Merrill Edge IRA Review


Merrill Edge Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover, SEP, Simple IRA (individual retirement accounts) review, promotion offer, rating, fees and commissions. Is Merrill Edge IRA good and safe way to invest?



Merrill Edge IRA Commissions
ProductPricing
Stocks and ETFs $6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
Options $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $19.95
Merrill Edge self-directed mutual funds 0.75% gross proceeds, $50 minimum, $250 maximum
Bonds On a net yield basis


Merrill Edge IRA Accounts Offered
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA


Merrill Edge IRA Fees

  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • IRA termination fee: $49.95
  • Mutual funds short-term redemption fee if held less than 90 days: $39.95


Merrill Edge IRA Overview

Investors who want to start building a nest egg for retirement should check out the IRA's available at Merrill Edge. With good educational tools and professional investment advice, this broker has a lot to offer retirement savers.


Individual Retirement Accounts

Merrill Edge offers Traditional, Roth, Rollover, SEP, and SIMPLE accounts. The Traditional IRA is ideal for investors who plan to be in a lower tax bracket during retirement. The Roth is the opposite of that. The Rollover IRA is perfect for savers who have old 403(b) and 401(k) plans that they would like to consolidate into one IRA. The SEP and SIMPLE varieties are designed for self-employed person and small businesses.


Merrill Edge ROTH IRA Review


An IRA with the broker carries no annual fee. There is also no fee to setup the account, and there is no low balance fee, either. Closing out or transferring a Merrill Edge IRA does carry a $49.95 charge. Statements are in electronic format by default. Paper statements are $5 each.


IRA Education

Investors will find a wealth of investment education on the Merrill Edge website, much of it relevant to retirement planning. Videos and webinars cover a variety of topics, such as how not to outlive a retirement account, utilizing Social Security with a personal retirement account, and retirement for Millennials. Articles discuss several topics, including the number of retirement accounts you should have, when to start taking Social Security, the advantages and disadvantages of converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth, and IRA distributions.


Merrill Edge IRA Review


The broker also has good articles on estate planning. These address important issues, such as passing IRA assets to heirs, giving children an early inheritance, creating a trust, and multigenerational IRA's. There is also an estate planning checklist on the Merrill Edge site.


IRA Tools

Several good retirement calculators are available on the broker's website. First, there is an IRA selector tool. This handy device leads users step-by-step through a questionnaire to help decide whether a Roth or a Traditional would be a better choice. There is also a required minimum distribution calculator. The tool asks for several pieces of information, such as account balance, date of birth, and expected rate of return. It then calculates the amount that is required under IRS guidelines to be withdrawn from the account.

Another calculator looks at the results of converting a 401(k) plan to an IRA. Users input data such as account balance, federal tax on early withdrawals, and state income tax rate. The tool then shows the results of converting to an IRA, such as total taxes paid and the remaining balance, and compares the results to simply taking a lump sum payment.


Merrill Edge ROTH IRA Review


A cash distribution calculator determines the penalty for taking an early withdrawal from an IRA. The tool shows a pie chart of the resulting account value. Also shown is a graph of the results of not taking the early withdrawal.

The Merrill Edge Retirement Evaluator analyzes an IRA and any regular payments to the account. It takes into consideration Social Security payments, life expectancy, and age at retirement. It then determines how much money will be needed monthly for retirement, and calculates the budget shortfall, if any.


Merrill Edge IRA Reviews


Funds

Merrill Edge customers can trade over 3,900 mutual funds. Over 800 of these are no-load, no-transaction-fee products. Mutual funds that aren't transaction free cost $19.95 per transaction.

Target date mutual funds are available with the broker. These products were created for retirement savers. Each fund has a certain date, such as 2040, that is the target date. This is the time when retirement is expected to begin. The fund automatically becomes less risky as the target date approaches by selling equities and buying bonds.


Comparison

E*Trade (E*trade IRA review) offers ten different IRA types, more than Merrill Edge's five. E*Trade also offers a list of more than 100 ETF's that are free to trade. Many of these products have expense ratios below 0.50% and have investment goals that are ideal for retirement savers, such as dividend funds. Unfortunately, Merrill Edge doesn't offer any exchange-traded funds that are free to trade.

TD Ameritrade (TD Ameritrade IRA review) charges no fees to close an IRA. The broker also has more mutual funds than Merrill Edge, offering over 11,000 funds in total. Nearly 2,000 of these carry no load and no transaction fee. Furthermore, TDA has a list of 296 ETF's that are commission free. Fund investors would do better at TD Ameritrade.

Firstrade IRA's come with no on-going fees like Merrill Edge. However, Firstrade has fewer educational and research tools than Merrill has. Firstrade also offers no professional investment advice to clients who need it. Merrill Edge, on the other hand, has a network of financial advisors located in select Bank of America branches. While there is a fee for this service, it may benefit some retirement savers who are looking for some help in their retirement planning.


Conclusion

Merrill Edge has great tools and educational materials for IRA's. Customers who want paper statements, lower commissions, or a larger selection of funds would do better elsewhere.


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Article was updated on 1/30/2017.




Merrill Edge reviewed by IRA-Reviews.com on . Rating: 3
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