Pros, cons and who should create an account

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Minimum account

$ 0 ($ 100,000 premium plan)

Commissions

0.25% digital plan; 0.40% premium.

Minimum account

$ 0 ($ 100,000 premium plan)

Commissions

0.25% digital plan; 0.40% premium.

Professionals

  • No minimum for a standard investment account
  • Goal-based planning, tax loss collection, charitable donations and socially responsible investments are available
  • Access to certified financial planners
  • Mobile app with external account sync options

versus

  • You will have to pay to consult a human consultant, unless you have the premium plan
  • Limited investment selection

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More information

  • Promotion: none at this time.
  • App Store Rating: 4.7 iOS / 4.5 Android
  • Consider it if: You want to access robo-advice with multiple levels of service.

Overall rating

Is the improvement right for you?

Betterment is an automated investment platform that offers robotic advice and customized, self-managed investment portfolios. It is best suited for practical investors who wish to use individual or joint accounts, IRAs, trust accounts and cash reserves or checking accounts.

The platform also offers a wide range of portfolio options using exclusively ETFs in its portfolio allocations. The Betterment mobile app is available on iOS and Android devices.

Improvement versus wealth

Betterment and Wealthfront are two of the oldest platforms in the robo-advisor space. Both offer automated portfolio management, with access to benefits such as cash accounts, tax loss collection, socially responsible investing, and more.

Betterment offers guidance to financial advisors, but Wealthfront does not (although it does allow its users to contact specialists with questions). Betterment also has a lower minimum account requirement than Wealthfront. You don’t need anything to get started with the Betterment Digital Piano. Wealthfront, however, has a $ 500 minimum.

Wealthfront is a better option for users who want to access a wider range of investment choices. Plus, it’s great for those who want to automate custodial accounts like 529 plans.

Upgrade against Vanguard

Betterment and Vanguard have both automated investing, but Vanguard is the best choice for all types of investors. With Vanguard, you have access to both self-directed and automated accounts. But you will be limited to automated investing in Betterment, so it’s not a great choice for those who want to trade on their own.

When it comes to robo-advice, however, with Vanguard’s basic automated account, Vanguard Digital Advisor, you would pay less than Betterment. The Betterment digital plan has a 0.25% fee, but Vanguard Digital Advisor only charges 0.20%.

Ways to invest with Betterment

Automated portfolio management

Betterment uses computer algorithms to build and manage customized portfolios. The platform also offers an FDIC-insured checking account, a cash reserve account (this has an APY of 1.60%), IRA, and a 401 (k). Plus, its pricing plans are simple to follow. It offers two options:

  • Digital enhancement: This plan has no minimum account requirements, but has an annual fee of 0.25%. It includes features such as tax loss collection, asset location, portfolio rebalancing and dividend reinvestment. Furthermore, to maintain a healthy level of risk, Betterment automatically adjusts the allocation of your portfolio as you get closer to achieving your goals. This level also offers a range of portfolio options, but does not include free advisor access.
  • Improvement Award: You will need at least $ 100,000 for the premium account, but you will have access to all the features offered by the digital plan as well as an unlimited individual CFP guide. Its CFPs also advise on other investments you hold outside Betterment.

You can also invest towards specific goals in Betterment. It currently offers six: retirement (savings), retirement (income), safety net, major purchases, general investments, and cash goals.

Types of portfolios

Betterment offers several portfolio options. The first, its Core portfolio, focuses on long-term investing by allocating your money to a global selection of equity and bond ETFs. Its portfolio of innovative technologies is aimed at companies with great growth potential. These include semiconductors, blockchain businesses, clean energy companies, and more.

Its three socially responsible portfolios – Broad Impact, Climate Impact and Social Impact – are ideal for those who want to make a positive difference with their investments. Finally, its Goldman Sachs Smart Beta portfolio targets companies that will outperform the market and its BlackRock Target Income portfolio works to protect your assets from losses by investing primarily in bond ETFs.

Types of investment

As for the investment types of Betterment, it mainly offers equity ETFs and bond ETFs. Many automated platforms offer ETFs, so its investment selection is in line with most competitors. However, some automated platforms offer alternatives. For example, Wealthfront has ETFs, index funds, and cryptocurrencies. Fidelity’s automated accounts – Fidelity Go and Fidelity Personal Planning & Advice – both offer Fidelity Flex mutual funds (these funds have no expense ratios),

Improvement: is it reliable?

The Better Business Bureau assigns Betterment a B rating. Ratings range from A + to F and reflect the office’s view of how well a company interacts with its customers. BBB says Betterment’s rating also stems from the fact that it has received 98 complaints against it.

Additionally, office ratings do not guarantee that a company is trustworthy or performing well. But they take into account a number of other factors, including the type of business, time spent in business, customer complaint history, government licensing and actions, and advertising issues.

The company has closed 41 complaints in the past 12 months and there are currently no unresolved complaints, according to its BBB profile.

Improvement: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long do you need to open a Betterment account?

Betterment’s simplest account, the Digital Plan, has a $ 0 minimum account, but you’ll need at least $ 100,000 to get started with its premium account. One of the things the premium account offers that the digital plan doesn’t offer is an unlimited individual CFP guide.

Is Betterment Worth the Fee?

Many robo-advisors, such as Wealthfront and SigFig, also have a 0.25% commission option, but you can also find other automated platforms that don’t have advisory fees (for example, SoFi Automated Investing and Ally Invest Managed Portfolios).

The answer to this question largely depends on what you are looking for in an investment platform. If you’re looking for access to low fees, human advisors, goal-focused strategies, and features like tax loss collection, then Betterment might be a good choice for you.

How reliable is the improvement?

Betterment is a legitimate platform that has been in business since 2011. In addition to its B rating with the Better Business Bureau, the robo-advisor is also registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is a member of the Financial Regulatory Authority of the sector (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

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