The Best Robo-Advisors – USA

Best Robo-Advisors: Digital Platforms for Americans

There are a myriad of investment options available to American citizens today: trusts, bonds, equities, stocks, real estate, mutual funds, and much more. For new, inexperienced investors, getting started is usually an overwhelming experience. Cue, robo-advisors. Merely a decade old, but well established in America’s wealth management market, robo-advisors are helping close the divide between the novice investor and their opportunity to start investing, with the best robo-advisors in the USA among the top available in the world. Since anyone can start investing, robo-advisors are becoming more commonplace among Americans looking for a hands-off, low-cost investing platform to help them reach their long-term financial goals. Here you’ll find reviews the best robo-advisors in the USA along with educational content to help steer amateur investors (and their finances) in the right direction.

Best Robo-Advisor for New Investors

Betterment

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$95

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$95

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$95

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$95

On Betterment Website

WealthFront

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$95

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$95

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$95

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$95

On Wealthfront Website

Schwab Portfolios

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$95

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$95

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$95

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$95

On Charls Schwab Website

SoFi Wealth

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$95

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$95

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$95

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$95

On SoFi Website

Betterment_Logo

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$95

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$95

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$95

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$95

The Best Robo-Advisors for all Levels of Investors

Each robo-advising service we review comes with its own benefits. Because each investor’s financial goals are different, it’s important to find an advisor that matches your needs.

1. Betterment

  • Fees: (0.25% - 0.40%)
  • Minimum Investment: None
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Betterment is a New York-based robo-advisor operating since 2008. It is the first robo-advising service to enter the financial market.Today, Betterment’s reputation and trustworthiness are well established among many investors in the United States. In 2019, the financial planning service managed $16.4 billion in assets for half a million American customers. So yeah, that’s a lot of assets.

It’s no surprise, either. Betterment’s pricing provides a low-cost wealth management service accessible to most Americans, with outstanding ease-of-access tailored to new investors. Moreover, Betterment offers Digital and Premium investment portfolios. The Digital package comes with an annual fee of 0.25%, while the Premium package charges an annual fee of 0.40%.

Not only does Betterment build custom portfolios on behalf of the investor’s financial goals, with Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) portfolio management available, the financial service has evolved beyond a robo-advisor since its humble beginnings. Betterment now provides additional spending and saving options, such as a no-fee checking and saving account. And, there is no minimum investment required to start investing with Betterment.

2. Wealthfront

  • Fees: 0.25%
  • Minimum Investment: $500
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Wealthfront is a financial management platform operating out of Pablo Alto, California since 2008. It is among the first robo-advisors to go into business in the United States. As of last year, Wealthfront managed over $20 billion in assets. Imagine finding that between couch cushions next time you’re looking for change for the vending machine!

This financial service builds portfolios for investors that cater to their specific saving goals, such as retirement or education planning. They also provide tax-loss harvesting on all investment accounts, with no account minimum.

Wealthfront touts a 0.25% advisory fee, said to be lower than a quarter of its competitors.

Additional fees, taken out of the investment’s gains, range from 0.06% to 0.13%. That means investing $1,000 with Wealthfront will cost $0.25 per month. They also offer several additional banking products and services, making it an all-encompassing financial platform for its spending, saving, investing, and borrowing needs presented in one neat, accessible package.

Keep in mind that there is a minimum investment requirement of $500 to open a Wealthfront account.

3. Schwab Intelligent Portfolio

  • Fees: (0% - 30%)
  • Minimum Investment: $5,000
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Charles Schwab is a heavyweight in America’s financial market.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Charles Schwab is the 14th largest financial institution in the United States, managing $3.25 trillion in assets.

FYI – Charles Robert Schwab is still the involved in the company he started back in 1963. He retired as CEO but is still the chairman and largest shareholder. His net worth is estimated at $8.2 billion. Good for you, Charlie.

Moving on. The asset management firm offers a robo-advising service called Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, with various low-cost Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) investing options suitable for retirement and education planning and more.

Charles Schwab offers two pricing tiers: Intelligent and Premium. Intelligent Portfolios come with no advisory fees or commissions.

Premium Portfolios charge a flat rate of $30 each month, with access to certified financial planners, with a one-time advisory fee of $300 opening premium portfolios. Furthermore, tax-loss harvesting is available for portfolios with a balance of $50,000 or more and Charles Schwab offers 24/7 customer service to all of its customers.

