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Transamerica Retirement Advisors Review

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Transamerica Retirement Advisors, LLC

Transamerica Retirement Advisors, LLC

Transamerica Retirement Advisors, LLC (TRA) is a subsidiary of Transamerica Retirement Solutions, LLC, which serves retirement plans. Headquartered in St. Paula, Minnesota, TRA operates 272 offices across the country and employs 425 advisors. The fee-based firm manages more than $6 billion in assets for 84,205 individuals and 25 pension and profit-sharing plans.

The firm offers a range of services across the financial planning and investment portfolio management verticals.

Transamerica Retirement Advisors Background

Transamerica Retirement Advisors has been in business since 1992. It is a part of the AEGON family of companies, which is a multinational and publicly traded insurance group. AEGON also owns Transamerica Corporation, which is the parent company of all Transamerica affiliates, including TRA.

This firm employs a large staff of 415 financial advisors that boast a range of advisory certifications. These include certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified long-term care (CLTC), chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and certified investment management analyst (CIMA).

Transamerica Retirement Advisors Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Transamerica Retirement Advisors accepts multiple client types, including individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses. That said, the firm's current client base consists solely of non-high-net-worth individuals and a few retirement plans. 

For clients enrolled in Transamerica's Personalized Portfolios program, the minimum is $5,000. For those enrolled in the Third-Party Money Management Services program, the minimums are $50,000 for mutual fund portfolios and $25,000 for exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios. Clients through their employer-sponsored retirement plans generally do not have minimums.

Services Offered by Transamerica Retirement Advisors

As the name of the firm suggests, services offered by Transamerica Retirement Advisors are generally geared toward helping clients set and achieve retirement goals through financial planning and investment management. Here's a breakdown of its specific offerings:

  • Transamerica Personalized Portfolios (TPP): This individual-centric investment management program features an online account management service that involves the creation of a customized portfolio plan.
  • Managed Advice service: This advisory service is built to aid both retirement plan sponsors and their plan participants. It looks to both formulate an asset allocation plan for participants and provide investing and retirement savings advice.
  • Defined Benefit Plan Asset Allocation Services: For this service, TRA advises employer plan sponsors on the asset allocations of their defined benefit and pension plans. It doesn't offer individual investment advice, but rather more large-scale insights.
  • Third-Party Money Management Services (TPMM): TPMM offers clients access to money manager Morningstar. This third-party manager focuses on portfolio models that utilize ETFs and mutual funds.

Transamerica Retirement Advisors Investment Philosophy

While the firm's investment philosophies vary from program to program, advisors at TRA look to tailor strategies and asset allocations to the financial and retirement objectives of each client. Advisors work with you to identify your long-term objectives and current financial situation, and then they make recommendations accordingly. Ultimately, advisors offer retirement advice, general investing advice or some blend of the two.

Most of the investments that TRA and its affiliate firm, NextCapital, recommend are ETFs and mutual funds. If you have specific investing preferences, the firm can take these into account to a certain extent.

Fees Under Transamerica Retirement Advisors

When it comes to Transamerica Retirement Advisors' fee schedule for its individual-centric service, Transamerica Personalized Portfolios (TPP), the firm charges a non-negotiable asset-based fee. These charges are paid on a quarterly basis, in arrears, directly from your account's balance.

Transamerica Personalized Portfolios (TPP) Fee Schedule
Assets Under Management Annual Fee Rates
$5,000 - $149,999 0.95%
$150,000 - $999,999 0.90%
$1,000,000 and above 0.80%

In dollars, fees would look like this:

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at Transamerica Retirement Advisors*
Your Assets Annual Fee Amount for TPP
$100K $950
$500K $4,500
$1MM $8,000

 With respect to TRA's other advisory services, fees are based on the following ranges:

Other Transamerica Retirement Advisors Fees
Service Annual Fee Range
Defined Benefit Plan Asset Allocation Services 0.05% - 0.25%
Managed Advice service Up to 0.50%
Third-Party Money Management Services (TPMM) 0.60% - 0.90%

These fees are generally equal to or lower than the industry average fee for investment management, which is 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.

What to Watch Out For

Transamerica Retirement Advisors had two disclosures of regulatory actions in its SEC-filed Form ADV. Both involved affiliates —one was a firm and the other was an individual. 

Also worth noting: As part of a large corporate family, TRA has many affiliations with financial service firms, including Transamerica Asset Management, Inc., Transamerica Capital Inc., Massachusetts Fidelity Trust Company, Aegon USA Investment Management, LLC, several Transamerica-brand insurance companies and more. These can pose potential conflicts of interest when an advisor recommends their services or products. Similarly, advisors may be brokers and/or insurance agents who collect transaction-based fees or commissions, an arrangement that can also pose potential conflicts of interests. That said, as a fiduciary, TRA is legally obligated to act in clients' best interests at all times. 

Opening an Account With Transamerica Retirement Advisors

Those interested in joining forces with Transamerica Retirement Advisors can visit the firm's website and either fill out a contact form or enroll directly in an advisory program. You can also speak to a TRA representative on the phone by calling (866)-368-0566.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Financial Planning

  • It's been said that a goal without a plan is only a dream. For help making a concrete plan so you can reach your financial goals, consider consulting a financial advisor. To find the right one for you, use SmartAsset’s free matching tool. It will connect you with up to three financial advisors in your area. If you’ve got five minutes, get started now.
  • Want a rough idea of how much you can expect a given investment to grow over time? SmartAsset’s investment calculator can show you how a good investment plan can grow your nest egg.

How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research