proprietary testing methodology is completely independent and unbiased.

When it comes to retirement, choosing the right online broker for self-directed trading is very important for long-term success. A retirement account is your nest egg for the future, and whether it is a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or even a SEP IRA, this broker guide will help you choose the best broker for your retirement account.

In the process of selecting a broker, we recommend choosing one that does not charge any miscellaneous IRA fees: a yearly maintenance fee, a fee for opening the IRA, or a fee for closure should you decide to move your money elsewhere.

Best IRA Accounts for 2019

Here are the top five brokerages for IRA retirement accounts, based on over 80 variables.

Best IRA Accounts at a glance (Overall)

We recommend the following as the best brokers for IRA retirement accounts. None of these brokers charge any annual fees associated with IRA accounts. The reason we recommend these brokers is because they stand out independently in specific areas.

Fidelity Investments Logo
Exclusive Offer Get 300 commission-free trades and 2 years to use them. Learn More
Charles Schwab Logo
Current Offer $4.95 online equity trades + $0.65 per options contract Open Account
Merrill Edge Logo
Current Offer Invest in a new account and get up to $600. Learn More
TD Ameritrade Logo
Exclusive Offer Trade free for 90 days + get up to $600 cash. Learn More
Current Offer Trade Free for 60 Days & Get Up to $600. Learn More

How to select an IRA account

Before opening your new retirement account, consider these five tips for success:

1. Be sure to choose a broker with no IRA fees. Fees may include an annual fee for simply having the account, a fee for opening the account, or a fee for closing it. None of the brokers we recommend, charge these types of fees, so no need to worry. If anything, you should take advantage of the current offers and get a bonus for opening a new account.

2. Understand the difference between retirement account types. Should you go with a traditional IRA or a Roth? With a Traditional IRA, all contributions are tax-free, while withdrawals are taxed, as opposed to a Roth IRA, where contributions are taxed up front and thus are tax-free in the end. A more detailed breakdown of differences is set out below.

3. Choose an online broker that is right for YOU.Online brokers come in many different shapes and sizes, so choosing the right one is important because, after all, this is for your retirement! Alongside reviewing the above broker recommendations, consider reading our best online brokers guide and navigating through our full online broker reviews here on the site.

4.Start your retirement account early to maximize returns.The younger you are when you open and begin contributing to your IRA, the longer your portfolio will grow without being taxed. Saving at a young age allows returns to compound over time, offering you a significant benefit over any non-retirement brokerage account.

5. Understand how to roll over your 401k to an IRA: To roll over any retirement account, click to open an account with the broker you decide on, select retirement account and IRA under type, and complete the application. From there, follow the instructions provided, including contacting your 401k provider to let them know you are doing a rollover, then fund your new IRA broker account online. Be sure to take your time with the application process.

Retirement account types

Traditional IRA: A Traditional Individual Retirement Account (Traditional IRA) presents both tax advantages and investment opportunities. With a Traditional IRA, contributions are tax deductible, meaning you do not pay any taxes on funds contributed each year. Furthermore, all earnings over the course of the account's life are tax-deferred until you start withdrawing for retirement. With a Traditional IRA, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year under the age of 50, and $7,000 per year if 50 or older. However, any withdrawals before the age of 59 and a half are subject to an early distribution penalty of 10%. See this Wikipedia page for more information.

Roth IRA: With a Roth IRA, contributions are all post tax, which means withdrawals during retirement are tax-free. Contribution limits are the same as IRAs. However, Roth IRAs are not available to everyone. Instead, higher income earners are locked out of using this retirement instrument. Unlike Traditional IRAs, with a Roth IRA funds may be withdrawn at any time after a "seasoning period" (currently five years). See this Wikipedia page for more information.

SEP IRA: A SEP IRA, Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement, is a traditional IRA modified to be used by business owners for themselves. Contributions are capped at $56,000 per year in 2019 and are tax deferred, like a Traditional IRA, meaning distributions during retirement are taxed. The rationale for taking out a Traditional IRA or SEP IRA instead of a Roth IRA is that during retirement, income levels will be much lower than they are currently; thus, the effective tax bracket is lower, saving money overall.

401(k): A 401(k) is a type of retirement account American employers offer their workers. As a tax-deferred investment account, employees can contribute up to $18,500 pre-tax every year in 2019. Withdrawals are taxed during retirement. 401ks often include incentives from employers to contribute, with the most common being contribution matching (the US average is 2.7%). Different variations of profit sharing can also be incorporated, although they are less common. When an employee leaves his or her current company or retires, he/she is required to roll over the funds into a new employer's plan or roll over the funds into an IRA. See this Wikipedia page for more information.

Best IRA Accounts 2019 (Summary)

Online Broker Best For Minimum Deposit Commissions IRA Account Rating
Fidelity Best for IRA accounts overall $0 $4.95 5 Stars
Charles Schwab Great all-around retirement experience $0 $4.95 5 Stars
Merrill Edge Best rewards program $0 $6.95 5 Stars
TD Ameritrade Technology leader $0 $6.95 4.5 Stars
E*TRADE Balanced offering $500 $6.95 4.5 Stars

Related Guides

Continue Reading

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. and are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options. Offer valid for one new Individual, Joint or IRA TD Ameritrade account opened by 9/30/2019 and funded within 60 calendar days of account opening with $3,000 or more. To receive $100 bonus, account must be funded with $25,000-$99,999. To receive $300 bonus, account must be funded with $100,000-$249,999. To receive $600 bonus, account must be funded with $250,000 or more. Offer is not valid on tax-exempt trusts, 401k accounts, Keogh plans, Profit Sharing Plan, or Money Purchase Plan. Offer is not transferable and not valid with internal transfers, accounts managed by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, TD Ameritrade Institutional accounts, and current TD Ameritrade accounts or with other offers. Qualified commission-free Internet equity, ETF or options orders will be limited to a maximum of 250 and must execute within 90 calendar days of account funding. No credit will be given for unexecuted trades. Contract, exercise, and assignment fees still apply. Limit one offer per client. Account value of the qualifying account must remain equal to, or greater than, the value after the net deposit was made (minus any losses due to trading or market volatility or margin debit balances) for 12 months, or TD Ameritrade may charge the account for the cost of the offer at its sole discretion. TD Ameritrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer at any time. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Please allow 3-5 business days for any cash deposits to post to account. Taxes related to TD Ameritrade offers are your responsibility. Retail values totaling $600 or more during the calendar year will be included in your consolidated Form 1099. Please consult a legal or tax advisor for the most recent changes to the U.S. tax code and for rollover eligibility rules. (Offer Code 264) TD Ameritrade Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2019 TD Ameritrade.

arrow_drop_upBack to top