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Investing, Reviews

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Review 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a robo-advisor option from a trusted online-only financial institution.

It can make managing your money simple: Just answer a few basic questions about your goals and risk tolerance and your funds are invested for you. However, you’ll need a big chunk of change to get started thanks to a high minimum balance requirement. And, while fees are competitive, they aren’t the lowest among other robo-advisors’ offerings.

If you have the $2,500 minimum deposit necessary to open an Ally Invest Managed Portfolio, you don’t mind not getting a bonus for opening the account, and you want to take a hands-off approach to building wealth, Ally Invest may be a good option.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
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The Bottom Line: Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a decent robo-advisor that’s competitive with other managed portfolios online. But its high minimum balance, lack of tax-loss harvesting, and fees that slightly exceed competitors may prompt you to look elsewhere if you’re not already an Ally customer.

  • The minimum deposit to invest in Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is $2,500
  • The management fee is 0.30%, no matter how high your account balance
  • Customer service is available 24/7, but there are no local branches to visit

Who should consider Ally Invest Managed Portfolios?

If you’re looking for a robo-advisor that allows you to build a diversified portfolio without a lot of advanced knowledge about investing, Ally Invest Managed Portfolios has you covered.

You’ll answer a few questions about your age; timeline for investing and risk tolerance; and whether you’re investing for retirement, wealth-building or a big purchase. Then, Ally Invest comes back with a recommended portfolio you can accept or tweak.

You can open a joint, custodial or individual taxable account with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios, or can opt for a traditional IRA, Roth IRA or rollover IRA. Unfortunately, unlike with Ally Invest’s self-directed accounts, there’s no promotion or bonus for transferring funds into a managed portfolio. And, you’ll need quite a bit of money to get started — more than many competitors in the robo-advisor industry require.

Still, if you don’t mind a bigger initial deposit or a lack of physical branches, Ally Invest is a worthy competitor to consider when looking for help managing your money.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios fees and features

Account minimum
  • $2,500
Management fees
  • 0.30%
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $50 full account transfer fee
  • $50 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
Portfolio
  • Ally managed portfolios cover 3 asset classes and 9 major market segments
Automatic rebalancing
Tax loss harvesting
Tax loss harvesting detailNo tax-optimized portfolios are currently offered but Ally plans to roll out tax loss harvesting in 2019.
Offers fractional shares
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android, Windows Phone
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email

Strengths of Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios has some significant advantages worth considering:

  • Investing in a diversified portfolio is easy. You’ll answer basic questions about your investment goals and Ally Invest will suggest a portfolio with an appropriate mix of U.S. and foreign bonds, international and U.S. stocks, and cash. You can also tweak the suggestions Ally Invest Managed Portfolios makes, so you take on more or less risk based on your comfort level.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios offers a full-featured online website. You can view all your accounts with Ally under one login—- although managed and self-directed portfolios are kept separate. And Ally’s online goal tracker makes it easy to monitor progress so you can see how successful you are at hitting investment goals.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios offers automatic portfolio rebalancing. This helps to ensure you remain invested in the right mix of assets if certain investments under- or over-perform.
  • Customer service. Ally Invest offers phone, email, and chat support. Customer service agents are available 24/7 with little or no wait. Agents will do their best to provide answers, although it may take a little time if your questions are technical since you may need to be transferred to an investment advisor.

Drawbacks of Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

You’ll also want to consider the potential downsides of choosing Ally Invest Managed Portfolios.

  • You need a $2,500 minimum deposit to open your account. This is pretty high for a robo-advisor, especially as competitors such as Betterment have no minimum deposit requirements at all. Of course, $2,500 isn’t the highest in the industry either. E-Trade’s Core Portfolios, for example, requires a $5,000 minimum deposit.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios charges fees that are slightly higher than several competitors. You’ll pay .30% for Ally’s robo-advisor service, compared with .25% for Betterment’s digital account or for Wealthfront.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios currently does not offer tax loss harvesting, which involves selling investments at a loss to offset taxable gains. Competitors such as Betterment do offer this feature. However, Ally representatives indicate tax loss harvesting is expected to be rolled out in 2019 and investors with managed portfolios will be able to transition their accounts into a portfolio with tax loss harvesting.
  • No physical branches. If you’d prefer to go into a branch for local customer support, you’ll need to look elsewhere, such as E-Trade, which has more than 30 branches across the country.
  • Mobile apps aren’t very advanced. While Ally Invest allows you to use mobile apps on iPhone and Android phones to access basic account information, the offered apps aren’t as feature-rich as competitors such as Betterment.

