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Written by Kevin Mercadante on June 14, 2021
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Top 9 Best Robo Advisors For Roth IRAs In 2021

Roth IRA accounts are fast becoming must-have investment accounts, and it’s easy to see why. Though your contributions are not tax-deductible, the investments held in your account grow on a tax-exempt basis. This is because your contributions are made post-tax. And once you reach age 59½ and have been in the plan for at least five years, you can begin taking withdrawals of both contributions and accumulated investment earnings completely tax-free.

Interested? You should be! And if so, the only question is, where to invest in a Roth IRA.

We have an easy answer: Robo-advisors. And in this guide, you’ll see the nine best robo-advisors for Roth IRAs.

Why Robo-Advisors are the Right Choice for Roth IRAs

Since a major advantage with Roth IRAs are tax-free withdrawals, it’s in your best interest to accumulate as much investment income in one as possible. The more your account grows, the more you’ll be able to take out when retirement rolls around.

Robo-advisors are an outstanding choice for Roth IRAs. This is because they give you the ability to fund your account and have it professionally managed for an extremely low fee.

The average fee is around 0.25% per year, which means you can have a $50,000 Roth IRA managed for just $125 per year.

That management will include portfolio creation, security selection, complete diversification, periodic portfolio rebalancing and dividend reinvestment. That’s a lot of investment management for such a small annual fee.

Best of all, a robo-advisor provides you with passive investment management. Other than funding your account, you have no other concerns in connection with your Roth IRA. All the mechanics of managing it will be handled for you, leaving you free to tend to the rest of your life.

Now let’s move on to the nine best robo-advisors for Roth IRAs:

1. SoFi Automated Investing

Best for: Best all-around robo-advisor for Roth IRAs.

Why SoFi Automated Investing is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRA: SoFi Automated Investing gets our vote for best all-around robo-advisor for Roth IRAs. They require no minimum initial investment, and no advisory fee. You’ll also have access to financial advisors at no additional cost. SoFi has evolved into a full-service personal financial platform, but also provides SoFi Active Investing, in case you also want to hold some of your money in self-directed investments.

SoFi Automated Investing Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: None, but minimum of $1 to begin investing.
  • Available accounts: Individual and joint taxable investment accounts, plus traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs, as well as Keogh plans.
  • Investment mix: ETFs (exchange traded funds) invested in U.S. and international stocks and bonds.
  • Fees: None.
  • Customer support: Phone, email and live chat, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Eastern time.

SoFi Automated Investing Pros:

  • No advisory fee to manage your account.
  • No minimum initial investment required to open an account.
  • If you have student loans to refinance, SoFi is a leader in the space.
  • SoFi offers SoFi Active Investing for self-directed investing, which also includes cryptocurrencies. You get the benefit of both professional management and self-directed investing on the same platform.
  • Access to certified financial planners at no additional cost.

SoFi Automated Investing Cons:

  • Investment options are limited to stocks and bonds only—there are no alternatives.

2. Fidelity Go

fidelity logo

Best for: Robo-advisor with the option to engage in self-directed trading on one of the best brokerage platforms in the industry.

Why Fidelity Go is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: This robo-advisor rates a close second behind SoFi Automated Investing. There’s no minimum initial investment, and your plan will be managed by one of the largest and best respected brokerages in the world. Meanwhile, you can engage in self-directed investing through a Fidelity brokerage account, allowing you to invest in just about any asset or security you want. Your account will be invested in Fidelity Flex Funds, which include both active and passive funds with no expense ratios. And customer service access and quality are at the top of the industry.

The main negative with this robo is the fee structure. The first $9,999 is managed free—so far, so good. The next $40,000 is managed at just $3 per month, which will be lower than most of the competition on a percentage basis at the higher end of the balance range. But at $50,000 and up, the advisory fee rises to 0.35%, which is higher than the industry average.

Fidelity Go Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: None, but $10 to begin investing.
  • Available accounts: Individual taxable investment accounts, and traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs.
  • Investment mix: ETFs in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds, as well as short-term investments.
  • Fees: None on balances under $10,000, then $3 per month on balances from $10,000 to $49,999, then 0.35% on balances of $50,000 and up.
  • Customer support: Phone support 24/7, live chat Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern time, plus 140 branches nationwide.

