Money Hack: How To Open Up An IRA For $1 In 15 Minutes

how to open an IRA

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

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:

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13 Responses to Money Hack: How To Open Up An IRA For $1 In 15 Minutes

  1. Teri says:


    You can also open a IRA or ROTH at most any financial institsution so it could be as easy as calling your bank and moving $1 over to an IRA account (savings, money market, etc.). Of course in that case there would still be forms to fill out I guess.

    This is nice because as you build your account you can easily buy mutual funds, which is a much better retirement investment than cash.

  2. darrw says:

    I guess I don’t have any more excuses. Going to set one up right now. Thanks.

  3. mitoshii says:

    That was surprisingly easy! I now have an IRA.

  4. Genius! I wonder how long it will take for Fidelity to notice what’s going on and change their setup?

  5. Pete Crane says:

    While anything that gets people saving is nice and I love anything promoting money market funds, you really do need at least a couple thousand dollars to make a difference. If one can’t afford to set aside a couple thousand, then worrying about retirement (and investments) shouldn’t be a concern. You should spend you time trying to earn more, or spend less, first, and should keep all your cash in a checking account — because chances are you’re going to need it soon!

  6. Ryan says:

    Thanks, honestly I had no idea how easy it is to set up a retirement account. Although I’m really young, I’ve read that its wise to begin saving up for the Roth IRA.

  7. Luke says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for making this post as I will be directing folks that say its to hard to this. It really is that easy, yet the money needed [or made to look like is needed] upfront startles and scares off many folks I know. If a large company said simply, “Start a IRA with us for $1” I would think the push into new accounts would be huge and I know there is cost involved with opening them, but I have never heard a financial institution the size of Fidelity or Vanguard complain about getting 1000’s of new accounts.

    I started my Roth IRA in 2003 with $50 and sneaked under the radar like you suggest. I simply built up enough money to buy mutual funds and you could even get into the Vanguard Star fund for $1000 or get into a few low-cost ETF’s [VTI] for far less to get the money working faster.

  8. Pingback: What is a Money Market Fund? - Blog

  9. Naveen says:


    I tried your steps for “Money Hack: How To Open Up An IRA For $1 In 15 Minutes” with Roth IRA. I was at last steps, where i need to select a radio button for “$2,500” or “an automatic investment of $200 a month”. when i select either of one…..its asking my bank account number to draw that amount…And i got paniced….i close the window. Do you remember to go through those screen ? Did they discover this hack ? OR Should i keep continue to finish the process ? Your help is appriciated.

  10. Amy F. says:

    Hi Naveen,
    I’m sorry it has taken so long for me to get back to you. Hopefully you’ve subscribed to receive followup comments by email.

    A friend just alerted me to this problem over the weekend. 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.

    I apologize for any frustration or inconvenience this change may have caused you, and I hope that you will still open an IRA at Fidelity or another institution. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

  11. Philip Parsons says:

    Nice tip, a pity the loophole has been closed

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