Advertiser Disclosure

Investing

Find the Best Retirement Plan for You

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Saving for retirement seems like a relatively straightforward goal: You know you’ll need money later — so you should save for it now, right? According to a recent Gallup poll, 46% of those not yet retired don’t believe they’ll be financially comfortable when they retire. That means almost half the population wish they were saving more! Part of saving money is knowing where to keep it — and that’s a crowded marketplace! Plus, you also have to consider that you can use more than one retirement account — either throughout your lifetime or at the same time. For instance, you might start out contributing to a Roth 401(k) and move to a 401(k) as your income grows. Or, if you’re a freelancer, you might have a SEP IRA and a Roth IRA at the same time. Anyone with a high deductible health plan can also save to an HSA.

If you’re not sure what retirement plan will get you to the finish line, read on for guidance.

Find the best retirement plans for you. (You’ll find a detailed description of each plan below.)

If you areConsider this
A young worker with modest incomeRoth 401(k)
Eligible for an employer-sponsored plan401(k), Roth 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)
Not covered by an employer-sponsored plan and not self-employedTraditional IRA
Making a modified adjusted gross income of under $137,000 if single or under $203,000 if married and filing jointly (2019)Roth IRA
A freelancer with no employeesSEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA or Solo 401(k)
Nearing retirement age401(k)*, Roth 401(k), HSA
Covered by a high deductible health planHSA
*or 403(b) or 457(b)

401(k) or 403(b)

  • Best for: Any worker whose employer offers a retirement savings account.
  • Contribution limits: $19,000 per year for 2019 if you’re under 50; $25,000 if you’re 50 or older.
  • How it’s taxed: The money goes in pre-tax and you’re taxed on distributions in retirement.

What else you need to know: With a 401(k) or 403(b), you elect to save a certain percentage of your income each year and the money comes out of your paycheck (pre-tax). Many employers offer to match contributions. For example, they might match the first 6% you save at 50%, meaning they’ll contribute 3%. A 401(k) or 403(b) is one of the best and easiest ways to save for retirement since the money gets saved automatically.

457(b)

  • Best for: Any government worker whose employer offers a retirement savings account.
  • Contribution limits: $19,000 per year in 2019 if you’re under 50; $25,000 if you’re 50 or older.
  • How it’s taxed: The money goes in pre-tax and you’re taxed on distributions in retirement.

What else you need to know:
This account works a lot like a 401(k) or 403(b), but it’s specific to state and local government workers. One major difference is that if employers match, their contributions count toward the limit on the plan. Another notable difference is that some plans allow employees to make extra contributions beginning three years before the “normal retirement age,” which is detailed in the plan. The formula used to compute the catch-up amount can be complicated, and some plan administrators simply don’t offer the option.

HSA

  • Best for: Anyone with a high-deductible health plan.
  • Contribution limits: Up to $3,500 per year in 2019 for an individual and $7,000 for a family if you’re under 55. Up to $4,500 for an individual and $8,000 for a family if you’re 55 and older.
  • How it’s taxed: Contributions go into the account pre-tax and if the money is used for eligible medical expenses, distributions are tax-free.

What else you need to know:
If your healthcare is covered by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you’re eligible to use a Health Savings Account. The money you save to an HSA is tax-free on both sides (contribution and distribution) as long as it’s used for eligible medical expenses, such as co-pays, prescriptions and other medical bills. The money rolls over each year, so there’s no time limit on using the funds you’ve saved. You can contribute to an HSA at any point up to your tax filing deadline for that tax year.

“Most people aren’t going to itemize their deductions anymore, so they’re not going to get any kind of write-off for medical expenses until they get to a very high level,” said Linda Farinola, a financial planner in Princeton, N.J. “The change in the tax law makes HSAs more attractive.”

Roth 401(k)

  • Best for: Young workers making a more modest income and older workers with a sizable pre-tax retirement nest egg.
  • Contribution limits: $19,000 per year in 2019 if you’re under age 50; $25,000 if you’re 50 or older.
  • How it’s taxed: Your contributions are post-tax, but distributions in retirement are tax free as long as you’re 59 and a half and the funds have been in the account for five years or more.