Fidelity Go Pros:

  • No advisory fee on the first $9,999 under management.
  • No minimum required to open an account, and only $10 required to begin investing.
  • Your account will be invested in Fidelity Flex Funds that have no fund expenses.
  • 24/7 customer service access by phone.
  • You can also engage in self-directed investing given that Fidelity is one of the top brokerage firms in the world.

Fidelity Go Cons:

  • No alternative investments, like real estate and commodities, are offered, though you can invest in those assets through a self-directed investment account.
  • Advisory fee of 0.35% on account balances of $50,000 and up is higher than the fee charged by other robo-advisors.

3. Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

Charles Schwab logo

Best for: No fee robo-advisor with the option to engage in self-directed trading on one of the best brokerage platforms in the industry.

Why Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: Much as is the case with Fidelity Go, Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios provides an opportunity for you to engage in self-directed investing through a Charles Schwab brokerage account. They are also one of the top brokerage firms in the industry, enabling you to invest in just about anything you choose. Meanwhile, Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has no advisory fee on the basic account. But if you do want access to financial advisors, you can trade up to the Premium account. There will be a fee for this service level, but it’s low among those firms offering access to financial advisors.

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: $5,000, $25,000 for Premium.
  • Available accounts: Joint and individual taxable investment accounts; trusts; traditional, Roth, rollover, SIMPLE, and SEP IRAs.
  • Investment mix: 53 ETFs representing 20 asset classes. This will include a mix of stocks, fixed income, commodities, and cash.
  • Fees: None on the basic account, $30 for Premium.
  • Customer support: Phone and live chat, 24/7.

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Pros:

  • No advisory fee on the basic account.
  • Invests in 20 asset classes, which is substantially more than the 6 to 12 used by competitors.
  • You can engage in self-directed investing with a Charles Schwab brokerage account.
  • Customer service is available on a 24/7 basis and is among the best offered in the industry.

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Cons:

  • Requires a minimum initial investment of $5,000, which may exclude smaller investors.
  • The portfolio includes an unusual amount of cash, reducing investment returns.
  • An interest-bearing cash account is available, but the interest rate is no better than local banks or credit unions.

4. Betterment

Best for: Robo-advisor, plus comprehensive financial management, including high-interest savings and no-fee checking.

Why Betterment is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: Betterment offers comprehensive management of your Roth IRA and other accounts. They also provide a high-interest cash account, as well as a checking account with a Visa debit card and no fees. No minimum initial investment is required for the Digital plan, and it comes with a very comfortable 0.25% annual advisory fee. The U.S. stock allocation includes value stocks, giving you an opportunity to outperform the general market. And the Betterment Cash account has a current APR of 0.40% if you also want to hold uninvested cash with your Roth IRA.

Betterment Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: None for Digital, $100,000 for Premium.
  • Available accounts: Individual and joint taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth, rollover, and SEP IRAs; trusts; and a high-interest cash account.
  • Investment mix: ETFs invested in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds.
  • Fees: 0.25% annual advisory fee on the Digital plan, 0.40% annual advisory fee on the Premium plan.
  • Customer support: By phone and email, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern time.

Betterment Pros:

  • No minimum balance requirement to open a Digital account.
  • Offers a high-interest cash account, currently paying 0.40% APR.
  • Some ETFs are invested in U.S. value stocks, giving you the potential to outperform the general market.
  • Access to live advisors with the Premium plan.
  • Offers no-fee checking account with a Visa debit card.

Betterment Cons:

  • No alternative investments, like real estate and commodities, are offered.
  • The advisory fees, at 0.25% and 0.40%, are only at about the middle of the robo-advisor fee range.

5. Wealthfront

Wealthfront review

Best for: Roth IRA, plus comprehensive financial management with broader diversification, including high-interest savings and no-fee checking.

Why Wealthfront is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: Wealthfront offers much the same service level as Betterment, but it also adds increased diversification by including real estate and natural resources. They also offer a high-yield cash account, paying a rate comparable to Betterment. The fee is 0.25% on all account balances. The primary reason why Wealthfront rates a notch below Betterment is the minimum initial investment of $500. Otherwise, the two robos are roughly equal.

