Saving for retirement is a life-long journey. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be in the end. Even still, with a growing number of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, it can be difficult to set aside any extra money for retirement investing. In response, a lot of investment firms are offering a decent chunk of bonus cash to new customers who are ready to start saving.
The terms, conditions, and amounts vary from company to company. However, the end result is the same — you start contributing to your retirement and the investment firm you choose will add a cash bonus to your nest egg. Before we discuss which companies are offering which bonuses, though, let’s go over the basics of a Roth IRA.
What Is a Roth IRA?
The term IRA stands for an Individual Retirement Account. A Roth IRA is a special type of IRA that is tax-advantaged. Unlike a 401(k) plan that your employer might offer which uses pre-taxed income, Roth IRAs are funded with income that you already paid tax on. You pay taxes on money going into your IRA, but those contributions can grow tax free over the years. Even better, if you wait until you’re at least 59 and a half years old to make withdrawals, you won’t have to pay taxes on that source of retirement income.
Roth IRAs have a few rules to follow. You can’t contribute to one if you earn more than $144,000 or $214,000 for married couples filing jointly. You can only $6,000 per year or $7,000 if you’re over 50. Many people use a Roth IRA if they think they will have a higher marginal tax rate in retirement than they do right now. It can also be used as a form of tax diversification, where you pay income tax on some of your retirement income sources, but not others.
E*Trade is offering up to $600 or more as a bonus when you open a new brokerage or retirement account. On top of that, you might be eligible for $0 commission fees.
The “or more” part of the deal is pretty vague, so we looked into the fine print. You can actually get up to $3,500 in free money. However, you need to deposit at least $1.5 million into your new account within 60 days of opening it to receive this top dollar bonus. For most of us, that’s not going to be an option.
On the other hand, this could be a great option for those with old 401(k) or 403(b) accounts from previous jobs. While you might not work for those companies anymore, your money is still sitting there, waiting for you. If you choose to roll it over into a new E*Trade Roth IRA, the deposit amount could net you a nice cash bonus.
This bonus offer from Fidelity is lower, but it’s super easy to qualify for. If you open an eligible Roth IRA account and deposit at least $50, you’ll get $100 more directly from Fidelity. That’s it, really. No hard-to-reach conditions or qualifying requirements. You do have to keep the bonus money in your account for at least 90 days, though. That shouldn’t be an issue if you’re opening a retirement account.
This offer is available on a variety of Fidelity products, including Roth IRA, standard IRA, a Fidelity investment account, or the Fidelity Cash Management Account. You do need to open the account on the Fidelity Starter Pack webpage, though, and use their promo code. If you open the account in person or over the phone, you won’t be eligible.
If you already have a bit of a nest egg saved, but are looking for a more hands-on approach to your portfolio, then consider Ally Invest. They offer cash bonuses for new Self-Directed investment accounts. However, you’ll need at least $10,000 in assets to qualify for even the smallest bonus amount, which is only $100. You’ll get $250 for $25,000-to-$100,000, and gradual increases up to $3,000 if you’re able to roll over more than $2 million.
Ally Invest offers a slick online trading platform, including a mobile app. They also offer commission-free ETF and stock trading. The downsides to Ally Invest are that you need at least $10,000 to qualify for any kind of bonus and this product doesn’t offer professional investing assistance. In short, you better know what you’re doing to opt for this route.
TD Ameritrade’s cash bonus offerings are a lot like Ally Investments. You need a lot of initial assets in order to qualify for the largest bonuses. In fact, you need $250,000 of initial deposits just to qualify for $350. The top offering, though, is $2,500 for initial deposits of $2 million or more.
If you’ve been saving for a long time or were lucky enough to win the lottery, TD Ameritrade is a great choice. Their professionally managed portfolios are backed by one of the most trusted names in finance. You can also earn this account bonus on education accounts and other specialty accounts for trusts, pensions, or business partnerships.
[Editor’s Note: It appears the previous TD Ameritrade offer expired December 31, 2021. We’ve been unable to find information on any updated offers, but it never hurts to ask — especially if you’re moving a quarter-million dollars from one firm to another.)