Now more than ever people are trying to figure out where to roll their nest eggs.

The high rate of unemployment means more laid-off workers are moving their retirement accounts in search of a new home.

Wading through the choices can be daunting. But like most consumer choices, the answer comes down to cost and knowledge. The more you know and understand, the better deal you are likely to get.

While I don’t have room in this column to offer a long list of cost-effective options, I do recommend that you check out one new product that offers a simple, inexpensive way to build, manage and rebalance a retirement portfolio.

It’s an online service called MarketRiders. The company does not sell securities or other investments. Instead, investors can use its online technology to build and monitor a portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, which are low-costs index funds used by major institutions.

The system has three steps:

First, it requires you to input data, such as age, risk tolerance and the amount of money you plan to invest. Based on those factors, the program suggests a portfolio of ETFs from which you can select.

Next, MarketRiders sends you a list of trades to make at your online broker account such as Etrade, Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade. Once you confirm your purchases, you return to your MarketRiders account and input the exact ETFs you bought.

Finally, the company begins to monitor your account, suggesting any necessary changes based on the guidelines you set. For example, if you want to keep 10 percent of your assets in coal, MarketRiders will suggest the necessary trades if your coal holdings climb beyond that limit.

MarketRiders charges $9.95 a month, or $99.95 a year. You will pay additional charges to your online broker to buy and sell the ETFs, of course. Most charge from $5 to $13 per trade.

Clearly this product is for consumers who are comfortable with managing their own retirement funds. For those who prefer to sit down with a financial advisor or stockbroker, that’s fine. However, be sure you understand all the fees and commissions you will pay over time.

MarketRiders can even helps with that. Simply go to the company’s Web page,, and use the fee calculator. It can estimate the cost of rolling your nest egg into a new home.

Vicki Lee Parker is a personal finance columnist in Raleigh, N.C. She can be reached at or (919) 877-5719.

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