Is Ally Invest Managed Portfolios safe?

Whenever you invest your money, there’s a risk you may lose some or all of it. This is no different with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios. The assets your robo-advisor invests you in could decline in value and your portfolio could lose money.

But Ally Invest is as safe as any trusted online brokerage, and there’s little risk of losing assets if the investment firm goes bankrupt. Ally Invest is in compliance with regulatory requirements according to FINRA’s Broker Check tool. Ally Invest is also a member of the FDIC and SIPC, both of which ensure cash in bank and brokerage accounts respectively.

Final thoughts

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a viable choice for investors looking for an easy, hands-off way to invest and seeking responsive customer service. But the $2,500 minimum balance requirement, lack of a promotional offer, higher management fees, and the fact tax loss harvesting isn’t currently offered makes Ally a less-than-ideal option for investors looking for the most affordable way to build a diversified portfolio. If you want a lower-cost option that does offer tax-loss harvesting, consider robo-advisors such as Betterment or Wealthfront.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy |

Christy Rakoczy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Christy here

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Investing, Reviews

T. Rowe Price Review 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

T. Rowe Price has a long history of providing quality investments with reliable performance at a reasonably low cost. The Baltimore-based company is well-known for its variety of proprietary no-load, actively managed mutual funds, managing more than $1 trillion for individual and institutional investors, primarily in the U.S.

Among the most popular offerings are T. Rowe Price’s target-date funds, which are managed for growth or preservation, depending on your retirement timeline. T. Rowe Price also manages workplace 401(k) plans for corporate employers. Overall, about two-thirds of assets under management are in retirement-based accounts.

T. Rowe Price also offers discount brokerage services, with a simplified trading platform for self-directed investors. Investors can access a wide range of investment types, including competitor no-load mutual funds, no-fee exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, bonds, options and more.

T. Rowe Price
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The bottom line: With a stable history, sizable assets under management and a disciplined approach to mutual fund investing, T. Rowe Price is an investment powerhouse with much to offer buy-and-hold investors.

  • Wide selection of low-cost, actively managed funds
  • Retirement modeling and planning tools
  • Fees and account minimums that are more suitable for buy-and-hold and mutual fund investing

Who should consider T. Rowe Price

Whether you should consider T. Rowe Price as a broker depends largely on the type of services you seek. If you are an investor who likes the idea of outperforming the stock market without having to select the individual investments, then investing through a T. Rowe Price fund is worth considering. Over a 10-year period ending on Sept. 30, 2018, more than 90% of the company’s stock funds outperformed their Lipper averages based on cumulative return. If you invest in an a T. Rowe Price actively managed fund directly, you can cut out the broker fee.

Investors who are looking to trade stocks on a regular basis or dabble in more speculative markets probably should look elsewhere. While T. Rowe Price does offer an online brokerage, high trading costs and minimum balances make it ill-suited to both new investors and frequent traders. Timely, in-depth stock analysis is not part of the company’s offerings. And while they’re easy to use, the site’s tools are not designed to give active traders an edge.

