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New York City Council passes 2021 budget, including some police cuts Thousands of Your Favorite Fast Food Locations Could Close Best Roth IRA accounts in July 2020

A Roth IRA offers many benefits to retirement savers. Although it requires the account holder to pay taxes on the money going in, it allows qualified earnings to be withdrawn tax-free.

This gives workers a chance to contribute to a tax-advantaged account, let the money grow tax-free and never pay taxes again on withdrawals.

© Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images Man talking on the phone while using computer

Thats why many experts think its the ideal investment during tax season.

Best Roth IRA accounts to open in July 2020:
  • Charles Schwab: Best overall
  • Betterment: Best robo-adviser
  • Fidelity: Best for beginners
  • Interactive Brokers: Best for active traders
  • Fundrise: Best for alternative investments
  • Vanguard: Best for low costs
  • Merrill Edge: Best for in-person help
The skinny

A Roth IRA requires you to contribute after-tax savings to the account, rather than pretax savings, as with a traditional IRA. You pay taxes today in exchange for keeping your savings tax-free in the future. Thats one of many ways that a Roth IRA beats a traditional IRA.

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Its best to think of a Roth IRA as a wrapper that can go around many types of accounts to protect them from the taxman. Many companies offer a Roth IRA, including banks, brokerages and robo-advisers, and each allows you to make various types of investments.

What you can earn in a Roth IRA all depends on what youre invested in. At a bank, for example, you can invest in CDs, which are safe and protected by the government so that you wont lose principal. At brokerages and robo-advisers, you can invest in assets such as stocks and bonds that earn more over time but arent protected and can lose money. While a CD specifies what youll earn each year, these other investments can fluctuate.

Overview: Top Roth IRA accounts in July 2020:

If you’re looking to maximize your retirement savings, here are several of the best Roth IRA Accounts to consider:

Charles Schwab: Best overall

Charles Schwab does it all great education and training for newer investors, high-caliber tools for active traders, responsive customer service and competitive trading commissions.

Schwab shines all around, and it remains an excellent choice for a Roth IRA.

Point-of-emphasis: For cost-conscious investors, Schwab makes a compelling case, recently lowering its commissions on stock, ETF and options trades to zero, though the company still charges a $0.65 per contract fee for options. So you can get in the game completely commission-free, saving those extra dollars to invest even more. And mutual fund investors can find something to love in the brokers offering of more than 4,000 no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. With no account minimum, its even easier to get started.

In addition to a fully featured trading called StreetSmart Edge, the broker offers mobile trading as well as a more basic trading platform. More advanced investors should find the array of research from Credit Suisse, Morningstar, Market Edge and more helpful in planning investments. Schwab offers an excellent level of service for a great price.

For more information, read Bankrate’s Charles Schwab review.

Betterment: Best robo-adviser © Provided by Bankrate betterment_logo

If youre looking to have someone else do the investing and portfolio management for you, Betterment is an excellent choice.

Betterment is a robo-adviser that does all the heavy lifting selecting the appropriate investments, diversifying the portfolio and allocating funds so that you can focus on something else. And it does that at a reasonable cost, too.

Point-of-emphasis: As one of the oldest and largest robo-advisers, Betterment is a trusted name in the robo space. The company offers two tiers of service: Digital and Premium. Betterment Digital manages your investments from a selection of about a dozen exchange-traded funds and charges just 0.25 percent of your assets annually, still cheaper than many rivals. Youll get automatic rebalancing, so that your portfolio stays in line with its target allocation, and access to financial advisers via in-app messaging. If you want the Premium package, youll need $100,000 in your account and will pay 0.4 percent, but youll receive unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners.

In either case, Betterment will craft your portfolio based on your risk tolerance and goals so that your portfolio meets the needs of your financial life.

Fidelity: Best for beginners © Provided by Bankrate fidelity_logo

With its clean layout, helpful customer representatives, competitive trading commissions and all-around low fees, Fidelity is an excellent broker for beginning investors or those opening their first Roth IRA.

Fidelity also features a well-developed educational section, which is great for customers who are new to the new investing game and want to get up to speed quickly.

