ally roth ira review Ally Invest rating

Ally ROTH and Traditional IRA Accounts Review For 2023


Overview of Retirement Accounts at Ally Bank


Did you know that Ally Bank operates a brokerage firm called Ally Invest? And did you know the broker offers Individual Retirement Accounts? If you’re thinking about opening a retirement account, you really should consider Ally. It has several strengths in the IRA department, but we also found some weaknesses. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the pros and cons of retirement planning at Ally Invest, so pay attention.


IRA Types at Ally Invest


Ally Invest offers Roth, Traditional, SEP, Custodial, and SIMPLE IRA’s. We did not find an Inherited account. An old employer’s retirement plan can be transferred into any of the broker’s available IRA’s.

Ally Invest imposes no annual fee, low balance charge, or other recurring fees for IRA’s. The brokerage firm does charge $25 to close a retirement account. Transferring one out of Ally incurs an additional $50 fee, for a total of $75.


How to Open an IRA at Ally Invest


If you find an IRA you like, it’s pretty easy to open it. Just click on their promotion link: Get $0 commissions and $75 transfer fee credit for moving to Ally Invest. You’ll be given two choices: self-directed trading and Robo Portfolios. The first option means you will make all trading decisions, while the second might or might nor carry an asset-based fee for the broker’s robo advisor (more on that later).

If you choose the self-directed option, you’ll need to supply your vital data if you don’t yet have an account with Ally. If you choose the managed portfolio option, you’ll first need to fill out an investment profile.


Ally IRA Fees


ETFs


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Ally's ETF section is very similar to the mutual fund page. It uses the same layout and has the same information on sector and geographic funds. Pre-defined lists are available, and so are Lipper ratings.


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The ETF screener is robust with many search criteria. These include fund family, net assets, return history, 52-week low, inception date, and dividend yield. Also available is fund classification, which is apparently Morningstar category. We were able to select basic materials, California municipal debt, large-cap growth, and short US Treasury.

The exchange-traded and mutual fund screeners could be better designed. We missed the useful menu on the left-hand side that many brokers incorporate. Nevertheless, we were able to sort through funds and arrive at an ETFs profile page without difficulty.

Here, too, we found the same basic layout that mutual funds have. We were hoping for more information, however. One feature that a mutual fund doesn't have is an options summary that shows open interest and volume for each ETF. It's also possible to trade options straight from an ETFs profile page.

Ally offers all ETFs commission-free.


Online Investing IRAs


Ally IRA Rating

Speaking of retirement, Ally Invest does offer a variety of Individual Retirement Accounts. Roth, Traditional, Rollover, SIMPLE, and SEP plans are available. The Coverdell education savings account is also provided.

There is no fee to maintain or open an IRA at Ally Invest. However, the brokerage firm does charge $25 to close an IRA. If you transfer an IRA to another firm, the charge will go up to $75 (there is a $50 transfer fee).

If you prefer to keep your retirement assets as safe as possible, Ally Bank offers IRAs, and you can link the account to your Ally Invest account.

We were not able to find a dedicated phone number for retirement specialists at Ally Invest. Perhaps the broker-dealer doesn't have any. Moreover, the website has very limited information on retirement planning.


Open Ally Invest IRA


Get $0 commissions and $75 transfer fee credit for moving to Ally Invest.

Open Ally Invest Account


Trading Tools


Ally Trading Tools Rating

For the actual buying and selling of securities, Ally Invest offers two possibilities on a desktop or laptop. First is the standard website, and it's pretty basic. On a security's profile page, there are buy and sell buttons. Clicking on one of these produces an order form. It's not overly sophisticated. The order page shows the amount in your account for trading along with a current quote for the security. The info can be refreshed and includes such data points as volume, change from previous trading day, and the bid-ask spread. We were disappointed in the number of order types; there were just stop, stop limit, and market on close besides the standard market and limit orders. Only a day order was possible during our investigation.


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If you're not impressed with the website, and most traders won't be, you can take a tour of Ally Invest LIVE. This is the company's browser-based trading platform. While it's not a sophisticated desktop platform, it does have the feel of a trading environment. We liked LIVE's interface much better than the rather bland website.

Inside of LIVE you'll find many helpful features, such as market indices from around the world, financial news, and a funds transfer tool. Information is arranged in tiles. Clicking on a tile will generate a new page, such as a documents page where you can download statements and other forms.

Besides stocks and ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and options can also be traded on LIVE. Mutual funds can be traded in dollars or shares, a nice feature.


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Charting is available on both LIVE and the website. A chart for IBM on the website went back to 1980, whereas on LIVE it only extended back to 2001. LIVE offers more technical studies, however, and provides the only method to display a graph full screen.


Mobile App


Ally App Rating

Although Ally Invest's performance in the technology category was rather uninspiring, it does have a mobile app that is worth taking a look at. It functions on both Apple and Android devices, and this includes tablets.

The app is the same app that Ally Bank offers, and it has the same interface. On the website, the brokerage side has a different interface. For both the website and mobile app, the login is the same.


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When you tap on your brokerage account inside the app, you'll immediately see the holdings in your portfolio. At the bottom of the screen is a row of icons for a many functions. The trade ticket provides the ability to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and options. Unfortunately, mutual funds aren't on the list here.

Missing on Ally Invest's mobile platform is streaming financial news, although indices are shown. News articles concerning specific stocks are available, and the day's market movers are displayed. There is no market news.

A chart on Ally's mobile app can be rotated horizontally for better viewing. Technical indicators can be shown on top of a graph or below it. There are four chart styles, although we didn't find any method to adjust colors.


Cash Management


Ally Cash Management Rating

Since Ally operates a large bank, you may think that Ally Invest would have great cash management features. If you thought that, you would be very wrong. Actually, Ally Invest's banking features are pretty awful. You can attach a debit card to your brokerage account for $35 per year if you have $100,000 in assets. Adding checks costs $20 annually, and you have to have the same level of assets to apply for this. Moreover, writing a check costs $5. If you use your debit card at an ATM, there is a $1 ding. Ally Invest doesn't reimburse any ATM surcharges.

Although these numbers are pretty atrocious, the broker's parent company, Ally Bank, offers great policies and fees; and a deposit account can be very easily linked to an investment account. Ally's savings account currently pays 2,1% (!) - one of the highest rate in the industry. With such a significant difference between the two branches, perhaps Ally Invest should just scrap its cash management tools and send its customers to Ally Bank.


Financial Education and Stock Research


Ally Research Rating

The Ally Invest site has brief materials devoted to investment education. These are mostly articles that address investment vehicles such as bonds, options, and mutual funds. There are also articles from Ally Bank on general financial issues, such as estate planning, taxes, and car shopping.


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Besides articles, Ally Invest has recently added more videos to its library. These are Ally Invest videos rather than older TradeKing videos. They seem to focus mostly on options trading.

Because Ally Invest offers currency trading, there are also a few resources that cover forex as well. Resources can be sorted by experience level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) or by security type.

Live online events are held occasionally by Ally Invest. You have to register for these, although they are free of charge. We found webinars on stocks, options, and market movements.


Ally ROTH IRA Review Summary


Ally has become a major player in the online investing industry virtually overnight by buying TradeKing. The brokerage's trading environment has an easy-to-use look and feel. Ally has made the old broker's pricing schedule even more attractive, and the Ally brand attracts a lot of attention of many banking customers; investors looking for a bargain pricing as well as option, bond, and forex traders.


Open Ally Invest IRA


Get $0 commissions and $75 transfer fee credit for moving to Ally Invest.

Open Ally Invest Account