What else you need to know:
Unlike a Roth IRA, there’s no income cap on who can contribute to a Roth 401(k). The advantage of a Roth 401(k) is that you can save more than three times the allowable amount for a Roth IRA. That being said, no employer matching funds can be contributed to a Roth 401(k), so you’ll want to ensure you’re contributing enough to a regular 401(k) to get any employer match before you elect to save anything else to a Roth.

“It’s really more about money than age when selecting the right 401(k),” said Rose Swanger, a financial planner in Knoxville, Tenn. “For young folks who work in Silicon Valley, a traditional 401(k) may be deemed a better option than a Roth because it helps them lower the tax. On the other hand, for the majority of the folks who just started their career, a Roth 401(k) should be a good starter.”

Roth IRA

  • Best for: Young workers making a modest income. “They’re not really paying that much in taxes now anyway, so they’re not going to get a lot of benefit from the tax deduction now,” said Farinola. It’s also a good idea for older workers with a sizable pre-tax retirement nest egg.
  • Contribution limits: $6,000 per year if you’re under age 50, $7,000 if you’re older than 50.
  • How it’s taxed: Your contributions are post-tax, but distributions in retirement are tax-free as long as you’re 59 and a half and the funds have been in the account for at least five years.

What else you need to know:
To contribute to a Roth IRA account, you must make less than $137,000 as a single person in 2019, or $203,000 if you’re married filing jointly. A Roth account is your best option if you think your taxes are lower than they’ll be in retirement. Younger workers have time on their side, which means their savings can grow tax-free before they withdraw them. A Roth IRA provides income flexibility for older employees who have a large amount of pre-tax savings and high income (and taxes) in retirement. You can also convert a traditional IRA to a Roth no matter your income level.

SEP IRA

  • Best for: Freelancers or small business owners with employees.
  • Contribution limits: You can save up to 25% of your gross annual salary or what equates to about 20% of your adjusted net earnings from self-employment, up to a maximum of $56,000 in 2019.
  • How it’s taxed: Like a traditional IRA, contributions are pre-tax, and distributions are taxed at your income rate at the time of distribution.

What else you need to know:
Because you’re limited to a percentage of your income, a Simplified Employee Pension IRA can be limiting if you’re trying to put more money away. Business owners with employees must save the same percentage of compensation to their SEP IRAs as they do to theirs—so it can be an expensive benefit to offer if you’re hoping to save aggressively for your retirement. If you’re a freelancer, it’s one of the simplest accounts to set up and maintain for yourself.

SIMPLE IRA

  • Best for: Freelancers or small business owners with employees.
  • Contribution limits: Employee contributions (you) cannot exceed $13,000 in 2019 if you’re under 50, or $16,000 if you’re older than 50. Employer contributions (also you) are generally required to match employee contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to 3% of the compensation.
  • How it’s taxed: Contributions are pre-tax while distributions are taxed at your income rate at the time of distribution.

What else you need to know:
If you’re a small business owner with employees, a SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match PLan for Employees) allows you and your employees to save for retirement, but your contribution to your account doesn’t have to match theirs (a more reasonable option). If you’re making a modest income, a SIMPLE IRA might let you put more away than you can with a SEP IRA. However, if you’re above a certain income threshold, both the SEP IRA and Solo 401(k) will allow you to save more. (Try this calculator if you’re unsure.)

Solo 401(k)

  • Best for: Freelancers or sole proprietors with no employees except a spouse.
  • Contribution limits: Employee contributions (you) are limited to $19,000 in 2019 if you’re under 50, or $25,000 if you’re older than 50. Employer contributions (also you) are limited to 25% of gross income for corporations or about 20% of net income for a sole proprietorship, not to exceed $56,000. Total contributions cannot exceed $56,000 if you’re under age 50; $62,000 if you’re 50 or older.
  • How it’s taxed: Contributions are pre-tax and distributions are taxed at your income rate at the time of distribution.

