Betterment Review

Donny Gamble
April 17, 2022
5.0
Personalincome rating

Betterment is the best all-around robo-advisor program that exists on the market for long-term growth. Their zero-minimum threshold is great, and tax-loss harvesting is a major benefit to newer investors with less experience.

Betterment logo
on Betterment's website
Betterment
FEES
0.25%
management fee
ACCOUNT Minimum
$10
PROMOTION

Up to 1 year of free management with a qualifying deposit

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The information provided on this page does not offer any personal financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual.

Key Takeaways

  • Better Synchronization: Betterment takes information and data from accounts outside of their own institution to create a better plan for investing your money.
  • Long-Term Performance: Better long-term growth than most other robo-advisor platforms out there, with a higher rate of return.
  • Distinct Investment Types: You can choose three different portfolio types: Core, Beta, and Retirement Income, to prioritize what’s important to you.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tax-Loss harvesting
  • Risk-adjusted portfolios
  • Track your finances
Cons
  • No REITs
  • Premium plan has a high minimum

Betterment poses itself as the best robo-advisor service out there, but how accurate is that? Turns out, as we reviewed it, we could find next to nothing wrong.

In this Betterment review, we’ll talk about how they have some of the best automated investing options out there, because they actually thought about the different types of investors and their various investment goals.

We critically reviewed every aspect of their robo-advisor service, from fee structuring to average growth and beyond. Let’s discuss what we found.

About Betterment

Betterment has existed since 2008, and intakes around $50M in annual revenue despite holding onto $29B in assets for their clients. While many financial institutions charge high fees and takes a lot, Betterment is dedicated to people over profits.

Headquartered in New York, NY, run by CEO Sarah Levy, Betterment is registered with the SEC and a member of the FIRA, with nearly 300 employees under its belt.

Betterment’s mission is centered around helping absolutely everyone invest, which is apparent with their no-minimum account threshold.

You can open an account for free and browse their options immediately, and the fee structure is extremely low as well. Betterment appears to be looking out for the average investor.

Services

With more than just robo-advisor services, you can take full advantage of what Betterment offers to really pad your portfolio and have someone else manage it entirely if you’re interested in trading ETFs.

Everything is flexible and designed to work with your investment style.

  • Robo-Advisor: That’s why we’re all here reading this right now! Betterment’s robo-advisor is customizable with your specific financial goals in mind, so you can invest the way you want to.
  • Account Management: Want your account managed by an individual person? These are specifically for ETF programs and not robo-advisors, and range depending on how much you have invested.
  • Financial Packages: Advisory sessions can cost from $299 to $399 per session, but are widely educational and help you invest intelligently.
  • Cash Management: This isn’t a paid-for service, but rather a way to hold cash in your Betterment account if you want to access it. You can also earn up to 0.35% in variable interest, while not as good as matching inflation, it’s better than most savings accounts out there.
  • Insurance: Cash reserve insured up to $1M, completely FDIC insured. Up to $250K FDIC insurance for checking accounts.

Pricing

Betterment’s pricing structure is not only extremely fair, but compared to their competitors, they’re practically providing services at a loss.

The fees they charge are beyond acceptable for the value and hands-free investment options that you get.

  • Management Fees ($5K Account): These fees for ETF accounts are usually around $12.50 per year.
  • Management Fees ($25K Account): These fees for ETF accounts are usually around $62.50 per year.
  • Management Fees ($100K Account): These fees for ETF accounts are usually around $400.00 per year.
  • Annual Fee: 0.25% fee for your account value each year. 0.40% for premium accounts.
  • Expense Ratios: The average expense ratio is 0.09%, although this is subject to change and specific to the Core offer/robo-advisor plan.

Who is Betterment Best For?

Betterment is best for anyone who wants to begin investing in ETFs and index funds to save slowly over time and build up retirement funding, while seeing a relatively conservative increase YoY.

Additionally, Betterment is a great choice for anyone who knows enough that they want to invest, but doesn’t know how to get started or doesn’t understand the intricacies of the stock exchange (to be fair, it feels like a part-time job to keep up with it all, and if it’s not your primary source of income then it’s difficult to maintain knowledge of).

This way, individuals can begin investing in their future without having to think about it. Fund the account, let the robo-advisor do the rest, and watch the returns roll in.

It’s the absolute best way to safely invest your money.

Compare to Other Advisors

M1 Finance logo
MANAGEMENT FEES
$0
ACCOUNT MINIMUM
$100
PROMOTION
Up to $2,500 Bonus
Personal Capital logo
MANAGEMENT FEES
0.49%-0.89%
INVESTMENT MINIMUM
$100,000
PROMOTION
6 months of free wealth management
Acorns logo
MONTLHY FEES
$3 to $5
ACCOUNT MINIMUM
$0
PROMOTION
$10 Sign Up Bonus

Betterment FAQ's

Can Betterment be trusted?

Yes, Betterment has been trusted since its inception nearly 15 years ago, and has provided its clients with nothing but top-tier service ever since.

While every company has its bumps and bruises along the way, Betterment has always been a trustworthy service that investors have counted on for long-term growth and risk-averse investing.

Betterment can be trusted to handle investment decisions better than most new investors who don’t have much experience yet.

Can I lose money with Betterment?

Yes, you can lose money with any investment platform or robo-advisor out there, no matter who you are or how much you put into your account.

However, Betterment’s robo-advisor is designed to follow one of three main account types that you choose, each with a varied degree of risk.

They are designed to make you as much money as possible in the long-term with smart investment choices, although nothing is guaranteed and even an algorithm can’t predict the market.

How does Betterment make money?

Fees are the main way Betterment makes money. With $29B+ in assets under management, they make fees on purchase orders and those add up over time.

Additionally, there are Digital Plans and Premium Plans that act as a subscription service. They also offer retirement planning, guided investing, and cash management.

Does Betterment sell any of my personal information?

Betterment states in their privacy policy “We will never rent or sell your information to anyone,” which is a pretty straightforward approach to privacy and personal information.

There are many companies that don’t outright say “We’re not going to sell your info” and spend thousands of words in a privacy policy to simply explain… well, nothing of value, really.

Betterment hits the nail on the head and makes sure you have no worries or questions about your personal information, and we truly value that.

Betterment

Betterment can help grow your money by making saving and investing easy. Invest in a tailored portfolio, set buckets for your goals, and earn rewards.

  • Betterment
  • Rating: 5
  • Reviewed by:
  • On April 17, 2022
  • Last modified:April 24, 2022

Review Summary:

Betterment will build you an efficient portfolio comprised of widely diversified, low cost ETFs.

Review of: Betterment

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 17, 2022
Last modified:April 24, 2022

Summary:

Betterment will build you an efficient portfolio comprised of widely diversified, low cost ETFs.

About the author 

Donny Gamble

I’m Donny. I’m a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.

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