Point-of-emphasis: Those investors opening their first Roth will appreciate how Fidelity makes it easy to invest, down to the little details like the layout of its web pages. Its easy to place an order or find information. Fidelity also takes a customer-first approach with its fees. The broker has slashed nearly all its fees, including pricey transfer fees, making Fidelity customer-friendly. Its also chopped fees on its mutual funds, becoming the first broker to bring the annual expense of mutual funds to zero (for a handful of its own funds.) Its all great for newer investors.

When youre ready to advance, Fidelity can also provide research, offering reports from nearly 20 providers. You get all this for zero commission, too.

To learn more, read Bankrate’s Fidelity review.

Interactive Brokers: Best for active traders © Provided by Bankrate interactive-brokers_logo

Interactive Brokers does everything that traders and professionals need, and does it at high quality.

It excels at low trading commissions, global trading and reach, speedy execution and its advanced trading platform. In short, Interactive Brokers is great for advanced traders.

Point-of-emphasis: Interactive Brokers might be best known for its $1 commissions on trades up to 200 shares, and the broker charges a half-cent per share for additional shares. If youre rifling through shares as an active trader, though, you may appreciate the brokers volume-based discounts. Options pricing has no base commission and a per-contract fee of 65 cents, making it highly competitive. Interactive Brokers also does surprisingly well on mutual funds, offering more than 4,100 without a transaction fee, and you can also trade about 50 different ETFs commission-free. In addition, the company recently announced a lite version of its service, which charges no commissions on stocks or ETFs and has no account minimum.

At Interactive Brokers, you can trade almost anything that trades on a public exchange: stocks, bonds, forex, futures, metals and more. Plus, you can access virtually any world market to make a trade, so the investing world is really at your fingertips. The stripped-down trading interface works for those who know exactly what they need and an easy way to access it. Altogether, these attributes make Interactive Brokers the best for active traders.

Read Bankrate’s Interactive Brokers review to learn more.

Fundrise: Best for alternative investments © Provided by Bankrate fundrise_logo

Fundrise is a relatively new player on the scene, and its known for getting investors into alternative assets, in this case real estate.

Real estate is a popular investment, and because it tends to pay cash dividends, it can be a smart investment inside a Roth IRA, where dividends are earned tax-free. Fundrise wont be a good choice for all investors, but for those looking for this niche, it could be a snug fit.

Point-of-emphasis: Fundrise creates real estate investments trusts, or REITs, using investors money to buy real estate or mortgages. It also offers a more speculative set of funds that use investors money to develop residential real estate. These investments tend to offer sizable dividends and some opportunity for appreciation over time. Like many alternative investments, Fundrises offerings require you to lock in your money for years, though you may be able to get it out with a penalty.

Fundrises returns have been solid so far, earning 12.3 percent annually over the past 20 years. And its relatively easy to get started with an account minimum of $500.

Vanguard: Best for low costs © Provided by Bankrate vanguard_logo

Vanguard is great for investors who are looking to minimize their costs, especially if theyre long-term buy-and-hold stock investors.

Vanguard has long been known for its low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, and its expanded that reputation into its brokerage, too. The company offers commission-free trading stocks and ETFs, while also providing more than 3,400 mutual funds without a transaction fee.

Point-of-emphasis:Vanguard was founded on the principle of helping investors take advantage of the stock market in a low-cost way. So not only does the broker offer zero commissions on stock and ETF trades, it also offers its whole range of cheap mutual funds and ETFs. The brokerage adds to its reputation with education and planning tools. Investors will find videos, podcasts and articles that provide market commentary and help them make sound investment decisions. Youll find tools to help you plan for retirement as well as for college and other financial goals, too.

For more details, read Bankrate’s Vanguard review.

Merrill Edge: Best for in-person help © Provided by Bankrate merrill_logo

Merrill Edge is the web-based broker from the storied and well-regarded Merrill, now owned by Bank of America.

Merrill Edge is a great fit for those who already have an account at the bank. And for those who need customer service in person, it might be just what they need.