What else you need to know:
You can only open this account if you have no employees other than a spouse, but the Solo 401(k) gives you the most flexibility in terms of self-employed retirement savings.

“If you’re self-employed and you have no employees, typically the Solo 401(k) makes sense from a financial perspective,” said Howard Hook, a financial planner and CPA in Princeton, N.J. “Because you can save, dollar for dollar, whereas with a SEP it’s a percentage of your salary.” In other words, if you make $18,500 in net earnings, you can save $18,500. A Solo 401(k) does involve more paperwork, but it’s not drastic.

Traditional IRA

  • Best for: Non-self-employed workers without employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
  • Contribution limits: $6,000 per year in 2019 if you’re younger than 50; $7,000 if you’re older than 50.
  • How it’s taxed: If you and your spouse aren’t covered by a retirement plan at work, contributions to a traditional IRA are fully deductible, and you’ll be taxed on distributions. If you or your spouse are covered by a work retirement plan, deductibility depends on your income, and in some cases, it won’t be deductible at all.

What else you need to know:
A traditional IRA can be a good savings option if you don’t have a retirement plan at work—but experts don’t recommend saving to one if it won’t be deductible. If you do, you must keep track of how much of your IRA is made up of post-tax funds so you won’t be taxed on them again in retirement.

“I see too many people who forget they have after-tax money in there,” said Farinola. “There’s a way to keep track of it as years go by in your tax return each year, but not everybody does, especially people who do their own taxes.”

Some financial planners will make exceptions (by allowing people to contribute to a non-deductible IRA) for high-income earners looking to contribute to a Roth. They can save to a traditional IRA (whether it’s deductible or not) and then convert to a Roth as needed, even if they make too much income to contribute to a Roth IRA. “We call that a backdoor Roth,” added Farinola.

Bottom line

There are multiple ways to save for retirement. Choosing the best account for you will depend on whether you have access to an employer-sponsored plan and how much you want to put away.

A financial planner can help ensure you’re maximizing your retirement savings, but in the end, it’s important to save no matter the amount. “Overall, people are not saving enough,” said Darin Shebesta, a financial planner in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Putting the money away in any account is better than spending it.”

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.

Kate Ashford
Kate Ashford |

Kate Ashford is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kate here

Advertiser Disclosure

Investing

How to Invest: A Guide for Novice Investors

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

You’ve heard this line over and over again: To be smart with your money, you need to both build your savings and invest. The savings part is easy: Stash money away in a savings account — a little at a time — to pay for a particular goals, like an emergency fund or a new car. Investing is a different story, and learning how to buy securities that will grow in value over time isn’t quite so simple.

Investments are made for the long-term, and investing involves taking on risk. That might make you nervous, but investing is essential for your financial health. Compound interest and market gains can help your money grow a much higher rate than a savings account, helping you build long-term wealth for your retirement.

How to invest in 5 easy steps

The idea of investing might be intimidating, but don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, you can learn how to invest and get started in just five simple steps.

1. Start investing early

When you’re young, time is on your side. That’s especially true when it comes to investing. And the earlier you start the better, according to Dr. Brandon Renfro, a certified financial planner and an assistant professor of finance at East Texas Baptist University.

“Earnings from investments compound over time,” Dr. Renfro said. “The longer you give yourself to earn that compound return, the more money you will have when you reach a goal, such as retirement.”

For example, let’s say you invest $1,000 when you’re 25 in an investment account that earns 5% interest, compounded annually. Even if you don’t save another dime, your account will be worth $2,653.30 by the time you’re 45. Without you doing anything at all, your money more than doubled. If you continue to contribute some money to your account each month, your money could grow even more, and the longer you let your money sit in an investment amount, the more it will increase in value.

The market fluctuates, moving up and down, dramatically sometimes. But over the long term, the market produces regular returns. According to the financial firm Morningstar, the long-term average return from the stock market is near 10%.

Investing while you’re young allows you to ride out any short-term losses so you can take advantage of gains over the long-term. Even if the market dips over the near term, over the 20- to 30-year timeframe, you’ll see reliable growth rates.

