Get a Cash Bonus for Opening a New IRA

Switching jobs or retiring? Some brokerages offer cash incentives for your rollover 401(k) money.

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It often makes sense for job switchers and retirees to roll over their 401(k) to a traditional or Roth IRA (see Pros and Cons of Rolling Your 401(k) Into an IRA). A handful of discount brokerages, including five of our top-ranked online brokers, compete for your retirement dollars that you’ve saved with another company by offering cash incentives that range from $100 to $2,500, depending on how much you invest. Consider:

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E*Trade. Open a new IRA with $25,000 rolled over from an employer retirement account, and E*Trade will kick in a $200 bonus. For a rollover of $1 million or more, you’ll get $2,500.

Fidelity. Score a $100 bonus when you fund a new IRA with at least $25,000. Or roll over at least $50,000 from a 401(k) or IRA and Fidelity will award you a $200 bonus. You’ll earn a bonus of $2,500 if you roll over $1 million or more.

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Merrill Edge. A rollover IRA funded with as a little as $20,000 will earn you a $100 bonus. For accounts funded with $200,000 or more, Merrill offers a $600 bonus.

Scottrade. Funding a new IRA with $25,000 from your old 401(k) will earn you a $100 bonus. You’ll earn a $2,500 bonus if you roll over $1 million or more to a new IRA.

TD Ameritrade. Roll over $25,000 or more to a new TD Ameritrade IRA and you’ll receive a $100 bonus. Rollovers of $1 million or more earn a $2,500 bonus.

Charles Schwab and Vanguard do not offer rollover incentives or bonuses.

Don’t let a signing bonus sway you completely. Low commissions to trade stocks or exchange-traded funds or low fees on your investments can save you money in the long run. And finding a firm that suits your needs is far more valuable than a bonus. To see how leading online brokers stack up, see our guide to the Best Online Brokers.

Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.