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!

Schwab IRA Review

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Charles Schwab pioneered low-commission trading. Since then, their easy-to-use online platform and access to detailed investment research, has made them a top choice among novice and experienced investors alike.

Pros

No minimum balance
Easy-to-use online platform
Access to detailed research 
Large selection of investment options

Cons

Lower than average interest rate on default money market fund

Snapshot

Best if you wantAn easy-to-use, low-cost trading account from the financial brand that pioneered low-commission trades.
Fees$0 to trade stocks and ETFs online
What you can invest inStocks & ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds
LimitationsYou might earn a slightly lower return on extra cash in your account – Schwab’s default interest rate is lower than peers.
Account minimum$0
Ease of Use4.5 stars

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Best if you want

Schwab’s easy-to-use trading platform and a wide selection of investment options (including ETFs from Schwab, StateStreet, and Blackrock), make it a good choice for investors of all experience levels. Schwab’s $0 commissions and fees on stocks and some ETF trades allow investors to build low-cost, well-diversified retirement portfolios.

With $3.7 trillion assets under management (AUM), Schwab’s customer-first philosophy is exemplified in their satisfaction guarantee and excellent customer service- investors can reach Schwab 24/7 either by telephone or online chat.

Fees

Self-directed retirement accounts typically carry two types of fees: annual account fees and transaction fees. Account fees are usually expressed as a percentage of your assets that’s paid each year (e.g. .50% per annum). On the other hand, transaction fees are charged exclusively during trading. The cost of annual and transaction fees have decreased dramatically over the past decade, but are still an important consideration when deciding if a broker fits your needs.

At Charles Schwab, you’ll pay:

  • No annual account fee
  • No commissions on trades of stocks, ETFS, and options. Options carry a contract fee of $0.65 per contract, which is in line with other brokers.

What you can invest in

Like with all self-directed accounts, choosing the investments in your retirement account is entirely up to you! You’ll select from a wide variety of investment options including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, and bonds from Schwab and others, which will allow you to create a well-diversified portfolio at a low cost.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can use Schwab’s “Portfolio check up” and “Model Questionnaire” tools to determine if your portfolio is in line with Schwab’s general recommendation, but if you want more personal advice, you’ll need to move into Schwab’s advisory program, which comes with higher fees.

Other features

Schwab gives investors access to detailed research which can be helpful when building your retirement portfolio. Schwab’s resources aren’t exclusive to retirement savings, though, and can also help you invest for other goals, such as saving for educational expenses.

Limitations

Uninvested cash in Schwab accounts is swept into an account paying less than 0.50%, which is below the industry average. Investors can opt into other cash-equivalent securities, like Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund (SWVXX) instead, but those are not the default option.

Conclusion

Schwab’s Rollover IRA is a good option for cost-conscious investors looking to manage their own retirement accounts. Schwab offers detailed research, an easy to use platform, and excellent investment planning tools which can help independent investors plan for retirement with confidence.

Compare Schwab 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.