Sunday, March 06, 2005

Where to Consolidate My IRAs?

Having several chunks of retirement funds scattered all over was making me crazy and unable to manage. My recent plan had been to consolidate all but the Roth into my current 401(k) plan so I could manage it as a single account (well two if you count the Roth). But as I have learned recently, it is far better to manage as much of my retirement money in an IRA as possible. The most important reason is that there are many more choices available to you in most IRAs. Another reason for me is that I am most comfortable using the web and technology to manage my finances (among other things)...and my 401(k) custodian's website is also severely lacking.

All this left me in pursuit of a new home for a new rollover IRA that could also serve as a home for my Roth. My criteria basically worked out to:
  • Large choice of funds (and stocks and...more?)
  • Great web interface (research + account mgmt)
  • Good customer service
  • Inexpensive
My short list came down to Vanguard, T Rowe Price and Fidelity. My finance mentor Pepper sent me this link to Smart Money's 2004 broker survey (for premium discount brokers) and I was able to finally decide on Fidelity. They're listed as somewhat expensive for a discount broker but on their site they make it clear they offer no-fee IRAs and they have many funds that do not require a transaction fee. They also have a great site that has vastly improved since I had a 401(k) held there and I really liked their site back then. And so far their customer service has been really pleasant and knowledgeable on the two times I needed something minor in the last two weeks.

I am not sure I'd keep my non-retirement investments at Fidelity year as I start to accumulate some, I might take another look at Vanguard and T Rowe Price because I do love me some cheap!

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