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios requires a minimum investment of $5,000 to open an account. The Premium package requires a minimum investment of $25,000.

4. SoFi Wealth

  • Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment: $1
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

SoFi (Social Finance) is a financial service based in San Francisco, California. When it opened its doors in 2011, SoFi issued student loans.

Today, SoFi provides an impressive line of low-fee financial products, including SoFi Active Investing, its robo-advisor. As of 2019, the wealth management firm has $12 billion in assets under management.

SoFi Wealth is an accessible and user-friendly wealth platform for investors seeking a hands-off investing experience. Custom portfolios are pre-built on behalf of clients after they’ve answered a brief questionnaire assessing the purpose of their saving goals and diversified according to their risk tolerance. SoFi charges no management fees, with a low-cost fee expense ratio, ranging from 0.30% to 0.80%.

Plus, at no additional charge, SoFi provides access to a dedicated team of financial advisors.

A minimum investment of $1.00 is required to open a SoFi Wealth investing account.

5. Wealthsimple

  • Fees: (0.40% - 0.50%)
  • Minimum Investment: None
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Wealthsimple is a Canadian investment management platform based in Toronto, Canada. As of 2017, Wealthsimple has expanded its financial services and offices to the United States and the United Kingdom, with $5 billion in assets currently under management.

Like many wealth management platforms, Wealthsimple offers a variety of saving and investing products. Their robo-advisor platform, Wealthsimple Invest, offers special pricing and perks based at different investing tiers, all through an incredibly sleek mobile and online platform. Moreover, Wealthsimple offers tiered pricing options from 0.40% to 0.50%, with an expense management ratio ranging between 0.09% to 0.25%.

Wealthsimple Invest also offers Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Halal Investing portfolios, making the investing platform suitable for all types of investors. There is no minimum investment required to start investing with Wealthsimple Invest.

6. Ellevest

  • Fees: Tiered ($1 - $9)
  • Minimum Investment: None
  • Mobile App: iOS
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Ellevest is a New York-based investing platform that takes a unique approach to automated wealth management in big ways. Founded in 2014, Ellevest’s approach to financial management is created for women by women and focuses on closing the gender divide in the investing space.

Anyone is welcome to use the platform, and their pricing is suitable for those looking to keep their expenses low and their returns high. Ellevest’s wealth management platform provides low-cost investing and banking solutions that make the platform incredibly appealing to all investors. Their robo-advising service comes at three tiers with flat-rate pricing, monthly pricing of $1, $5, and $9.

These pricing tiers all offer different solutions, such as access to workshops and dedicated financial planners with additional features exclusive to Ellevest. Higher pricing tiers offer retirement planning and multi-goal investing.

There are no minimum investment requirements to start investing with Ellevest.

7. Acorns

  • Fees: Tiered ($1 - $5)
  • Minimum Investment: None
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Acorns is a financial technology company operating out of Irving, California. They provided a vast array of financial products, such as spending and saving accounts, and various self-directed and automated investing options. As of last year, the fintech company currently manages $1.2 billion in investor assets.

Acorns provides a robo-advising service, known as Acorn Invest with investing options, including assets and diversified portfolios. They also provide Socially Responsible portfolios.

Pricing with Acorns comes at a tiered, flat-rate. Monthly fees range from $1 to $5 each month. Depending on the plan chosen, each tier provides a different variety of tools and options. In addition, Acorn Invest offers Lite pricing at $1 per month, which comes with a taxable account and basic features. The Personal pricing plan, at $3 per month, offers investors guidancacoe for retirement planning. Family, the most expensive tier, at $5 per month, offers investment management options for children and includes the perks mentioned previously.

Acorn Invest customers also have access to a financial advisor team who can provide portfolio analysis and help steer new customers in the right direction. There is no minimum investment required to start investing with Acorns.

8. Personal Capital

  • Fees: Tiered (0.49% - 0.89%)
  • Minimum Investment: $100,000
  • Mobile App: Yes
  • Online interface: Yes
  • Portfolio rebalancing: Automatic

Personal Capital is a wealth management service and robo-advisor based in Redwood Shores, California. This year, the firm currently manages $12.6 billion in assets for 24,200 customers across the United States.