Wealthfront Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: $500.
  • Available accounts: Individual and joint taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth, rollover, and SEP IRAs; trusts; and a high-yield cash account.
  • Investment mix: ETFs invested in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds, real estate, and natural resources.
  • Fees: 0.25% advisory fee on all account balances.
  • Customer support: By phone, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Pacific time, as well as email responded to within one business day.

Wealthfront Pros:

  • Offers a high-yield cash account, currently paying 0.35% APR, for your uninvested cash.
  • Portfolio allocation includes alternative investments like real estate and natural resources, offering broader diversification and the ability to benefit from inflation.
  • No-fee checking account with a Visa debit card.

Wealthfront Cons:

  • Does require a minimum of $500 to open an account.
  • Annual advisory fee of 0.25% is at the middle of the robo-advisor fee range.

6. M1 Finance Expert Pies

Best for: Choosing your own investments, which will then be professionally managed.

Why M1 Finance Expert Pies is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: What separates M1 from the other providers on this list is that it gives you the ability to choose your own investments. But you also have the option to select portfolios designed by the service. Either way, you’ll invest using a system called “pies.” These are many portfolios composed of up to 100 ETFs and individual stocks. Since they allow use of fractional shares, you can build a pie with as little as $100. You can also build as many pies as you like. And once created, it will be automatically managed for you, including periodic rebalancing. And best of all, there are no fees to manage your account.

M1 Finance Expert Pies Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: None to open your account, but at least $100 to begin investing.
  • Available accounts: Joint and individual taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth, rollover, and SEP IRAs.
  • Investment mix: ETFs and individual stocks.
  • Fees: No annual advisory fee and no trading commissions.
  • Customer support: Phone, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Central time.

M1 Finance Expert Pies Pros:

  • No minimum initial investment required, though $100 is required to begin investing.
  • No advisory fee or trading fees.
  • Ability to choose the stocks and ETFs in your pies.
  • Complete investment management once your pies have been created.

M1 Finance Expert Pies Cons:

  • No availability of bonds or mutual funds.
  • Though you can include individual stocks in your pies, the platform is not suitable for stock trading.

7. Vanguard Digital Advisor

Best for: Investors who love investing in Vanguard funds.

Why Vanguard Digital Advisor is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: Vanguard Digital Advisor is a newcomer on the robo-advisor block. If this were a standalone robo-advisor that might be a problem. But when it’s part of Vanguard, it’s not a concern. Vanguard is the world’s largest provider of mutual funds, and the second largest provider of ETFs. It manages more than $6.7 trillion for over 30 million investors, so you know you’ll be in good hands.

Your account will be invested in Vanguard funds, which are so popular they are commonly found in the portfolios of both robo-advisors and human-guided investment advisories. Their funds feature some of the lowest expense ratios in the industry, which translates into higher average returns.

Vanguard Digital Advisor Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: $3,000.
  • Available accounts: Individual taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs.
  • Investment mix: ETFs invested in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds.
  • Fees: 0.15%.
  • Customer support: Phone, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Central time.

Vanguard Digital Advisor Pros:

  • One of the lowest advisory fees in the industry among robo-advisors that have fees.
  • Vanguard offers some of the most popular ETFs and mutual funds in the industry, as evidenced by the fact they are commonly included in the portfolios of other robo-advisors.
  • You can also use Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which offers access to personal financial advisors. (Requires a minimum account balance of $50,000.)

Vanguard Digital Advisor Pies Cons:

  • Invests only in Vanguard funds.
  • New robo-advisor, so there’s no track record.
  • High minimum initial investment may exclude small investors.

8. Acorns

Best for: New Roth IRA investors.

Why Acorns is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: Like most other providers on this list, Acorns is a robo-advisor providing automated investment management at a low fee. But what separates it from the pack is that it’s also a micro-savings app. That means it can help you save the money needed to fund your Roth IRA. That makes it perfect for Roth IRA beginners.

