5 Things Retirees Should Look for in a Brokerage

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The right brokerage account is more important than ever as a retiree.

Once you are retired, your investing habits tend to change. First and foremost, you may shift from adding money to your accounts to withdrawing money as you begin to live on your retirement savings. You'll generally also need to become more conservative in your investing style because you can't afford to take as many risks.

To make sure that you have the right brokerage firm for your next phase of life, be sure to look for these four features when picking a broker.

1. The right types of accounts

Chances are good that most of your money is going to be in a tax-advantaged retirement account as a retiree. So you need a broker that offers these kinds of accounts.

For example, if you want to roll over your workplace 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) so you have more control over your distributions or more investing options, you'll need a broker that offers a rollover IRA. The good news is, most brokerage firms do offer the common retirement account options -- but just make sure yours does before you sign up.

2. Low or no fees

As a retiree, chances are good you'll be on a fixed income. You can't afford to pay a lot of fees for your brokerage account when you don't have a paycheck coming in. So look for a brokerage firm that doesn't charge an account maintenance or inactivity fee or any commissions for trades that you might want to make.

3. Ease of distributions

You'll need to be able to structure your withdrawals in your preferred way to provide income as a retiree. And you need to make sure you can take required minimum distributions (RMDs) to avoid IRS penalties.

It's important that your brokerage firm provides an easy way for you to take money out of your account when you need it. The right broker may help you calculate your RMDs so you don't make any mistakes. Or they may allow you to set up automatic withdrawals so you can take the desired amount of money out on schedule without any ongoing intervention from you.

4. A wide array of investment options

Finally, you need to make sure that the brokerage firm offers all of the investment options that you could want as a retiree. You'll want to have a vast selection of options so you can maintain the appropriate investment mix as you age.

Having the right asset allocation becomes even more essential when you don't have a lot of time to wait out market downturns and hope for a recovery. It's much more convenient if you can keep all your retirement money in one brokerage account so you can easily see how your assets are distributed. But you'll need to make sure you can invest in all the different kinds of investments you want, including:

You've worked hard for your money, and you don't want a lot of hassle when you're aiming to protect and enjoy your nest egg. By looking for a brokerage account with these four features, hopefully you can find one that makes it simple and easy for you to invest and spend your retirement savings in your golden years.

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