A Legit Way to Invest? – Betterment Review
Whether you are looking to create a retirement plan or meet a financial goal, Betterment offers a service to increase your investment dollars. This company is a great starting point for beginner investors because it has no minimum deposit and a fee which is lower than many other companies. In a world with growing number of robo-advisors, Betterment is one of most competitive options out there. This Betterment review will discuss how you can get an improved experience that encourages the growth of your money!
What is Betterment?
More than anything, Betterment is a robo-advising company with the capacity to offer low-fee and no-hassle retirement options for individuals to secure their financial future or reach a financial goal. Betterment focuses on consumers that are coming to their platform for hands-off investing, retirement money, goal-based investment, and automatic rebalancing.
The company offers automatic rebalancing which keeps funds split proportionally between stocks, bonds, and cash investments. The company supports IRAs, Roth IRAs, Trusts, and Taxable accounts. Because of their approach to seeing investing as a long-term plan, Betterment works to lower taxes, fees, and diversifying your portfolio.
Betterment is offering up to 1-year managed for free depending on the amount of money put in your account within 45 days of making the account. (Your deposit amount must be greater than $500,000 to qualify for a full year free).
How Betterment Works
Currently, Betterment offers a free 15-minute call for potential customers looking to get started with the process. Help your money mature in the best way possible with a financial advising service.
There are two types of accounts available on Betterment, either Digital or Premium. Digital accounts get personalized financial advice, automatic rebalancing, tax-saving strategies, and all information in one place. The Premium plan goes beyond the Digital offerings because clients get in-depth advice on investments, unlimited access to financial planning professionals, and even a one-on-one relationship with a planner. Other key services offered by Betterment are:
- Betterment Advisor Network: The CFPs in Betterment’s network are vetted by the company to maximize your money. You get to know your advisor personally.
- Automated Portfolio Rebalancing
- Smart Deposit: Works with existing auto-deposits to invest excess cash from your checking account
- Betterment Premium: This plan option offers access to CFP professionals and licensed financial experts.
- Tax Loss Harvesting: This is a process which involves selling a security that has experienced a loss and then replacing it with a similar asset. It keeps your portfolio balanced and decreases your loss.
- Two-Factor Authentication: Protect your account by enabling two-factor authentication.
The Digital option has a flat account management of just 0.25% annually. This service has no account minimum. Betterment Premium has a higher price than the Digital option but also has an account minimum.
A minimum balance for a Premium client is $100,000 with a .40% annual fee. The Premium service comes with all of the Digital plan benefits and advice on investments with unlimited access to Certified Financial Planners.
According to this fee structure, the more your money grows and passes a minimum balance, the less of a percentage you pay on investments.
Steps to Get Started
Just sign up for Betterment on their website to monitor financial accounts in one place. When signing up for an account, all you need to do is start with an investment plan. Give your age, basics about your work, and your annual income. The website is easy to use and helps you go from there. After consolidating your accounts into this platform, your money works for you, all in one place.
Betterment is an easy to use interface, all you need to do is go to the website and click the “Get Started” button. Then follow these steps:
- Enter your age, retirement status, and annual income
- Choose an investment goal including “Safety Net,” “Retirement,” and “Investing.”
- Add your email address and password to start an account
- Fill out your contact information
- Enter information to verify your identity, which complies with the USA PATRIOT ACT
- Add your financial background including your employment status, annual household income, estimated investable assets, and answering questions
- Determine if you wish to roll over an old 401(k) or an IRA
- Answer regulatory questions including your status as a broker-dealer and company shareholder
- Set your account security questions and solutions and the account is created!
After account creation, fill out information about your savings and investing strategy:
- To set your plan, you must first confirm your email address
- Betterment gives a recommendation of stocks versus bonds based on your age
- Check out different strategies if you don’t like the recommended allocation with the “See other strategies” button
- Review your allocation by determining if you are willing to take on less or more risk
- Click ‘Finish Set Up,’ and you are ready to go!
- Set up your deposit details with an amount, frequency, a recurring payment, and the date of the withdrawal
Pros and Cons of Betterment
Ready to change your financial future for the better? Selecting a robo-advisor for growing your investments prepares you for situations like retirement, emergency costs, or even a planned vacation.
One of the biggest advantages of using Betterment is they do not manage funds of their own. Often, financial advisors make recommendations based on the strength of a fund and also if it is a fund of their own. Betterment doesn’t get commissions for recommending certain funds and doesn’t manage their own funds. This means a client is always getting an unbiased and fair opinion about their investments. Other pros of choosing this service include:
- The option to create a joint account with a spouse
- A primary, set fee with small and a transparent structure
- No cost for trading, transfer, or rebalancing
- Get personalized advice from experts whenever you need it
- Betterment helps lower your taxes because of its algorithm
- There is no charge for an account with no balance
- It is easy to cancel your account and no charge for doing so
- All accounts are in one place
- Customer support seven days a week
- Founded in 2008 with a launch in 2010, they’ve been around for a while
- There is a mobile app that is easy to use
- Boasting a return that is 2.66% higher than a typical investor
There are a few negatives associated with having a Betterment account. These include:
- Does not support all types of accounts
- A small percentage of users qualify for the free account management for a year
- Customer support is available on Eastern time
- To fully understand the product, some people need to conduct research
Both in professional and customer Betterment reviews, the service is rated highly. In a recent customer review Mariah of Orlando, Florida said, “The customer service was great…Anytime I called, the workers were always very friendly and helpful with answering my questions.
The customization options are great. I like that they offer many and that I was able to choose which one was the closest to matching me and what I could afford at the time.”
For people that like figuring out their investments and working with website features, Veronica of Chicago, IL says, “The ease of use is very good. Navigating the services it offers and other areas within are very much self-explanatory, which I admire since I favor being able to figure things out on my own.”
The competition is stiff when it comes to Robo-Advisors. The space is rapidly expanding, and there are many companies out there. The competition Betterment faces include:
- Wealthsimple: There is no account minimum for this company, but management fees are on average, higher than Betterment.
- Acorns: There is no account minimum, and this option is free for college students. This company has fewer assets under management than other groups.
- WiseBanyan: This company boasts being the only free service, but the company is newer than most and hasn’t proven the effectiveness of its fee structure.
- Charles Schwab: The service is free but they require an account minimum of at least $5,000, and they require a certain percentage of your funding to be in cash.
Should You Get Betterment?
As you've read in this Betterment review, this service is the right option for individuals looking to invest and watch their money grow. In fact, they boast better returns than the typical investor because of their smart rebalancing strategy. You have nothing to lose by getting started with investing through Betterment investing. Set and achieve goals with this company on your side.