T. Rowe Price fees and features

Stock trading fees
  • $19.95 per trade
  • $9.95 per trade (30+ trades per year or more than $250,000 deposited with T. Rowe Price)
Account minimum
  • $2,500
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $30 per year for brokerage accounts, waived for accounts with a balance over $100,000; $20 per year for mutual fund accounts with a balance below $10,000
  • $50 full account transfer fee
  • $50 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • 529 Plan
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • Custodial IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • Solo 401k (for small businesses)
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android
Customer supportPhone, Email
Research resources
  • Mutual fund reports

Strengths of T. Rowe Price

  • Consistent active management: T. Rowe Price’s actively managed funds have been standouts for decades. As of November 2018, more than 70 T. Rowe Price funds had four- or five-star ratings from Morningstar based on risk-adjusted returns.
  • Low-cost mutual funds and ETFs: If Vanguard is known for being the low-cost index fund giant, T. Rowe Price is known for being the low-cost active management giant. T. Rowe Price offers thousands of no-load mutual funds, and more than 80% of the company’s funds for individual investors charge less than the Lipper average for their categories.
  • Products, services and tools for long-term planners: Need help building a portfolio for retirement? T. Rowe can get you started with access to a portfolio-building tool as well as a simulator called FuturePath, which can help you calculate your odds of long-term success.

It also offers robo-advisor services through its ActivePlus Portfolios, along with Private Asset Management and Select Client Services for clients with a higher net worth. T. Rowe Price even offers a top-rated 529 college savings plan, according to a November 2018 analysis from Savingforcollege.com.

Drawbacks of T. Rowe Price

  • High trading costs: If you’re investing directly in T. Rowe Price funds, you can save a bit by cutting out the brokerage middleman. Investing in other funds through T. Rowe Price’s brokerage, however, will run you about $35 per trade. Trading stocks or ETFs will cost you $9.95 or $19.95 per trade, depending on the number of executed trades in the prior 12 months or your account balance. These costs can eat into investment performance, and they seem particularly steep compared to trades as low as $4.95 offered by Fidelity and Schwab.
  • Steep account minimums: You’ll need at least $1,000 if you want to invest in a mutual fund through an individual retirement account (IRA). Otherwise, it takes a minimum of $2,500 to invest with T. Rowe Price in a taxable account.
  • Added fees: Once you have an account, you’ll also pay a $20 annual fee for a mutual fund account and $30 annually for a brokerage account. You can bypass these fees if you’ve made 30 or more trades in the past 12 months, hold more than $50,000 in T. Rowe Price mutual funds or qualify for Select Client Services (which requires a minimum of $250,000 invested). You also may pay an additional amount when an account is closed.

Is T. Rowe Price safe?

Over the company’s 80-plus-year history, it has built a reputation of stability, straightforwardness and character, and it has been named among the world’s most admired companies by Fortune. T. Rowe Price portfolio managers spend an average of 16 years with the company, almost unheard of in the churn-and-burn world of finance.

T. Rowe Price is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which monitors broker activity, and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects investor assets up to $500,000 should the brokerage fail (although this does not cover losses from market fluctuation). For all client accounts, the company has protection on an aggregate loss limit of $1 billion and a per-client loss limit of $1.9 million for cash awaiting reinvestment.
The company protects customers online by using a two-factor authentication process for login on both desktop and mobile and provides industry standard secure encryption within your account.

Final thoughts

If your goal is sophisticated, high-speed trading without a lot of hand-holding, there are less expensive options that may be more suited to your needs. As of the date of publishing, stock trading is just $4.95 at large competitor firms Fidelity and Schwab, and Ally Invest is offering $3.95 trades for active investors, and you can trade no-load funds there for $9.95. But if your chest of tools includes risk-adjusted mutual fund investing, T. Rowe Price funds can offer benchmark-beating, long-term track records at a reasonably low cost.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Melissa Phipps
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Melissa Phipps is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Melissa here

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Investing, Reviews

Firstrade Review 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Firstrade is an online-only broker that offers the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and options at no cost. While its customer service features and trading platform aren’t as robust as some competitor offerings, the commission-free trades and $0 minimum balance make Firstrade a sound choice if you’re looking to invest at rock-bottom prices.

Firstrade also offers a wide variety of accounts, including different types of IRAs as well as joint and individual taxable accounts, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, and custodial accounts. Plus, you have access to Morningstar stock reports, among other helpful research tools, so you can get the support you need to pick investments.

