Partnership Disclosure We might be compensated by one of our IRA partners for an account you open through our platform. This helps us keep the service free, but it never impacts the fees you’ll pay on your new account. We only win if you do, and our job is to help you simplify your retirement accounts. We also help people who already have an IRA account even though we receive no compensation in these situations—because it’s just the right thing to do!

Alto IRA Review

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Alto’s easy-to-use platform helps you invest your retirement savings in alternative assets like startups, real estate and even cryptocurrency.

Pros

A simple, online way to invest your retirement savings in alternative, private assets.
Invest in alternatives already available on platforms like AngelList and Republic 
You can also invest in any private deal that you source yourself.
Some of the lowest fees in the market for access to these investments.

Cons

Current investment options are limited to alternatives, so you’ll need another account to invest in stocks and ETFs.

Snapshot

Best if you wantA great, online way to invest your retirement savings in alternative assets that can’t be bought on major broker platforms.
Fees$10/month for Starter and $25/month for Pro, and $10-50 fee per private investment.
What you can invest inStartups, Real estate, Cryptocurrency, Pre-IPO shares, Crowdfunding, Other private investments
LimitationsAlto sets you up to invest easily in private assets. For now you won’t be able to invest in publicly traded assets like stocks and bonds.
Account minimum$0
Ease of Use4.5 stars

Open an Account

Best if you want

Many savvy investors have wondered if they can invest some of their retirement savings into alternative assets. Enter, Alto and their “Alternative IRA”. Alto helps individuals allocate some of their retirement savings to private investments like real estate, startups, art, and even cryptocurrency.

Their easy-to-use platform makes it easy to pick from a list of alternative investments already being marketed. But they’ve also made it easy for you to bring your own private deal to invest in – they’ll take care of all of the administrative work to make that happen.

Fees

Self-directed IRAs for alternative assets usually carry two types of fees: an ongoing administrative fee and transaction fees. Since alternative assets are more complicated than more liquid public investments like stocks, these accounts tend to have higher fees than regular brokerage accounts but they also unlock access to new asset classes.

The specific fees you’ll pay at Alto depend on whether you choose a Starter account or a Pro account. The main difference between them is whether you can bring your own private investment or not – Pro accounts allow you to do that, whereas Starter accounts limit you to investments at one of Alto’s partner institutions. 

In both cases, you’ll pay a monthly fee and a per investment fee

  • Monthly fee: $10/month for a Starter account, and $25/month for a Pro account.
  • Per investment fee: for both account types, you’ll pay a $10 per investment fee for Alto preferred partner investments and $50 on other platforms. You’ll pay $75/investment for a private investment you bring on your own. For a full breakdown of pricing, see here.

What you can invest in

Alto has partnered with over 20 providers of alternative investments to make access easy. These include AngelList for early stage startup investments, Republic for crowdfunding and Masterworks for art. You can use these platforms to pick an alternative investment right from your Alto dashboard.

Alto also allows you to source your own private deal – for example, participating in a startup’s funding round or investing in local real estate alongside others. They’ve built a simple, digital way for you to initiate these investments with a well-staffed support team to help you through the process.

Limitations

For now, the Alto platform only allows you to invest in these private alternative asset classes. That means you’ll need another IRA for the portion of retirement savings that you’ll invest in stocks and ETFs. So while an Alto account will help you diversify your assets, you should make sure to have a well-balanced portfolio of more liquid (public) investments alongside it.

Some alternative investments offered on the Alto platform are also limited to “accredited investors” because of investment regulations. “Accredited investors” are defined as those individuals who earned over $200,00 in income in each of the prior two years or have over $1 million in net worth. That’s because imvestment regulators believe, rightly or wrongly, that certain types of private investments should be limited to wealthier investors who can tolerate more risk. There’s significant debate around whether these restrictions make sense or whether they do more damage by limiting access to alternative assets. Either way, they may limit the range of investments available to someone who is not an accredited investor.

Conclusion

Alto’s “Alternative IRA” offers a streamlined, online way for people to invest some of their retirement assets in private, alternative assets. This is especially powerful for those seeking to add diversification to their automated accounts (roboadvisor portfolios) or self directed IRAs at a large brokerage – which are normally invested in stocks and ETFs. It’s also a way for people to invest in private opportunities that they source themselves – in a largely digital way. Alto’s transparent and reasonable fees make this an excellent option for those looking to broaden the range of investments in their retirement portfolios.

Compare Alto IRA to another IRA product

Ready to take control of your assets?

Capitalize helps you consolidate your old 401(k)s by rolling them into an IRA of your choosing. Use an existing IRA if you have one, or we’ll help you open one if you don’t.