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Best Self-Directed IRAs

Pick one of these IRAs if you’re an active investor.

Updated on March 14, 2020

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The best self-directed IRAs

Tradestation logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Crypto, Bonds
Limitations: Might be a little heavy-duty for inexperienced traders.
Access to Research: Good: lots of data and charting tools, less access to fundamental third-party research.
Charles Schwab logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds
Limitations: Schwab does not offer direct investments in cryptocurrency, though this won't be a limitation for most investors.
Access to Research: Good: market data and some third-party research on stocks, mutual funds & markets (e.g. Morningstar, Credit Suisse, Argus).
Fidelity logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Bonds
Limitations: Fidelity's fees on money market mutual funds (where you can put extra cash in your account) are a little higher than some peers.
Access to Research: Good: access to market data and reports from third-party research providers (e.g. Argus, CFRA).
E*TRADE logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds
Limitations: The E*TRADE platform has more functions than many brokers, so it can take a bit to get the hang of.
Access to Research: Great: market data and third-party research on stocks, mutual funds & markets (e.g. Thomson Reuters, Credit Suisse, Argus). In addition, E*TRADE offers resources for beginner investors.
M1 Finance logo
Commissions: $0 commission online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, REITs
Limitations: M1 is not an active trading platform; all trades occur during set trade windows and are executed automatically. You can also initiate trades manually during the trade windows.
Access to Research: Good; Includes access to market and individual stock news, screening tools for stocks and ETFs.
Merrill Lynch logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Bonds
Limitations: Some extra benefits (e.g. fee discounts) are reserved for Bank of America customers.
Access to Research: Good: access to extensive Bank of America research and some third-party research.
Vanguard logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options
Limitations: Vanguard's platform is limited if you want to trade things other than ETFs and some Vanguard funds have high minimums.
Access to Research: Limited: some market data but not much third-party research.
Robinhood logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Other fees may apply.
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Options
Limitations: Users can earn the matching contribution immediately on eligible contributions, but must hold the funds in the IRA account for five years before the match can be withdrawn without a potential fee.
Access to Research: Good: Robinhood offers advanced charts to visualize, research, and analyze investment options. Robinhood’s portfolio building tools also offer useful information on investment choices
SoFi logo
Commissions: Trade stocks and ETFs commission-free and pay no SoFi management fees on professionally-managed portfolios. Other fees may apply.
Invest in: Individual stocks, ETFs, IPOs, and professionally managed portfolios
Limitations: SoFi doesn’t allow you to trade options in IRAs (although it is allowed in taxable accounts) and doesn’t offer advanced technical research capabilities
Access to Research: Limited: some market data but no third-party research.
Ally logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Bonds
Limitations: Ally has some great tools for traders (charts and screeners) but a little less third-party research.
Access to Research: Good: market data and some third-party research on stocks (e.g. Morningstar, CFRA).
BitcoinIRA logo
Commissions: Initial deposit fee: 5.99%; Transaction fees: 2% of all trades; Monthly account fee: 0.08%
Invest in: Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and 60+ others); Gold (note: these are actual gold bars stored in Brink’s storage facilities on your behalf)
Limitations: Bitcoin IRA has higher fees than some other providers of crypto IRAs, though you will be able to earn some interest on your holdings.
Access to Research: Good; Bitcoin IRA offers various reports (on web and mobile) and allows you to set up advanced charts and price alerts which is especially useful for crypto trading.
AltoIRA logo
Commissions: Crypto IRA: 1% Trade Fee for all transactions; No Custody or Account Fees
Alto IRA: $10/month for Starter and $25/month for Pro, and $10-75 fee per private investment
Invest in: Cryptocurrency and Crypto Funds, Securitized Collectibles, Cannabis, Real Estate, Crowdfunding, Private Credit, Private Equity, Pre-IPO Stocks and funds, Private High Yield Offerings, Venture Capital, and more.
Limitations: Standard restrictions on alternative investments apply; in addition, you cannot currently invest in publicly traded assets like stocks and bonds.
Access to Research: Good: access to research on private investments through Alto partners like AngelList and Forge.
TD Ameritrade logo
Commissions: $0 online trades for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Invest in: Stocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds
Limitations: TD's branches are concentrated in the Northeast if you like in-person service.
Access to Research: Good: market data and some third-party research on stocks, mutual funds & markets (e.g. Morningstar, CFRA).
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