All of this means that when you invest with Firstrade, you’ll have the flexibility to choose the account you need and invest your money in a wide mix of assets to build a diversified portfolio at a low cost.

Firstrade
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The bottom line: Firstrade is an affordable online broker with solid research tools, but some competitors offer more feature-rich trading platforms.

  • $0 minimum deposit requirement
  • No commissions on stocks, options, ETFs and mutual funds
  • Simple trading platform without a lot of bells and whistles
  • Helpful research tools, including access to Morningstar stock reports

Who should consider Firstrade?

If you want to manage your own investments and pay the minimum amount possible to trade securities, Firstrade is an ideal choice.

While many competitors charge $3.95 or more to trade stocks and offer only a limited number of commission-free ETFs or no-load mutual funds, Firstrade charges no commissions on stocks or ETFs. You also can trade mutual funds at no cost as long as you don’t incur a $19.95 short-term redemption fee that’s assessed if you sell the fund less than 90 days after purchase.

Firstrade doesn’t offer a robo-advisor option, however, so you’ll need to be hands-on with your investments. And the trading platform isn’t nearly as feature-rich as some competitor offerings, especially compared to brokers such as TradeStation and TD Ameritrade. If you want the most comprehensive web and mobile apps for trading, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Firstrade fees and features

Current promotions

Firstrade offers up to $200 in rebates for transfer fees when you switch from a different broker.

Stock trading fees
  • $0 per trade
Account minimum
  • $0
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $75 full account transfer fee
  • $55 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account(ESA)
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email
Research resources
  • Mutual fund reports

Strengths of Firstrade

  • Firstrade is one of the most affordable choices among online brokers. There’s no minimum deposit required, and you’ll pay no commissions to trade most investments, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and options. Competitors typically charge for trades on all but a limited number of commission-free ETFs and no-load mutual funds.
  • Firstrade offers helpful research tools. These include Morningstar stock reports, video commentary from analysts, and a Market Heatmap to provide a broad overview of the market so you can spot trends at a glance. Screening tools also can help you narrow down which investments are best to add to your portfolio.
  • If you incur a fee to transfer funds to Firstrade, you could be eligible for a rebate. Firstrade offers up to $200 in rebates for transfer fees when you switch from another broker and up to $25 in rebates for wire transfer fees when your wire is $25,000 or more. This can help defray the cost of switching from another brokerage firm.

Drawbacks of Firstrade

  • Its customer service isn’t on par with many competitor offerings. Many brokers have local branches — E-Trade offers more than 30 — but Firstrade has none. Plus, Firstrade’s online chat is nowhere near as helpful as the chat options many of its competitors offer. Firstrade provides only automated answers via its online chat, which often aren’t responsive to questions. If you’re looking for answers to specific queries, the online chat simply will provide you with a link to email Firstrade. Competitors such as Ally connect you with a real person via online chat who actually provides answers, even to complicated questions.
  • Its trading platform isn’t as full-featured as competitor platforms. While Firstrade allows you to trade directly from your account dashboard, its trading platform doesn’t provide the same level of control competitors such as TradeStation offer.
  • There’s no robo-advising option. Many competitors offer the option to have your funds managed by a robo-advisor for a small fee. Robo-advising options such as E-Trade’s Core Portfolios and Ally Invest’s Managed Portfolios provide a more hands-off way to diversify your investments.

Is Firstrade safe?

Firstrade is an established investment firm that FINRA’s BrokerCheck confirms is in compliance with regulatory requirements. It also is an SIPC member, which means investors are insured against losses that might occur if Firstrade experiences financial trouble and can’t repay invested funds.

However, when you buy investments in your Firstrade account, including stocks, ETFs and mutual funds, these investments come with inherent risks. You could lose money by investing your assets, and you should understand that investments don’t always perform as expected.

Final thoughts

If you don’t have a ton of money to start investing and are looking for a brokerage with no minimum balance requirements and no fees to buy assets, Firstrade is a solid option. But if you want more advanced trading tools, competitors such as TradeStation may a better choice. If you’d prefer a robo-advisor option, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy |

Christy Rakoczy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Christy here

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