WellsTrade brokerage firm rating

Wells Fargo IRA Review, Rates, & ROTH IRA Fees 2024


Wells Fargo IRA review: 401k Rollover\ROTH\Traditional IRA, Simple\SEP IRA fees, CDs\savings accounts. Wells Fargo IRA fees, APY/APR rates. Is Wells Fargo IRA good and safe way to invest?

Wells Fargo IRA Review

Besides taxable brokerage accounts, WellsTrade and Wells Fargo Advisors offer tax-advantaged accounts, including the Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Read on for the details.

Individual Retirement Accounts at WellsTrade

WellsTrade is Wells Fargo’s low-cost online brokerage firm. This division of the company offers both Traditional and Roth IRAs. Contributions to the Traditional account are generally tax deductible, but withdrawals will be taxed. The Roth is the opposite: contributions aren’t deductible, but withdrawals are tax-free (if done properly). There are no other IRA choices at WellsTrade, so one of these two will have to suffice.

The good news is that a Qualified Retirement Plan (QRP) from a former employer can be rolled over into either IRA type at WellsTrade. There are several QRPs out there that will work, such as 401k and 403b plans. This option obviously creates the opportunity to move a large sum of money into the IRA above and beyond the standard annual contribution limit (currently, $6,500).

Once the IRA is open and funded, it will be subject to an annual fee of $35. However, this yearly charge is avoidable through one of several methods. The easiest is to sign up for electronic delivery of account documents. Some Wells Fargo Private Bank customers can also have it waived.

In addition to the annual fee, WellsTrade also has a $49.95 IRA closeout fee. This one cannot be avoided.

While the WellsTrade IRA is open, it will have access to the same asset lineup as taxable brokerage accounts with the firm. These products include stocks, bonds, options, and funds (mutual, exchange-traded, and closed-end).

There are target-date mutual funds available at WellsTrade. These are funds intended for retirement planning. During our investigation in our WellsTrade account, we found 31 of these funds from 3 fund families: Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, and American Funds.

WellsTrade applies its usual commission schedule on retirement accounts. This means most equity trades will be $0. Some mutual funds will have a load or transaction fee. The 31 lifecycle mutual funds mentioned above have no load, although the Vanguard funds do carry a $35 transaction fee at WellsTrade.

Placing a mutual fund order over the phone with the assistance of a live broker costs nothing extra. This is a nice savings as doing the same for an equity tacks on an extra $25.


Wells Fargo Advisors IRA

Everything at WellsTrade is completely self-directed. Investors who need some assistance managing their money may want to consider Wells Fargo Advisors. This is a higher-cost alternative, but it comes with investment advisors who can provide assistance and even make trading decisions. IRAs are available through this channel.


Wells Fargo IRA Review


The first option is Intuitive Investor. This is the company’s automated-investing service. A software program makes all trading decisions in the account, and human financial planners are available by phone to answer any questions.

A robo IRA is available in more IRA types. Besides Roth and Traditional, the lineup also includes an Inherited IRA and a SEP IRA. The last option is a retirement account designed for small businesses.

Intuitive Investor also has one more important feature to note: an annual fee of 0.35%. This pays for the ongoing account management that the digital advisor performs. It also pays for the phone calls with human financial advisors.

Retirement savers who aren’t comfortable accepting trading decisions from a software program can opt for Wells Fargo’s traditional advisory program. A self-directed (brokerage) or investment-advisory (managed) account can be opened at a local Wells Fargo Advisors office. Either option comes with a dedicated financial planner, who can provide advice and trading decisions, if needed.

This old-school program also comes with one more IRA type: the SIMPLE IRA, which, like the SEP plan, is intended for small businesses.

The traditional setup with an investment advisor representative will have its own unique fee schedule, which can vary as there are multiple programs available, including both discretionary and non-discretionary advisory accounts.

An IRA of any type (other than a robo account) opened through Wells Fargo Advisors will have a $125 annual fee and a $125 termination fee. The robo IRA has a $49.95 closeout fee.

Self-directed IRAs through the full-service channel will pay commissions on virtually all trades. The standard equity commission is priced as a percentage of trade value and ranges from 3.9% (for a trade under $5k) down to 0.1% (for a trade over $50m). There is a $55 minimum commission on every trade.


Wellstrade IRA


Full-service investment-advisory IRAs will pay a percent of assets under management. Typically, this will be around 2.0%.

A robo IRA has a $500 minimum deposit requirement. An IRA opened as a full-service account could have a minimum account value, depending on the exact setup chosen.


Wells Fargo Bank IRA

Wells Fargo Bank is not currently opening new IRAs for bank customers. Legacy accounts that were opened previously can still be held on the banking side of the company.


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Retirement Resources

The Wells Fargo website hosts a great deal of resources that will be of interest to IRA account holders. First is a collection of articles that focus on retirement topics. For example, we found:

- Using annuities in retirement planning
- 6 steps toward your retirement goals
- Managing your income in retirement

Then there is the IRA Center. This page hosts information specific to IRAs. Examples include:

- IRA comparison and eligibility
- Required minimum distributions (RMDs) FAQs
- IRA potential savings calculator

The calculator takes a variety of inputs like current IRA balance and future contribution amounts, and then the tool estimates the value of the IRA at the point of retirement.


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Wells Fargo also publishes a great deal of market research, which will be accessible inside the website once the investment account is open. Resources are under the Research tab that appears in the top menu. They will be especially helpful for self-directed accounts.


Opening an IRA

It’s really easy to open an IRA at Wells Fargo. An Intuitive Investor or WellsTrade account can be opened online. The former type does require a questionnaire to be filled out, and this will take about 10 to 15 minutes.


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An IRA opened through Wells Fargo Advisors must be opened through a local financial planner (other than an Intuitive Investor account). It’s really easy to find one using Wells Fargo’s branch locator tool. If you’re not sure where to begin, there is download form that can be filled out to receive a free download that contains more information on the company’s full-service advisory system.

Find a Financial Advisor

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Wells Fargo IRA Recap

Wells Fargo offers multiple IRA versions through several investment channels with the company. Although we don’t like its IRA closeout and annual fees, the latter can be avoided in some cases. In any case, the price paid may be worth it, especially for novice investors who need help planning for retirement.


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