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Transamerica Retirement Advisors Review

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Transamerica Retirement Advisors, LLC

Transamerica Retirement Advisors (TRA) is a financial advisor firm located in St. Paul, Minnesota. The firm has nearly $5.5 billion in assets under management (AUM) which it manages for about 48,000 clients. The majority of these clients are individuals below the high-net-worth threshold. The firm offers a range of services across the financial planning and investment portfolio management verticals.

As a fee-based firm, some of TRA's advisors can receive additional compensation from selling insurance products to clients. This represents a conflict of interest, but the advisors must still abide by a fiduciary duty to only recommend products in their clients' best interests.

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 416 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. 

TRA has an inclusive minimum account size of just $5,000. This requirement may vary, though.

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 two distinct money managers in Fund Architects and Morningstar. These third-party managers focus on portfolio models that utilize exchange-traded funds (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, recommends fall under at least one of two categories: 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%

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%

What to Watch Out For

Transamerica Retirement Advisors is a fee-based financial advisor operation, which means some of its advisors have an opportunity to earn commissions when they sell certain insurance products. While this could create a potential conflict of interest, the firm and its advisors all abide by fiduciary duty. This means that despite any conflicts of interest, they are still legally obligated to act in your best interest at all times.

Disclosures

While Transamerica Retirement Advisors' SEC-filed Form ADV does list two disclosures, neither of them are directly related to the firm itself - rather, they concern advisory affiliates of the firm.

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.

Tips for Financial Planning

  • It can be helpful to work with a qualified financial advisor when formulating your financial and investment plans. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Want to get a rough idea of how much a given investment can be expected 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.

Least
Most
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