Point-of-emphasis: Merrill is a solid, full-service broker that does a lot right. It provides deep research from the brokers large team of analysts, and it offers solid educational resources for new investors looking to get up to speed. But where it really out-distances the competition is its ability to provide in-person assistance to clients. If youre near one of more than 2,500 Bank of America locations offering the service, you can access customer support right at the bank. And if you need a more personalized financial plan, Merrills team can also manage that.

Merrill is a great fit for current customers of Bank of America, because your accounts are seamlessly integrated on one platform. You can access it all from the banks webpage.

Read Bankrate’s Merrill Edge review for more information.

How much do you need to open a Roth IRA?

That all depends on your provider. Every bank, brokerage and robo-adviser has its own requirements. However, its usually not difficult to find one that will allow you to open an account with no money.

While minimums arent a problem, one of the most important parts is not contributing too much. Investors need to be aware of what the maximum contribution is, and be sure not to go over. The maximum amount tends to grow over time, and youll need to watch for changes. For tax year 2020, you can contribute $6,000 to a Roth IRA as long as your income doesnt exceed a certain amount.

One thing you wont have to worry about, however, is having too many Roth IRA accounts. Youre allowed to have as many as you like, but you may not contribute more than the annual maximum. So if the annual limit is $6,000 and you have three Roth accounts, you can divide that amount among the accounts in any way you see fit.

The Roth IRA is a powerful retirement tool, and so its important that you pick the Roth IRA provider thats going to give you the best results. Here are the seven best Roth IRAs to open.

Best Roth IRAs to openProviderHighlightsCommissionsMinimum to openHow to begin
Charles Schwab Best overall $0 $0 Open account
Fidelity Best for beginners $0 Open account
Betterment Best robo-adviser 0.25% of assets $0 Open account
Interactive Brokers Best for active traders $1 minimum/$0 with IBKR Lite $0 Open account
Fundrise Best for alternative investments Varies $500 Open account
Vanguard Best for low costs $0 $0 Open account
Merrill Edge Best for in-person help $0 $0 Open account
Learn more:
  • 6 differences between a Roth IRA and a Roth 401(k)
  • How to open a Roth IRA
  • The most expensive and least expensive states to retire in
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Vanity Fair debuts first cover by a Black photographer, featuring Viola Davis

The July/August issue of Vanity Fair marks a historic milestone for the magazine: The cover photo, which features actress Viola Davis, is the first taken by a Black photographer in the magazine's 106-year history.

Dario Calmese photographed Davis for the issue, in is his first major magazine cover. Calmese's accomplishment comes as calls for American fashion media to highlight more Black perspectives have become more urgent and widespread.

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Presenting our July/August cover star: @ViolaDavis. Last month, the Oscar winner took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd—but she’s no stranger to fighting for what’s right. As a Black woman in Hollywood, she’s spent her career doing it: “My entire life has been a protest,” Davis says. “My production company is my protest. Me not wearing a wig at the Oscars in 2012 was my protest. It is a part of my voice, just like introducing myself to you and saying, ‘Hello, my name is Viola Davis.’” Davis was photographed by—the first Black photographer to shoot a Vanity Fair cover. At the link in bio, Davis speaks with V.F. about her extraordinary journey out of poverty and into the stubbornly unequal Hollywood system. Story by @soniasaraiya Photographed by Styled by @elizabethstewart1 Coatdress @maxmara Earrings @pomellato

A post shared by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:02am PDT

Calmese told the New York Times that his cover image of Davis, with her exposed back to the camera and gaze over her left shoulder, was meant to invoke "The Scourged Back," a historic 1963 image of a slave with a web of whipping scars on his back.

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It's a powerful image at a time when the country is reckoning with its dark legacy of racial injustice, slavery, and how Black stories are told. It also comes just days after Vogue's cover feature of Simone Biles, photographed by iconic portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, has renewed demands for more representation in front of and behind the camera.

I adore Simone Biles and am thrilled she’s on this cover... but I hate these photos. I hate the toning, I hate how predictable they are, I hate the social crop here (wtf?) and I super hate that Vogue couldn’t be bothered to hire a Black photographer.

— Morrigan McCarthy (@MorriganMcC) July 9, 2020

Facts. Vogue, August 2020 by Annie Leibovitz

Dana Scruggs

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