2. Decide how much to invest

When deciding how much to invest, it’s important to take your goals into consideration. If you have high-interest debt or if you don’t have an emergency fund, it may make more sense to pay down your debt and build a small savings account before you invest.

After that, think about your long-term goals, such as planning for retirement. You’ve likely heard experts recommend that you save millions of dollars, but don’t let that scare you. When you’re just starting out, it’s important to start saving whatever you can and to keep contributing consistently.

Vanguard, one of the biggest investment companies, recommends that you save 12% to 15% of your income for retirement. If that sounds impossible right now, save what you can afford, even if it’s just $25 per month. Over time, those small amounts will snowball, helping you build a sizeable nest egg.

If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement plan and matches contributions, try to contribute enough to qualify for the full match. That’s free money you’d otherwise leave on the table.

3. Understand what you invest in

When you’re ready to start investing, it’s important to think about what kind of account you want to open. There are three core investment account types:

  • Employer-sponsored plans: Some employers offer retirement investment accounts to their employees, such as a 401(k) or 403(b). You may even be eligible for an employer contribution match, putting more money toward your goals. There are tax benefits to contributing to these plans, helping you save money at tax time.
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRA): An IRA is a great way for you to start saving for retirement on your own, outside of an employer-sponsored plan. There are traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, which both offer tax benefits.
  • Individual investment accounts: Another way to save is by investing in an individual taxable account. There are no tax benefits to these accounts, but they also don’t have limitations on contributions or withdrawals like employer-sponsored plans or IRAs do. If you’re saving for a goal beyond retirement, like buying a home, an individual investment account is the best choice.

According to Natalie Pine, a certified financial planner and managing partner of Briaud Financial Advisors, IRAs and employer-sponsored accounts are strong starting points.

“There is no wrong way to save, but when you are young, a Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b) is a great option,” Pine said. “You pay low taxes now and have tax-free growth for the rest of your life and the lives of your beneficiaries.”

Once you’ve chosen an account structure, you can think about what type of asset classes and investments you want to make. There are several different investment options:

  • Stocks: When you buy a stock, you’re purchasing a share of a company like Apple or Google. Your gains or losses are dependent on the company’s performance and trends in the stock market.
  • Bonds: Bonds are loans you make to the government or corporation in exchange for interest payments over a set time period.
  • Mutual funds: With a mutual fund, you pool your money together with other investors to purchase a mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities that would otherwise be too expensive to purchase on your own.
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs): Like mutual funds, ETFs are pooled investment options that allow you to invest in a diversified portfolio. However, they’re traded like stocks on the stock exchange.
  • Index funds: An index fund follows the performance of a specific market benchmark, such as the S&P 500 Index. The fund’s manager will a preselected collection of hundreds or even thousands of stocks and bonds, diversifying your portfolio.
  • Options: When you invest in options, you create a contract that allows you to buy or sell a security at a fixed price within a specific period of time.
  • Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is a digital representation of assets used to buy and sell goods; one of the most well-known versions is bitcoin. It’s a very risky and volatile investment options, but it’s gaining popularity.

4. Choose an investment strategy

Next, think about your investment strategy. Consider your own risk tolerance. Some people are comfortable taking on more risk, thinking it’s worth it to potentially see high returns. Others get panicky when they see the market dip, and prefer more conservative investments that offer lower, steadier returns. Choose an investment strategy that works for your comfort level.

When it comes to your financial goals, consider how long you have until your target date. For example, if you’re planning on retiring in 30 years, you can choose a more aggressive portfolio that’s more heavily invested in stocks.

If your goal is in the short-term, like you plan on buying a home within the next five years, you want to invest more conservatively. You may put your money in a high-yield savings account or invest in low-risk bonds.

The most important part is simply getting started.

“While it is important to plan, don’t let the details overwhelm you to the point of inaction,” advised Dr. Renfro. “It’s better to get started now understanding just the basics than to keep putting it off.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider investing through a robo-advisor. With this approach, an online broker like Betterment or Wealthfront reviews your financial goals and risk tolerance and comes up with a comprehensive investment plan for you.

