NOTE: It appears that while the process described in this article originally worked, Fidelity has closed the loophole and you now need the minimums you described to open the account.
Most people have the impression that in order to open a retirement account, you need to do a lot of research, have a large sum of money to invest, and have a lot of time to set up your account. While this might be true in many cases, there is a simple, little- known retirement hack that will allow you to open a no-fee Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for as little as $1 (with no fees) through Fidelity Investments. Best of all, the process is so easy it should take less than 15 minutes to complete. All you need to do is follow these simple steps.
1. Go to fidelity.com.
2. At the top of the page, you’ll see a dark green, horizontal bar. Towards the right end of the bar, click on “Investment Products.” Another bar will appear below that. Click on “Retirement” toward the right end of the bar.
3. In the middle of the page, click on the link to open a no-fee Fidelity IRA.
4. The “Open a No-Fee Fidelity IRA” page will tell you that you need either $2,500 or an automatic investment of $200 a month. Ignore this.
5. Click on the link that says, “Open a Simple Start IRA,” located halfway down the page.
6. Choose whether you want to open a Traditional or Roth IRA.
7. Gather the required information, if you don’t already have it memorized. You’ll need your social security number, driver’s license number, employer’s name and address (if you are employed), names and dates of birth of the people you want to designate as beneficiaries, your bank account number and bank routing number, the ability to view popups, and possibly a printer.
8. Fill out the online forms. The whole process should only take you10-15 minutes.
That’s all there is to it. If you begin the process right now, you’ll have a retirement fund in your name in less time than you ever thought possible. The most difficult aspect of the retirement saving process for many people is simply getting started, but this retirement hack should help you overcome that obstacle. If you currently don’t have a retirement fund, no matter what your age or income level, you no longer have an excuse not to open one up.
Why This Hack Works
The Simple Start IRA normally requires a $2,500 minimum deposit or automatic contributions of $200 a month. The reason for these stated account opening minimums is that Fidelity’s mutual funds all have investment minimums of at least $2,500 or $10,000. However, if you initially open up your IRA within Fidelity’s money market fund, these minimums do not apply and you still won’t have to pay any fees to maintain the account. You also don’t have to sign up for automatic monthly investments (although doing so is a great idea to help grow your retirement savings).
What You’ll Be Earning
A money market fund is similar to a high interest checking account. While it is not FDIC insured, it is considered to be perfectly safe and currently pays around 5% interest annually, just like high interest online savings accounts. Anytime you put money into your new IRA, it automatically goes into your money market account (called Fidelity Cash Reserves) unless you specify otherwise. Once you can afford $200 a month or have accumulated $2,500, you can put your money into a mutual fund that has a higher risk, but also should have higher long-term returns. Fidelity offers a variety of funds, many of which are of very high quality. Examples include the Fidelity Balanced Fund and Fidelity Four-In-One Index, both of which have a $2500 minimum investment. When you have at least $10,000 to work with, you can choose funds like the Spartan 500 Index fund. You can do more research on these possibilities as you grow your initial deposit and eventually hit these minimum thresholds.
Now you know everything you need to know to get started. Saving for your future doesn’t get any easier than this, so open your IRA today. If some of the things in this article sounded unfamiliar to you, here is some additional information from the blogosphere that you may find helpful:
- How to Start a Roth IRA (and Where to Do It) (Get Rich Slowly)
- What is a Roth IRA and Why Should You Care? (Get Rich Slowly)
- Six Key Principles of Saving for Retirement (My Money Blog)
- Specific Mutual Fund Investment Ideas for Beginners (My Money Blog)