The Ultimate Guide to Opening IRA Accounts


Regardless of whether you want to start working towards a grand retirement plan to travel the world, or whether you just simply want to lead a simple life with your significant other in the future, opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can solve your woes. An IRA is essentially a simple and effective way to save up your pre-tax money for your retirement, giving you the financial freedom to live comfortably. IRAs are versatile, giving individuals the freedom to start an account with as many financial services providers as you want according to your preference. Plus, there are plenty of options out there for you to explore, and you can start by finding out more about RegalAssets. If you are looking to open one soon, look no further as we have compiled a list of important factors to look out for especially for beginners.

Tax Benefits

IRA is a good way to save on taxes even if it’s for a relatively short term. As of 2020, individuals can contribute as much as $6000 to their IRA, or $7000 if you are 50 years and above. The tax savings are rather significant, as it can essentially cover the cost entirely of about $1000 and higher, determined by your own individual income tax bracket and if your state necessitates each individual to be subjected to income tax.

Being Aware of Your Financial Services Options

Traditional investment brokerage firms are useful, but modern times have also allowed the service of investment advisors to help you navigate your way through all the technicalities and clauses that opening an IRA brings about. With experts on board with you, you can take advantage of their services to thoroughly understand what you are signing up for with the help of data analyzers who can assess the practicality of every type of investment for you. By establishing trust and rapport, you will be in the good hands of these experts who can help you make investment decisions while putting your monetary interests first.

However, such personalized services do not come cheap. Despite the high commissions and fees that retirement savers have to pay, this type of service is most suitable for novices who’d prefer having an expert to give professional advice and to recommend the best times to buy and sell based on your individual needs. For retail brokers, their expertise lies in investigating, analyzing, and making transactions on your behalf, to ensure that your IRA is maximized to its full potential of experiencing steady growth.

Discount Brokers

Discount brokers can offer more than that, as they commonly hold webinars and seminars to educate individuals on the latest trends, and all the information that they need to know to make informed investment decisions. They are able to disseminate such information in layman and simple terms, making it extremely easy to understand. Discount brokers are more useful for individuals who prefer to be self-directed, instead of executing transactions on your behalf, and offer more generic services like answering queries and providing you with more information to allow you to make an informed decision by yourself.

Furthermore, the brokerage sites also offer many DIY tools for independent savers. Some of them even allow individuals to key in their financial information, offering a tailored experience based on your actual financial situation.

Traditional Broker

If you want to engage a traditional broker, be mindful that you’ll have to have a minimum overall investment portfolio value of $250,000. Personalized services are rather costly, and they also have to be enough viable trading movements to account for you opening an IRA account. They offer a more direct approach in helping you with your investment executions, offering both Roth and traditional IRAs that you can easily open online as well.


Instead of turning to a broker to help you, you can head to banks as well. Similar to discount brokers, they offer independent investment accounts for clients to deal with, and may even offer extra research and evaluation services. Clients are expected to choose their investments themselves, instead of letting the bank choose it for them. Increasingly, banks also provide retail brokerage services with financial experts who can manage your IRA for you, while earning a portion of the assets you own. Furthermore, banks give you the convenient option of arranging for self-activated monthly deposits to your IRA account through your bank account; thus giving you less work to do on your own.

Financial Trust Companies

Financial trust companies manage large pensions funds, while other assets offer self-directed and independent IRAs. They typically manage private equity, notes, real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other non-exchange traded assets. With a vast variety of assets that they provide, individuals are able to further diversify their portfolio by including other industries and scopes of investment. However, one point to take note of is that they do not offer tax or investment advice, that newbies may require. As custodians, they manage and operate investments by being a third-party provider, and hence, clients are required to do their own research instead of relying on their expertise alone.

A tip is to always check out the fees and commissions that they charge, regardless of which institution and the type of account you select at the end of the day. These fees can amount to quite a number, depending on the size of your assets in your portfolio or your transactions.

Doing Research

While there are a host of outlets to help with your IRA accounts, you should not neglect your own research and read up as much as you can before you decide on anything, as it allows you to at least have a basic understanding of how IRA accounts work and how the normal procedures are like. However, do bear in mind that some resources online do require a small fee, and sometimes paying for them is worth it. 

With Robo-trading and Robo-advisors, it can soon be attainable for individuals to cut out the middleman and save on costs and engage in trade execution on your own, order to buy or sell directly through discount brokers for low prices.

In a Nutshell

Ultimately, doing your own research and deciding on which account or institution to go for is important, as you can identify your needs and goals. Gather as much information as you need before opening an account, and be sure that you are comfortable with what the broker has to offer. At the end of the day, the money that you profit is yours, and not the brokers, so ensure that you are in the loop and communicate with your broker about your changing needs and wants.