The robo-advisor will invest your portfolio in a range of ETFs, mutual funds, stocks, or bonds, and will rebalance your portfolio as you approach your investment target dates. Many robo-advisors have low fees, and have no account minimums, so you can invest even if you don’t have a lot of money.

Check out the best robo-advisors of 2019 to get started.

5. Automate your investments

According to Pine, consistency is key to your success as an investor.

“With regard to investing, consistency is essential to avoid emotions driving decisions that ultimately lead to poor performance,” she said. “If you stick with a system, whatever that may be, you are more likely to weather various storms than if you trade around a lot and catch investments at the wrong time.”

Making regular contributions will help you build long-term wealth. When you’re short on cash each month, finding extra money to invest may feel impossible. However, there are different strategies you can use to invest, even if you don’t have a lot of cash:

  • Pick an investment account with a low minimum: Some discount brokers have very low account minimums. For example, Fidelity and Charles Schwab have $0 minimums, so you get started with just a few dollars.
  • Invest your spare change: Investment apps like Acorns allow you to engage in micro-investing, where you invest your extra change. The app syncs to your bank account or credit card. Every time you make a purchase, the app rounds it up to the next dollar, and deposits the difference to your investment account. For example, if you pay $2.53 for a cup of coffee, the app would deposit $0.47 into your investment account. Over time, those small amounts can add up.
  • Set up recurring contributions: If possible, set up recurring withdrawals into your investment account. Setting up automatic deposits will take out the money before you can mentally spend it, helping you stay on track.
  • Deposit windfalls: If you receive any money unexpectedly, such as a bonus at work, your tax refund, or a gift from a relative, deposit that money directly into your investment account. It’s extra cash, so you won’t need it to make ends meet, and it can help you reach your long-term goals.

Always keep learning

As a new investor, the most important thing to do is to get started as soon as possible. The earlier you invest, the more time your money has to grow.

After you’ve opened an account and made your initial investment, spend some time learning about your investment options. There’s always something new to learn, and growing your knowledge base can help you make more informed investment decisions, which can pay off over the long run. And keep reading on MagnifyMoney to learn more about investing!

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.

Kat Tretina
Kat Tretina |

Kat Tretina is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kat here

Advertiser Disclosure

Investing

Ally Invest Review 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

If you’re looking for an online discount broker with no minimum investment requirement, Ally Invest may be perfect for you. Ally Invest is an ideal choice not just because you don’t need a fortune to open an account, but also because commission fees for trades are well below many competitors — especially for active traders who can earn discounts.

While Ally Invest is missing some common tools for investment research and their mobile app isn’t as feature-rich as some competitors, their full-featured online platform makes up for what the mobile app lacks. And, there’s a wide range of account options with Ally Invest, so you’re covered whether you want a taxable account, a retirement account, or an account for your kids.

Ally Invest
Visit AllySecuredon Ally Invest’s secure site
The Bottom Line: Ally Invest is an affordable discount broker with a wide range of investments to choose from.

  • Commissions are just $4.95 or $3.95 if you’re an active trader.
  • There’s no minimum deposit required for a self-directed trading account, and no minimum account balance requirement.
  • Ally Invest offers tons of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures and forex.

Who should consider Ally Invest

If you’re looking for an affordable investment account, Ally Invest should be at the top of your list. You’ll have many choices for different types of accounts with Ally Invest, including traditional and Roth IRA, IRAs for the self-employed, taxable investment accounts, 529 Plan, and more. And, you won’t have to make a minimum deposit to open your account — it’s free.

Once you’ve got your account open, Ally Invest makes trading affordable for most investments. Commissions for stock trades are among the lowest of any online discount broker, and Ally Invest offers more than 100 commission-free ETFs. If you’re looking to buy Mutual funds though, you’ll pay a transaction fee, whereas some competitors offer ample fee-free options.

Ally Invest’s online trading platform is easy to use, and their research tools are good. While you won’t find earnings transcripts, SEC filings, earnings press releases or audio calls, you can still dig into technical data using free screeners and other tools powered by Recognia.

