Rating:  USAA Investments rating

USAA Roth IRA, 401k Rollover, Traditional IRA, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs: fees, commissions, and investment products. Pros and cons of opening an IRA at USAA Investments.


United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a privately owned Texas-based bank founded in 1922 that serves millions of military service-members and their families by offering competitive rates and services ranging from banking, brokerage, to insurance products. In recent years USAA has developed their reputation as a trustworthy and reputable source for investment and retirement services such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA).

There are several IRA types available at USAA, such as SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, but the most common for individuals are Traditional and Roth IRAs. USAA can help you identify which option would apply best to you depending on your goals and financial situation. IRA rules and contribution limits as defined by the IRS apply equally across the entire financial industry but there are ways in which financial institutions can differ greatly from one another in this service: (1) IRA investment options, and (2) the fees they charge their members.

The single-largest advantage you gain by using USAA for your IRA is absence of annual fees for all IRA types. This makes the firm an attractive option, allowing you not to worry about your account balance getting quietly chipped away by the fees.

Opening an IRA at USAA is very simple and takes only a few steps, along with the $500 minimum opening contribution. Money can then be deposited by the individual into the account or there is a feature to set up regular contributions from a checking or other banking account.

USAA IRA Options

The company provides a variety of accounts for an IRA:

USAA Mutual Funds Account – This account can hold up to 50 USAA mutual funds in a variety of fund categories including Equity (primarily growth funds), Index (stock exchange indices), Taxable Bond, Tax-Exempt Bond, Money Market (lower interest, capital preservation funds), Asset Allocation (for one-stop diversification shopping), and Target Retirement Funds (based on your projected retirement date, adjusts the proportions and distribution of your investments across stocks and bonds).

Brokerage Account – You can purchase individual stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs), bonds, and non-USAA mutual funds. Read USAA brokerage review.

USAA Bank CD – A certificate of deposit (CD) is a savings account that holds a set amount of money returned to you with interest after a set period of time. This becomes a low-yielding, yet safe option for your IRA. See current APY rates.

USAA Managed Portfolios – Many investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can be held in this account. A professional asset manager actively manages the account by making the decisions to buy, sell, or hold various investments.

Annuities – An annuity is an insurance investment in which you pay funds now in order to secure a stream of income later, typically during retirement.

USAA Website

On the USAA website members can access a quick five minute calculator to give them a quick idea of where they currently stand financially. There is also a much more in depth retirement planning feature which gives a more detailed look at user's retirement portfolio as well as suggestions on how to meet their financial goals.

USAA IRA Account

The USAA website breaks down an IRA account into easy to read sections located on the left side. There are sections for Positions, Activity, Balances, Order Status, Quotes, and Trading. The Positions tab shows symbols, investments names, quantity of shares owned, current price, and market value. It also lists total return and gains and loses. The Activity tab shows transactions on the account. The Balances tab breaks down into total market value, uncollected funds, available funds, capital gains YTD, dividends YTD, and a list of yearly contributions. Order Status gives the status of pending orders. The Quotes tab provides current quotes for any stocks, options, indices or mutual funds you’re interested in. There is also a feature to help you look up symbols based on a company name or partial name. The trading tab is for placing a trade and allows the user to buy, exchange, or sell any investment.

The website is user friendly and designed with ease of use in mind. For any questions, customer service is only an email or a phone call away and they are always friendly and helpful.

The Bad

There are some disadvantages that are worth mentioning. Common to nearly every investment website are stock and mutual fund screeners, interactive chart data, detailed company information and summaries, as well as interactive retirement and investment calculators. Though USAA have made significant gains to improve these tools in recent years, overall, we would rate their tools and resources as average to slightly below-average.

The stock and mutual fund screeners are simple to use but a little user-unfriendly if trying to make quick modifications or corrections to your search criteria. The interactive charts provide good information but lack the substance for you to gain a quick and concise understanding of the company or product you are examining. It seems all the right content is there for you to use but the overall feel of the resources would be best described as slightly disorganized.

But the most important USAA IRA disadvantage is high commissions charged when buying stocks ($8.95), ETFs ($8.95) or mutual funds ($45). Many competitors, such as TD Ameritrade or Ally Invest, offer much better pricing.

USAA IRA Accounts

The Good

One feature of their stock screener we like the most is the 52-Week Range, which shows you the price range over the last 52 weeks and where the current price is in relation to the high and low price.

Overall, customers are getting an IRA account without hidden or overtly listed annual fees. See all USAA IRA Fees.

USAA does make it very easy to set up automatic investing from client's checking and/or savings account to help create a steady flow of money into IRA. Apart from the investment section of their website, nearly every other aspect of their site is incredibly easy to use and understand.


USAA IRA Review Conclusion

Housing a no-fee IRA with USAA could be a worthwhile move only if you are fairly inactive investor buying mostly mutual funds. For everyone else there are better Brokerage Firms to consider.

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USAA IRA reviewed by TopRatedFirms.com Rating: 3