Betterment

8.5

Fees and Deposit Limits

8.2/10

Flexibility

8.4/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Account Types and Services

8.1/10

Budget Flexibility

8.7/10

Pros

  • No minimum deposit
  • Great flexibility for hands-on investors (Betterment Premium)
  • Full range of account varieties available
  • No trade or transaction fees (Digital plan)

Cons

  • $100,000 minimum deposit required for Premium plan
  • Cannot work within current brokerage accounts
Betterment Review
Is Betterment the ideal automated investing service for you? We’ll answer that question with our comprehensive Betterment review for 2018.
 
Betterment was one of the very first robo advisors in the world of automated investing. The company manages more than $13.5 billion AUM (Assets Under Management) in 2018, and have well over 200,000 clients.
 
We’ll show you the pros and cons of the robo advisor so you can decide if Betterment is worthy of your investment funds in 2018.

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Betterment Fees

fees priceFirst off, we’ll start our Betterment review by analyzing the management fees and deposit limits. Back in 2016, Betterment offered the distinct benefit of not imposing any transaction, trade or rebalancing fees. This robo advisor assesses or rebalance fees according to your account balance.

But now, the same holds true with the Betterment Digital Plan.

Betterment Digital

This is the traditional hands-off Robo Advisor that gives advice on how to save for your retirement, saving for other financial needs (buying a new house or a new car), and choosing the best IRA. You get all this with no minimum balance, and it will only cost you 0.25% per year.

This is not bad. Considering the fact that the Betterment Digital Plan includes tax loss harvesting, automatic rebalancing, tax-coordinated portfolios, and unlimited access to licensed financial experts, this service will also allow you to sync all your external accounts so you can get a clearer view of all your investments.

Now, Betterment offers a new plan: Betterment Premium.

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Digital

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Premium

Betterment Premium

Think of Betterment Premium as an upgraded version of the Betterment Digital plan. You get unlimited access to CFPs who track the changes in your investment accounts, even when you’re sipping coconut water and soaking up the sun in Barbados.
 
Betterment Premium also gives you access to expert advice on all your investments outside of Betterment so you can manage and grow your real estate or individual stocks and grow your external investment portfolio.

This plan is perfect for those who own multiple assets or want to be more involved, while getting access to unlimited financial advice. The Betterment Premium Plan requires an initial deposit of $100,000 and has a fee of 0.40%, so it’s definitely more suited for high-net-worth investors.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a crucial aspect in our Robo Advisor reviews. Betterment is a fully-automated investment service, with the option of being more hands-on with Betterment Premium.

This is Betterment’s way of attracting more investors; especially big players who want more control and flexibility in managing their accounts. The Premium plan comes at a price, but it’s hard to fault Betterment when it comes to flexibility. We do wish they had a lower account minimum for the Premium plan.
 
However, kudos to Betterment for retaining the Digital plan. This means that after signing-up, transferring your funds, and making some early allocation decisions, the portfolio management process is taken completely out of your hands.
Betterment takes control of reinvesting dividends and rebalancing your portfolio, so there is no need for you to do anything.
 
Sounds perfect for newbie and hands-off investors, right? Indeed, as long as you prefer the hands-off approach to investing. This is the core of what a true robo advisor is.

Ease of Use

Easy

The whole point of using a robo advisor is to make your life easier and to make you money from your investments. With that in mind, we’re proud to say that Betterment is easy to use, and it starts with the quick and simple sign-up process.
 
The first step is to link your checking account for quick deposits and withdrawals. Next, you’ll answer a few questions about your investment preferences, then you will receive your first portfolio advice.
 
The Betterment site itself also has some handy tools to help you understand the different types of investments. One tool will help to allocate your funds between stocks and bonds by giving allocation advice based on your age and retirement plans.
 
Betterment Digital remains one of the easiest robo advisors to use. It is a fully-automated service which automatically rebalances your portfolio and reinvests dividends with little supervision.
 
With Betterment Premium, you can talk to expert financial advisors to make sure your investments are optimized to their full potential.

Account and Investment Types and Services

 
An easy-to-use Robo Advisor with fair management fees is important, but if it doesn’t offer the accounts and investment types you need, then you better look elsewhere.
 
In terms of account types, Betterment covers a full range of options by providing taxable accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and even the Simplified Employment Pension version of those accounts (SEP IRAs) for individuals retiring from self-employment.
 
When it comes to types of investments, Betterment tends to focus on a selection of low-cost stocks, bonds and ETFs depending on your initial allocation.
 
Once the investments are made, Betterment will handle all the portfolio rebalancing and dividend reinvestments required.
 
It also boasts features such as tax loss harvesting for taxable accounts worth at least $50,000, and a service that buys fractional shares to ensure that the cash in your portfolio is invested.

Suitability for Different Investment Budgets

Betterment plans animated

Betterment Digital is a solid choice for newbie investors. The lack of a minimum deposit makes Betterment accessible for any budget, big or small. You don’t have to pay trade, rebalancing or any transaction fees, either.
 
If you have a larger sum to invest (over $100,000) we would suggest going with Betterment Premium. The choice is yours.

Summary

Betterment is one of the longest-established Robo Advisors online. It should come as no surprise that they are an excellent choice for newbie investors, especially if you choose the hands-off Betterment Digital plan.
 
The full range of account types and features (including automatic rebalancing and automatic dividend reinvestment) are impressive.
 
Added extras like tax loss harvesting (for accounts over $50,000) make Betterment one of the best robo advisors around.
 
Betterment is a brilliant choice for many, but the Premium plan is only suitable for investors with a higher amount to invest.