What makes Personal Capital shine is the full access to investment and financial planning tools that they provide customers, including retirement planning, net worth analysis, investing fee analysis, and more.

Personal Capital offers a variety of investment options for people looking to invest large sums of money, with Private and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) options available. Fees are higher than regular robo-advisors, sitting at 0.49% to 0.89%, but come with a dedicated portfolio manager. Furthermore, the minimum investment required to open a Personal Capital account is $100,000. Investing over $200,000 into an account will come with two financial advisors. Not bad at all.

Do the Robot: What is a Robo-advisor?

A robo-advisor is a wealth management platform that uses a computer-driven algorithm to invest on behalf of its clients. It has nothing to do with Robocop, unfortunately. Not the reboot, nor the original.

  • Robo-advisors create portfolios on behalf of investors in accordance with their financial goals and risk capacity.
  • They invest in low-cost Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Index Funds.
  • Unlike (human) financial advisors, robo-advisors do not come with active management, leading to lower annual fees, making them a cost-effective option for beginners or passive investors.
  • Robo-advisors offer investment solutions that are customer-focused and cost-effective and provide something for anybody.

How to choose a Robo-Advisor

There are a few aspects to consider before perusing the best robo-advisors listed above and signing up. Considering that investors invest over the course of several years or throughout an entire lifetime, finding the right robo-advisor can save you time and money.

Here’s what to consider when choosing a robo-advisor.

Fees

Like any transaction, fees are the most important aspect of choosing a robo-advisor. After all, fees stand between the investor and the maximization of their investment return.

In the United States, robo-advisors fees are called management fees, a percentile paid to the robo-advisor as a cost of providing the service. An additional fee, known as an expense ratio, is paid to the investment for operating expenses. A handful of robo-advisors charge a flat monthly rate to manage a portfolio. Depending on the amount invested, this might be more cost-effective.

Since robo-advisors undercut the high cost of financial advisors with lower fees, the market is fairly competitive, with plenty of low-cost options available. That said, it pays to compare.

Minimum Investment Requirements

A minimum investment is often (but not always) required to open an account with a robo-advisor. It serves as the lowest amount that a customer is required to invest when opening an account. New investors will quickly learn whether they can open an account with or without a minimum investment. In some cases, minimum investments can be as low as $1. In other cases, they can equal the GOP of a small country. We kid. But, it’s important to determine the minimum investment required of you before you sign up with any robo-advisor.

Accessibility

Robo-advisors are undoubtedly ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and finance, with all providing online and mobile access to their services. However, some robo-advisors might not be able to accommodate both. Consider online and mobile access, and if the latter supports iOS or Android.

Customer support

As a new and inexperienced investor, access to customer support is crucial when shopping for a robo-advisor. Most digital advisors offer telephone, e-mail, or online chat to its customers. You may also want to consider if the robo-investing service provides access to financial planners or financial advisors.

While services like these go against what robo-advisors are about, they are becoming more commonplace as additional services provided. While seldom, some robo-advising services might even provide in-person consulting.

Promotions

In this emerging and highly competitive space, there is no shortage of promotions on the robo-advising market. Wealth management services are brimming with sign-up offers ready to earn customers’ business. Often, promotions include free trading or consultations, discounts on pricing, or additional perks.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following sections illustrate frequently asked questions about robo-advisors, including what a robo-advisor is, why they’re beneficial to new investors, and how to choose the best one to invest your money.

Robo-advisors are suitable for beginner investors who don’t know much about self-directed investing. Wealth management platforms help bridge this gap by creating a one-size-fits-all approach to investing since robo-advisors invest in stocks, bonds, and other investments on your behalf. Portfolios are pre-built to fit their specific investing goals with immense accuracy, with the investment decisions made on behalf of the investor.

Novices don’t need much to get started, either. All robo-investing platforms facilitate online registration, with many that do not require a minimum investment. That means anyone can start investing immediately. Likewise, the sign-up process is catered to beginners. Robo-advisors ask new investors a series of questions that pertain to their unique financial situation and long-term investing goals.

The wealth management service builds a portfolio according to their risk tolerance, which determines how much they’ll risk. And, unlike stocks, robo-advisors require little monitoring and decision making on behalf of the client, making them a great low-cost investing option for beginners.

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