We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

Our Criteria

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:

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$1 trillion in assets under management if offering a self-directed account

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$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

Best Self-Directed

Provider Details

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

Our Take

E*TRADE has long been a major player in the online investing market, and the company stands out amongst competitors by offering a wide range of investment choices with no account fees or minimum. Most trades have no commissions, and the investment options that do incur charges are transparently spelled out on E*TRADE’s website.

IRA investors can build their portfolio at E*TRADE with over 6,500 mutual funds and over 50,000 bond and CD choices. The provider’s online trading platform was one of the first of its kind and remains an accessible and user-friendly tool for investors of all experience levels.

Best Robo-Advisor

Provider Details

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

Our Take

It’s easy to see why Wealthfront is one of the top robo-advisors in the country. The online platform is easy to use even if you’re brand new to investing, but experienced investors will enjoy the high level of customization you can apply to your IRA portfolio.

Wealthfront allows investors to build their own portfolio with hundreds of investment options or choose a premade portfolio that’s crafted and managed by Wealthfront’s financial experts. This flexibility, combined with a standard management fee and an unusually low account minimum of $500, make Wealthfront our overall best choice for an IRA robo-advisor.

Best for Beginners

Provider Details

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

Our Take

If you’re opening an IRA for the first time, consider getting an account at Fidelity Investments. Fidelity’s IRA comes with no account or advisory fees and over 10,000 funds to choose from. The brokerage even offers the Fidelity ZERO® line of index funds, which have no expense ratio.

First-time retirement investors will appreciate the range of free online resources and tools Fidelity offers. These resources include retirement planning tools, calculators, reporting features, investment analysis and chatbot support. You can even take virtual courses with Fidelity’s Learning Center to master the basics of trading.

Best for Varied Investment Options


Provider Details

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

Our Take

As one of the biggest IRA providers in the country, Charles Schwab is known for its 24/7 customer service and providing IRAs with no fees and no commission on most online trades. Schwab’s online trading platform, StreetSmart Edge®, offers investors customizable layouts, trading tools and cutting-edge research offerings.

Investors can use Schwab’s wide range of investment options to craft a portfolio for their financial needs, such as mutual funds, annuities, money market funds, stocks, bonds, options, futures and margin loans. The brokerage also offers over two dozen low-cost ETFs with expense ratios as low as 0.03%.

Best Robo-Advisors With No Fees


Provider Details

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

Our Take

Charles Schwab’s robo-advisor platform, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios®, distinguishes itself from other robo-advisors by charging no advisory or management fees. Investors who want the convenience of a robo-advisor without the expensive fees might prefer this service, provided you can meet the $5,000 account minimum.

When you open an IRA with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios®, you’ll answer a questionnaire about your risk tolerance and goals and choose from six risk profiles and three investment strategies. Schwab’s robo-advising algorithms use your responses to create a diversified portfolio of ETFs that perfectly matches your needs.

Best Robo-Advisors With No Minimum


Provider Details

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

Our Take

Investors can open a Betterment IRA account with any amount of cash, making it the only robo-advisor we considered that has no account minimum. Betterment’s advisory fees are average at 0.25% for the basic plan, which includes digital-only investment advice.

Beginner investors opening an IRA for the first time might appreciate the guided, hands-off approach that Betterment offers. The robo-advisor provides a few curated portfolios to choose from, all of which can be adjusted for risk tolerance.

Best for Experienced Investors


Provider Details

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

Our Take

Experienced investors might prefer the straightforward approach of Vanguard’s simple trading platform. Vanguard IRA owners can build their portfolios with stocks, bonds, options, ETFs and over a hundred no-transaction-fee Vanguard mutual funds. Many of Vanguard’s mutual and index funds carry a below-average expense ratio, making them an affordable investment option.

This brokerage might be best suited for investors who already have significant funds to contribute to an IRA. While there’s no minimum required to open an IRA account, many Vanguard mutual funds require a minimum investment of $3,000.

Others We Considered

Provider Description
Merrill Edge 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 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 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

How much should you contribute to an IRA?

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.

When can you contribute money from an IRA?

You can withdraw money from an IRA without penalty after you turn 59 1/2.

Are IRA withdrawls taxed?

Withdrawals from a traditional IRA are considered taxable income.

Can you lose money in an IRA?

As it is an investment portfolio, it is always possible to lose money in an IRA.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: September 20, 2023
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