Fidelity IRA: What to Expect From Your Account

By Jordan Wathen Markets Fool.com

Fidelity isn't just for mutual funds any more. As an online discount broker, Fidelity offers investors the ability to invest in stocks, options, mutual funds and ETFs, all with a few clicks of the mouse. Naturally, it's a common stop for investors who want to open an IRA account to start saving and investing for retirement.

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Let's look at how Fidelity's IRA brokerage accounts work, and what it has to offer the long-term investor.

Commission prices by investment

Fidelity is a discount brokerage is true form, offering most stock, ETF, option, and mutual fund trades for less than $10 each. Its standard commission prices are as follows.

Stocks and ETFs

Stock Options

Mutual Funds

$7.95 per trade

$7.95 + $0.75 per contract

$49.95 per purchase

Data source: company website.

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Not all trades cost money, however. Fidelity offers a vast selection of mutual funds and ETFs that you can trade without paying a dime in commissions or transaction fees. New customers can also earn lucrative bonuses for opening a new account. Learn more about special offers for IRAs and see if you quality.

Mutual fund selection and commission-free choices

Fidelity's mutual fund and ETF selection is vast, offering more than 3,800 mutual funds and ETFs can be purchased without paying a commission or transaction fee. These commission-free ETFs and no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds are especially advantageous to investors who plan to make funds a core part of their IRA.

Total Mutual Funds

No-Load, No-Transaction-Fee Funds (NTF)

Commission-Free ETFs

11,500+

3,600+

91 (Fidelity and iShares)

Data source: company.

Naturally, Fidelity is a great place to open an IRA if you want to invest in Fidelity-branded mutual funds or ETFs, which are both available in fee-free formats to IRA investors.

Minimum deposit requirement for IRAs

Fidelity doesn't require a minimum deposit to open an IRA. However, many of its own Fidelity-branded mutual funds have $2,500 minimum deposit requirements, so you'll need to make an appropriately sized deposit if you plan on using its mutual funds.

Minimum in investments in individual stocks and ETFs are much lower. If you can afford a single share and cover the commission, you can make your first investment.

Fidelity's brokerage accounts enable investors to buy more than just mutual funds. Image source: Getty Images.

International stocks and ADR investments

Fidelity is one of just a few brokers that allow investors to trade foreign stocks listed on international markets. This table summarizes its clients' access to foreign company investments:

Type of Investment

Availability

American depositary receipts (ADRs)

Yes

Stocks traded on international stock markets

Yes (25 countries)

Mutual funds and ETFs of foreign stocks

Yes

Data source: company.

Fidelity makes it possible to invest in everything from ADRs to companies listed on international stock markets in faraway places such as Finland or South Africa. As with most brokers, you should expect to pay a higher commission to buy stocks on foreign stock exchanges. As is industry standard, Fidelity's commissions for international orders vary by the exchange.

IRA fees: maintenance and inactivity fees

Fidelity doesn't charge a maintenance or inactivity fee simply for having common types of accounts such as Roth or traditional IRAs. However, employer-sponsored SIMPLE IRAs are assessed a fee of $25 per year.

Mobile app reviews

Fidelity makes it possible to trade from anywhere with mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, and users seem to love it. Here's how its users and customers rated its app, as of Jan. 18, 2017:

Apple App Store

Google Play

4.5 stars

4.5 stars

Data source: relevant app stores.

Research tools

You'll find that Fidelity has a lot to offer when it comes to investment research. The company offers upgrades and downgrades from more than 100 research firms, reports from several third-party research providers, plus daily market reports from S&P.

Its retirement tools can help you manage your portfolio to meet your specific needs. Fidelity's Income Strategy Evaluator can help you create a portfolio that will generate enough income in retirement. Its Planning & Guidance Center allows you to score your current portfolio to see if you're on the right track.

We've just scratched the surface of what the brokerage has to offer. Depending on how you invest, you should be able to find plenty to like about Fidelity's research and retirement planning tools.

Is a Fidelity IRA right for you?

Fidelity has a lot that individual investors should like in an IRA. It offers no-fee IRAs, copious research functionality and retirement tools, plus wide access to international markets and no-minimum account sizes. And while it offers a lot of commission-free funds, its commission prices on trades outside the fee-free list (stocks and stock options) may be less expensive elsewhere.

To be clear, The Motley Fool does not endorse any particular brokerage, but we can help you find one that is a good fit for you. Check out Fool.com's IRA Center to compare brokerages on special offers, commission prices, and more, all on one page.

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