Can You Invest Your Roth IRA Money in ETFs?


Roth Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, allow savers to set aside money on an after-tax basis and then later benefit from tax savings. When you contribute money to a Roth IRA, you can choose different investments to put your money into. One of the available investment options is the ETF, or Exchange-Traded Fund.

Investment Options

  • When you put money into a Roth IRA, the investment options that you have are almost limitless. You could put your money into stocks, mutual funds, bonds and CDs. You can also put your money into ETFs. The only items that you cannot invest in with a Roth IRA are life insurance policies, collectibles and personal dealings. Other than these restrictions, you can put your money into anything, which leaves your options open for ETFs.

Exchange-Traded Funds

  • Exchange-traded funds are a type of investment vehicle that are very similar to mutual funds. With ETFs, a money management company makes the individual investment decisions on behalf of all of the investors in the fund. The fund manager purchases various securities to make up the portfolio for the fund. The difference with ETFs is that you can trade them on the stock market.

Expense Ratio

  • One of the reasons that many people might want to invest in ETF's as part of a Roth IRA portfolio is because of the lower expense ratio. ETF's are typically managed as a passive type of investment. This means that once the portfolio is created, not many of the assets are changed frequently. Since the fund managers have to do less work, they charge less in expense ratios.


  • One of the potential drawbacks of investing in ETF's with your Roth IRA is that you may have to pay more in transaction fees. With ETF's, you buy and sell them through a broker. When you buy or sell, you have to pay your broker a specific fee. If you buy or sell frequently, this can add up to a substantial amount of money that comes out of your retirement portfolio.


  • Investing in ETF's through your Roth IRA can provide you with investment options that are not available to you otherwise. ETF's can give you options like investing in gold or oil, as well as a specific niche in the market. These investment vehicles tend to be very specialized and can give you exposure to many different types of securities. They are often more exotic than mutual funds and because of this, you can find something that you want to invest in.


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