The funding process is based on a system known as round-ups. You’ll include one or more spending accounts with the Acorns app, which will round up your credit and debit card purchases, ultimately transferring the change to your investment account. For example, if you make a purchase for $5.33, Acorns will round the purchase up to an even $6.00, transferring the $.67 extra to your investment account. That creates a passive savings method that’s perfect if you’ve had difficulty saving the money to invest in the past.

Acorns Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: None, but you will need at least $5 to begin investing.
  • Available accounts: Taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth, rollover, and SEP IRAs.
  • Investment mix: ETFs invested in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds, plus a real estate investment trust index fund.
  • Fees: Acorns Lite (basic taxable investment account) $1 per month; Acorns Personal (basic taxable investment account and IRA), $3 per month; Acorns Family (accounts for the whole family), $5 per month.
  • Customer support: Limited to email with a response time of one or two days.

Acorns Pros:

  • The ability to not only create a Roth IRA, but also to accumulate money to fund it.
  • No minimum initial investment required to open an account.
  • The fees of $1 per month on the basic investment account, or $3 per month on the basic investment and IRA accounts, will be a real bargain on high account balances compared with other fee-charging robo-advisors.
  • Adds real estate to the usual robo-advisor mix of stocks and bonds.

Acorns Cons:

  • The fees of $1 per month on the basic investment account, or $3 per month on the basic investment and IRA accounts, will be high on very small account balances.
  • You’ll be required to open a basic investment account to be able to open an IRA account.
  • Very limited customer service, including no phone support.

9. Personal Capital

Personal Capital

Best for: Roth IRA, plus comprehensive wealth management for larger investors.

Why Personal Capital is a good robo-advisor for Roth IRAs: The advantage Personal Capital offers is the ability to manage all your investment and retirement accounts, including your Roth IRA. You’ll also have access to live financial advisors, a feature not available with most robo-advisors. And if you have a minimum account balance of $200,000 under management, you’ll receive a dedicated financial advisor. And though the advisory fee for Personal Capital is higher than other robo-advisors, it is well below what you would pay for traditional, human-guided investment management.

Personal Capital Basic Features:

  • Minimum Initial Investment: $100,000 for wealth management, otherwise zero for the free financial tools (with no investment management).
  • Available accounts: Individual taxable investment accounts; trusts; traditional, Roth, SEP, and rollover IRAs. Advice—but not management—provided on 401(k) plans.
  • Investment mix: ETFs invested in U.S. and foreign stocks and bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts, energy, and gold. U.S. equities will be held in individual stocks.
  • Fees: 0.89% on portfolios of $100,000 up to $1 million, then a sliding scale down to 0.49% on balances over $10 million.
  • Customer support: Phone or email 24/7, direct access to live financial advisors, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Pacific time.

Personal Capital Pros:

  • Wealth management is comprehensive, providing management of all your accounts.
  • Access to financial advisors for account balances of at least $100,000, and a dedicated financial advisor with at least $200,000.
  • Free financial dashboard provides investment tools and budgeting capabilities for better personal financial management.
  • Your portfolio will be invested in individual stocks to provide greater tax optimization.

Personal Capital Cons:

  • High minimum balance to participate in wealth management.
  • The minimum wealth management fee of 0.89% is several times higher than the robo-advisor average of 0.25%.
  • The interest-bearing cash account has a very low rate of return.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t started a Roth IRA yet, there’s no time better than right now. A Roth IRA is the type of account that will ensure that at least some of your retirement income is completely tax-free. You can open an account with one of the above robo-advisors, some of which won’t even require you to have an upfront investment.

And if you’ve been trying to manage your own Roth IRA account and not having much success, now is also an excellent time to switch your account over to a robo-advisor.

The only thing better than tax-free income in retirement is tax-free income in retirement without the need to manage the account that produces it.

A robo-advisor will do exactly that for you, which is why you need to open one today.

robo advisor IRA
Article written by Kevin Mercadante
Kevin Mercadante is a freelance professional web content writer for hire, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has extensive backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. In fact, it was his career crash-and-burn from the mortgage business in 2008 that led him into blogging and freelance professional web content writing. Kevin and his family live in New Hampshire, after long stints in New Jersey and Georgia.

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