If you don’t want to manage all the investments on your own, you can opt for a managed account. This is Ally’s robo-advisor option — but you’ll need a minimum of $2,500 if you’d prefer this hands-off approach rather than a self-directed trading account.

Ally Invest fees and features

Current promotions

New Ally Invest accounts accounts receive 90 days of commission-free trades, up to $500 in value, regardless of deposit amount. Cash bonuses are available for new accounts starting at $50 for if you deposit or transfer at least $10,000.

Stock trading fees
  • $4.95 per trade
  • $3.95 per trade (30+ trades per quarter or daily balance of $100,000 or more)
Amount minimum to open account
  • $0
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures / commodities
  • Forex
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $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
  • 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
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android , Windows phone
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email

Strengths of Ally Invest

Ally Invest has plenty of strengths to help it stand out from the competition, including the following:

  • Low commissions: You pay just a $4.95 commission with Ally Invest, which is one of the lowest commissions charged by discount brokers and well below the $6.95 charged by competitors including E-Trade and TD Ameritrade. Plus, if you make more than 30 trades per quarter or have a daily balance of $100,000 or more, your commission is even lower — it drops to just $3.95.
  • No minimum deposit required: While competitors such as E-Trade require a $500 minimum deposit to open an account, Ally doesn’t have any minimum initial deposit requirement. You can also earn a cash bonus for opening an Ally Invest account if you deposit or transfer just $10,000, compared with a $25,000 minimum to earn a cash bonus with E-Trade or $20,000 with Merrill Edge.
  • Powerful tools and intuitive trading platform: Ally Invest’s online site offers you powerful tools to screen investments. Its trading platform is intuitive and provides the features necessary to be an informed investor. This includes a dashboard you can customize to your preferred view, as well as real-time streaming quotes and up-to-date data.
  • Responsive online and phone customer service: You can contact Ally Invest via phone 24/7. There’s also an online chat feature, where you can get answers within seconds from helpful customer service agents. Email support is available as well.

Drawbacks of Ally Invest

Ally Invest also has some downsides to consider:

  • Mutual fund transaction fees: Ally Invest charges a $9.95 transaction fee per trade for no-load Mutual funds. But many competitors offer options without any transaction fees, including E-Trade, which offers more than 4,400 fee-free funds.
  • A mobile app with minimal features: While you can do the basics with Ally Invest’s mobile app, it offers far fewer features and investment tools than competitor apps such as TD Ameritrade Mobile.
  • No physical branches: Ally Invest is an online-only company. There are no physical branches, unlike for competitors such as Merrill Edge, or E-Trade which has more than 30 branches spread across the country.

Is Ally Invest safe?

Ally Invest is a trusted online brokerage with more than $4.7 billion in assets under management. It’s a member of the FDIC and SIPC, so you can rest assured that the cash in your accounts is safe. And since the company has passed its FINRA broker check, you can count on the fact it’s in full compliance with regulations.

Since Ally Invest is online-only, it’s important to review Ally’s data protection policies. The good news is Ally promises that they use “multiple levels of security” to keep your info safe. This includes 128-bit SSL encryption for any exchange of data from your browser and Ally’s servers if your personal information is being transmitted. The downside, however, is that Ally’s privacy policy does permit Ally to share your information with third-parties. While this is a common policy, it’s still disappointing.

Of course, once you invest your money, there’s always a risk of losses. Research what you’re investing in carefully and diversify your portfolio to minimize risks you’re taking.

Bottom line

Thanks to the fact it has no minimum deposit requirement, Ally Invest is a great choice if you’re looking to get started investing and you don’t have a ton of money. Affordable commissions and commission-free ETFs also give you a diverse offering of low-cost or no-cost investment options. But if you’d prefer to buy Mutual funds without paying transaction fees or want a physical branch to visit, alternatives such as E-Trade or Merrill Edge may be a better choice to meet your needs.

Open an Ally Invest accountSecured
on Ally Invest’s secure website

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