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Choosing Investments for Your IRA

Opening an IRA can be an important step in implementing a retirement savings plan and can help you meet your goals of investing for growth, income or both.

One of the advantages of an IRA is having access to a wide range of investments, often more extensive than 401(k)s. When choosing investments, it's usually a good idea to think carefully about your own situation. Are you nearing retirement and more focused on investing for income? Or perhaps your needs are geared towards investing for growth? Clarifying your goals can help you select the right type of investment.

Many IRAs allow you to choose from individual securities, such as stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or a "single-fund" option, where the asset allocation is done for you.

Individual investment options at Fidelity

Need help choosing investments?

If you need help determining your retirement savings goals, you’re not alone. Many people don’t even know where to start or how to determine their needs. Fidelity offers one-on-one guidance through the process, as well as professional investment management services. We can talk with you about what you’re saving for, your situation today, and ideas for tomorrow. Then we’ll talk about investments to help get you closer to what you’re saving for.

Our Planning & Guidance Center can help you evaluate and update your investment strategy.

As the owner of a Fidelity IRA, you can build your own mix of investments from a broad offering that allows you to invest for income or growth. Some of these include:

If you’re considering mutual funds, there are a number of ways to choose them. The following tools can help you find the funds that may be right for your portfolio.

  • Fund Picks From Fidelity®
    Choose a category and get a list of up to 10 funds based on the tool’s predetermined selection criteria.
  • Fund EvaluatorSM
    Search for and compare more than 5,000 Fidelity and non-Fidelity funds according to criteria you specify.

Looking to simplify your investment choices?

Consider one of Fidelity's other options. Our single-fund options allow you to leverage Fidelity's expertise and can help take some of the uncertainty out of investing and provide diversification in one easy choice:

  • Fidelity Freedom® Funds1
    Pick a fund that can help take the guesswork out of building and maintaining an age-based retirement portfolio.
  • Fidelity Asset Manager® funds
    Choose a fund with an allocation that matches your risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment goals.

Another option is to have your assets professionally managed for you through Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Services®.2 This type of account offers professional, active investment management through a model portfolio of carefully selected mutual funds.

Buying and selling in an IRA vs. in a taxable account

In addition to an IRA, you may have or may be considering a taxable brokerage account for investing. Investing as much as you can through IRAs has a few advantages:

  • Trading investments in an IRA offers an important advantage over a taxable account—you'll defer taxes on your gains within an IRA until you take withdrawals (when you could be in a lower tax bracket).
  • Typically for both Roth and Traditional IRAs, most transactions within the accounts, including capital gains, dividends, and interest, incur no immediate tax liability, making them tax-advantaged ways to build assets.

Next steps

Open a Fidelity IRA 
Opening an account is easy.

Contribute to an IRA online lock_green
If you already have a Fidelity IRA, make more of your money work for you.

Planning & Guidance Center
See how well your investments align with your financial goals.

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. Fidelity cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

1. Fidelity Freedom® Funds are designed for investors expecting to retire around the year indicated in each fund's name. When choosing a Freedom Fund, investors should consider whether they anticipate retiring significantly earlier or later than age 65 even if such investors retire on or near a fund’s approximate target date. There may be other considerations relevant to fund selection and investors should select the fund that best meets their individual circumstances and investment goals. Except for the Freedom Income Fund, the funds' asset allocation strategy becomes increasingly conservative as it approaches the target date and beyond. Ultimately, they are expected to merge with the Freedom Income Fund.
2. Guidance provided by Fidelity through Fidelity Portfolio Advisory ServiceSM is educational in nature, is not individualized, and is not intended to serve as the primary basis for your investment or tax-planning decisions.
Guidance provided by Fidelity through the Planning & Guidance Center is educational in nature, is not individualized, and is not intended to serve as the primary basis for your investment or tax-planning decisions.
Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information.  Read it carefully.