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How Much Does It Cost to Open an IRA?


An individual retirement account (IRA) is a type of savings account that offers tax benefits for retirement savings in the U.S. It can play a critical role in strategic financial planning, providing significant tax advantages and bolstering your retirement savings over time. One of the major factors in deciding to invest in an IRA is the cost of opening and maintaining an account. While there is no fee to open an account in most situations, there are plenty of fees to consider depending on what you plan on investing in. To make the best decision for your financial future, it may be beneficial to consult a financial advisor who can help you understand which retirement account is best for your situation.

Types of IRAs

One factor that could impact the costs you pay is the type of IRA you are planning to open. Understanding the different types of IRAs is key to choosing an account that aligns with your financial and retirement goals. Here are four common IRA choices that you may want to consider:

  • Traditional IRA: A pre-tax account that permits contributions to be tax-deductible in the year they are made. The funds within grow tax-deferred until retirement, at which point withdrawals are taxed as income. Typical costs associated with a traditional IRA may include a set-up fee, an annual account fee and a broker transaction fee. However, most are free to open other than the upfront investment.
  • Roth IRA: Unlike a traditional IRA, this is a post-tax account with contributions made using after-tax dollars. Offering tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement, the costs associated with it are akin to those of a Traditional IRA, including potential set-up fees, annual account fees and broker transaction fees.
  • SIMPLE IRA: This savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE) IRA is suitable for small businesses and self-employed individuals. While it generally carries similar costs to a traditional IRA (like set-up fees, annual account fees and broker transaction fees) you’ll need to bear additional administrative costs if you are an employer sponsoring the account.
  • SEP IRA: Simplified employee pension (SEP) IRAs are preferred by small businesses or self-employed individuals. Similar to SIMPLE IRAs, they share the cost structure of a traditional IRA, but employer-sponsored accounts might come with extra administrative costs.

Costs Breakdown for Opening and Maintaining an IRA

Clients meeting with a financial advisor to review the costs of opening an IRA.

Most IRAs are not going to cost you anything to open, but those costs can vary based on the account type and the broker or provider you’re using to open that account.

Common costs may include a setup fee and variable broker transaction fees, so you’ll have to check with your provider to know what you will end up paying.

Take note: Roth IRAs, in particular, require contributors to factor in the impact of taxes on their initial investment. SEP and SIMPLE IRAs might also carry additional administrative costs that are paid upfront and on an ongoing basis, particularly if they are employer-sponsored.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs of an IRA

As you continue to maintain your IRA, expect to encounter annual fees to keep your account open. These can include account maintenance fees and trading securities fees.

Keep in mind that early withdrawals from an IRA and other actions can result in penalties that will increase your cost. Additionally, frequent trading within an IRA can also lead to higher transaction fees.

Finally, there are more costs depending on the type of investments that you will make, which often passed on to you from your broker.

Bottom Line

A senior couple reviews how much they are paying for an IRA.

Understanding the costs involved in an IRA is a fundamental part of retirement planning. This includes both upfront costs and ongoing costs, such as those associated with different types of IRAs, investments, potential penalties for early withdrawal or excessive trading.

Saving for Retirement Tips

  • When it’s time to save for retirement there are a lot of details to consider. It’s important to first determine how much you need to save in order to reach your long-term financial goals and live the retirement you want. Then you need to build a savings plan to get you there. A financial advisor can help with both. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • A retirement calculator is a great tool that can help you see an estimation of whether you’re on track to reach your retirement goals.

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