The popularity of Robo Advisors is inevitable. During the olden days, you need to consult and pay an expensive financial advisor for investment allocation/advice and portfolio management. On most occasions, the service only comes as part of a larger bundle of financial services. Robo Advisors makes it easier for the average Joe to manage investment portfolios, and a majority of services even offer free allocation advice without charging management fees.
Robo Advisors only cost between a quarter and a third of what human advisors will typically charge for the same amount of service. They can come in the form of either management or advisory fees, and may differ significantly from one service to the next.
Here are the best Robo Advisors with the lowest fees:
When talking about Robo Advisors with the lowest fees, there is no better place to start than with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. The service does not impose direct management fees for any size of account balance. What you get with Schwab is asset allocation, automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvestment. You can also enjoy tax loss harvesting if your account is worth more than $50,000.
The Wealthfront Robo Advisor does not charge any fees on account balances with less than $15,000 (with our link), yet despite this the service still offers portfolio management services. The service even goes one step further by offering tax loss harvesting on any account balance. The service only charges a competitive 0.25% to account balances over $10,000 (or $15,000 with our link).
When talking about Robo Advisors with the lowest fees, the two-tiered management fee structure of Betterment is worth mentioning. The service offers a low 0.25% fee for their standard “Digital” plan with no minimum account balance. The fee for their “Premium” plan (perfect for balances over $100,000) is 0.40%, which is among the lowest in the market. This also includes tax loss harvesting and many other services.
TYPES OF MANAGEMENT FEES
The management fees of Robo Advisors can be levied in a variety of ways. A big majority of Robo Advisors charge management fees based on a percentage of your investment account, and the fees will adjust depending on the amount of your account.
There are Robo Advisors that charge a monthly fee, and the amount will also change depending on the size of your account balance. Yet there are services that offer basic advice and portfolio management with no management fees, but they will usually charge fees in order to obtain additional features and account services – some of which are standard on other Robo Advisors.
THE TYPICAL RANGE OF FEES
In general, the range of fees charged by the top Robo Advisors is actually quite wide, no matter which type of fee structure they employ.
For Robo Advisors that levy a set fee, it can typically range from $10 or less as a one-time payment, to a monthly charge of anything between $1 and $300 depending on the size of your investor account. General percentage management fees are below 1%, and typically range from 0.15% to a top end charge of around 0.9%.
WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY
Robo Advisors offer automated portfolio management services such as asset allocation advice, portfolio rebalancing, dividend reinvestment and tax loss harvesting.
Not all of those services are always available. The services mentioned can either be lacking, or can only be provided if you pay an added charge. It is important to always consider what you get for you money in terms of services before selecting the best Robo Advisor for you.