Schwab Review

Company Overview

Charles Schwab is a banking and investment firm based in the United States. This well-known investment firm is a discount brokerage and provides other financial services like banking, mortgages and annuities. Schwab was founded in 1971 and has more than 300 offices in the United States. In 2013, Schwab finished 3rd overall and received 4 stars from the Annual Review and was also awarded the title of Best Banking Services. In 2011, Schwab received a 5 star rating and in 2012 this firm received a 4 star rating from

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Account Options

 Minimum ContributionMaximum Contribution
Roth IRANo Minimum$5,500/year
Traditional IRANo Minimum$5,500/year
SEP IRANo Minimum25% of compensation
(up to $52,000)
SIMPLE IRANo Minimum$12,000 (if under age of 50) or
$14,500 (if older than 50)
Self-Directed IRA--
Rollover IRANo MinimumNo Limit
Inherited IRANo MinimumNo Limit


The IRA accounts available at Schwab are a standard selection that can be found at most brokers. The account types include traditional, rollover, inherited, Roth, SIMPLE and SEP. The catch-up contribution limit for Roth and traditional IRAs is $1,000 per year and $2,500 per year for SIMPLE IRAs.

Investment Options

Associated IRA Investment Fees
Mutual FundsNone
Options$8.95 (plus $0.75/contract)
Exchange-Traded Funds$8.95
AnnuitiesNot Available


The standard investment options that are available at most brokers are also available at Charles Schwab. Clients are able to invest in mutual funds, stocks, ETFs and options. There are also other investment options available as well including CDs and bonds.

Fees and Commissions

Account Related Fees for Roth IRA
Minimum Account Balance Required$1,000
Account Maintenance FeeNone
Termination FeeNone
Transfer FeeNone


Because Charles Schwab specializes is offering discount brokerage services, there are no account fees for IRAs at this firm. Investors can open an IRA with a minimum balance of $1,000 – there is no maintenance, transfer or termination fee which makes this broker less expensive than many others.

Retirement Planning

There are several retirement planning tools available at Charles Schwab. One helpful tool is the Retirement Savings Calculator. This calculator will help investors determine how much they will need to save for their retirement and how close they are to meeting their retirement goals with their current savings. There are also several IRA calculators at this firm as well. These calculators can be used to determine what type of IRA they should open, to estimate their required minimum distributions and whether they should convert their Roth IRA.

Account Features

There are several filing and income requirements set by the IRS that must be met in order for investors to open a Roth IRA. Additionally, investors need to have generated taxable income in the past year to open a Roth IRA but there is no age requirement. Investors need to supply their SSN and other personal details when opening an IRA.


Multi-Device Functionality
Mobile Sitecheck
iOS Accessiblecheck
Android Accessiblecheck
Transfer Feecheck


With the Charles Schwab mobile app, investors have access to a variety of banking options. Investors can also monitor the market in real time, place trades, manage their positions and research various investing opportunities on a number of mobile devices including Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and others.

Safety and Security

Charles Schwab is a member of SIPC which insures securities in client accounts up to $500,000. In addition, Charles Schwab uses the highest level of security protocols and technology to prevent online fraud. Through encryption, verification of identity and other security measures Schwab safeguards client accounts from unauthorized access.

Customer Support

Customer support is available 24/7 at Schwab and can be reached through a variety of methods including live chat, phone and email. In addition, clients can contact customer service in-person by visiting a local branch during normal business hours. The representatives at Charles Schwab are professional and respond to inquiries in a timely fashion.

Bottom Line

Schwab does not have as many retirement planning tools as some brokers but the low fees and commissions make it possible for many investors to enjoy the benefits of an IRA. In addition, Schwab is a highly respected company and offers excellent investment services.

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