Whether you’re a veteran trader or still learning the different between a 401(k) and an IRA, robo advisors are helping change the investing landscape to match all experience levels and financial goals. Robo advisors are online, automated portfolio management systems that allow you to assemble a customized portfolio and access wealth management services at a fraction of the cost of a traditional financial advisor.
While we’ve given you some of the best investing apps, here are some of this year’s top robo advisors. And, while the best option for you will vary depending on your needs, these all offer low fees, low initial investments and comprehensive management features to help put your money to work.
Betterment’s $10 billion assets just go to show how popular it is. It’s a frequent choice for investors who are drawn to its portfolio management services (think Premium and Plus), automated tax-loss harvesting and passive investing approach. There’s no account minimum, and users are charged a 0.25 percent annual fee for the digital plan, or 0.40 percent for premium plans. Betterment will provide phone consultations and customer service, as well as create a diverse portfolio after users complete a risk questionnaire.
Unlike other robo advisors, Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios boast a “zero fee” structure. Instead, the portfolios earn money through management fees that range from 0.03-to-0.40 percent. With a $5,000 minimum balance required to open an account, a portfolio will be constructed for users based on a risk-tolerance questionnaire. The company offers IRAs, 401k, 401(k) rollover, retirement and trust accounts, and its platform is customized and goal-based.
Like Betterment, Wealthfront is another big hitter in the robo advisor field. The service is geared towards a variety of clients, including those who are just beginning their investment careers, and the minimum investment is $500, with no management fees until users have an account valued at more than $10,000.
Along with the usual suite of portfolio management services and different account types available, Wealthfront also offers value-add features — no matter how large or small your account.
Path, a financial planning experience, tracks your spending and saving patterns to provide recommendations and modify your habits to meet investing goals.
Wealthsimple has developed a following for its free access to human advisers, free portfolio analysis and free tax-loss harvesting. With its socially responsible investment (SRI) portfolios — unusual for value-based investors — it’s a terrific robo advisor. However, management fees are higher than others on this list; users will be charged 0.50 percent.
Ellevest’s goal is to change the gender gap in investing and allow women to take control of their finances, even factoring in women’s lower incomes, lifetime earnings and longer potential lifespans. Still, it’s a strong contender for advisors of all genders.
Account management fees start at just 0.25 percent and investors will get unlimited access to financial advisors; those with premium plans can even talk to CFPs. One of the only downsides is that it doesn’t provide free tax-loss harvesting.
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