Wealthsimple Review 2021: Investing Made Simple
Wealthsimple is a full-fledged financial service that provides a simple and approachable means to wealth management for people who have little-to-no investing experience.
When it opened its doors back in 2014, the Toronto-based financial platform debuted as a robo-advisor but has since offered a variety of financial tools that continue to help Canadians prosper financially.
This Wealthsimple review covers everything Canadians need to know about the financial service and their line of exciting products.
Below, you can find a breakdown of how each service works, along with frequently asked questions to steer rookie investors in the right direction. That direction, by the way, is towards a growing net worth and financial stability.
Table of Contents
A Wealthsimple Review for 2021Wealthsimple products provide some truly unique advantages to Canadians. Below, we'll explore Wealthsimple's five main products in greater detail, looking at what they offer and how their services are reinvigorating Canada's financial landscape.
Below, we’ll take a look at Wealthsimple’s main investing products, which include:
- Wealthsimple Invest: A robo-advisor with a multitude of registered and non-registered account options for hands-off investing.
- Wealthsimple Trade: A discount brokerage that facilitates self-directed stock trading with no commission fees and registered and non-registered account options.
- Wealthsimple Cash: A hybrid bank account that combines the high-interest of a savings account with the flexibility and freedom of a chequing account that allows customers to both spend and save money.
- Wealthsimple Crypto: A cryptocurrency trading platform that facilitates the purchase and sale of Bitcoin and Ethereum with no trading fees.
- Wealthsimple Tax / SimpleTax: An automated tax-filing service that files tax-returns in exchange for a donation, set at the user's discretion.
Wealthsimple Invest is a robo-advisor and automated investing platform that makes trading decisions on behalf of its clients using a computer-driven algorithm. It is widely considered to be one of the best robo-advisors in Canada.
Upon sign up, Wealthsimple asks new investors a series of general questions about their long-term financial goals and builds a portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) on their behalf.
These ETFs are generally composed of US, Canadian, foreign, and global stocks, government bonds, gold, and other equities.
This means investors with no prior experience are not required to choose their individual investments.
Moreover, Wealthsimple Invest also:
- Builds portfolios based on the investor’s risk capacity, which tells the automated investing service how much risk it will take when purchasing and selling securities,
- Works similarly to mutual funds but comes at a fraction of the price, as algorithms are trying to replicate the market performance in exception to a portfolio manager, and
- Offers an abundance of registered and non-registered accounts, including, but not limited to, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), personal, joint, and business, and more
Additionally, Wealthsimple provides Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Halal portfolios for customers seeking socially conscious portfolios or portfolios that align with Islamic law.
Pricing for the robo-advisor comes in three tiers: Basic, Black, and Generation, all of which offer their respective advantages for investors based on the amount of money they've invested.
- Basic is the primary tier available for deposits under $100,000. The package comes with a 0.5% management expense ratio (MER), automatic rebalancing, and dividend reinvestment.
- Black, the second investing tier, offers investors a balance between $100,000 to $500,000 a reduced MER of 0.4%. It also offers a dedicated financial planning session and tax-loss harvesting, along with the Wealthsimple Basic package’s advantages.
- Generation is the top investing package available with Wealthsimple, available for accounts with balances over $500,000. The MER rate for the Generation package is also 0.4%. It includes all previous features, with in-depth financial planning, assistance from a team of financial advisors, and a health care package, among other benefits, including those previously mentioned.
There is no minimum investment required to open a Wealthsimple Invest account, making it that much more accessible to new investors.
Wealthsimple Trade is an online brokerage and discount brokerage that allows investors to make self-directed stock and ETF trades on major exchange markets in the United States and Canada.
The online brokerage does not charge trade commissions, meaning stocks and ETFs can be purchased and sold at no cost. There is a small fee based on exchange rates if purchasing stocks or ETFs on any US market.
There are no minimum investment or minimum balance requirements when using Wealthsimple Trade, meaning customers can get started with as little as $1.
Customers can open a Wealthsimple Trade account online and use its dedicated mobile app to manage stocks or ETF investments. Plus, investors can place investments in a TFSA, RRSP, or a personal non-registered account.
Wealthsimple Cash is a hybrid bank account that combines a chequing account with a savings account.
The account offers an interest rate that currently sits at 0.75%*, with unlimited transactions, e-transfers, deposits, and withdrawals, and a monthly ATM fee reimbursement allowance.
Bonus: there is no minimum balance or monthly fees associated with this account.
Wealhsimple Cash also offers mobile cheque and direct deposit, with a titanium debit card and mobile payment expecting release within the coming year. The account also acts as a prepaid Visa credit card, making it an acceptable form of payment anywhere Visa is accepted.
At this time, Wealthsimple Cash is available exclusively online, with many of the features rolling out within the coming year.*Current as of May 2021
Wealthsimple Crypto is a cryptocurrency trading platform that facilitates the sale of two types of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Wealthsimple Crypto does not charge commission fees. There are also no account opening fees or account closing fees, and there is no requirement.There is a small operation fee of 1.5%* to 2%* fee per transaction.
Cryptocurrency investors can place their funds in a non-registered account.
Now, Wealthsimple customers can access Wealthsimple Crypto through their Wealthsimple Trade app.*Current as of May 2021
SimpleTax / Wealthsimple Tax
Wealthsimple Tax, formerly known SimpleTax, is an automated filing service that completes and submits tax returns to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on behalf of its clients. In 2019, Wealthsimple acquired the tax-filing service.
Wealthsimple Tax uses a donation-based pricing system that allows customers to pay as much as they'd like to submit their income tax report. Customers can even pay $0 if they wish.
One of the benefits of Wealthsimple Taxis it provides an easy and affordable means for income tax filing, which is something that should be taught in schools, but sadly, isn't.
Fortunately, Wealthsimple Tax realizes this gap and has allowed people to easily file their taxes with autofill features that allow Wealthsimple customers to fill their tax-return automatically by logging into their CRA account.
If you're filing for 2020, Wealthsimple Tax accounts for CERB payments, EI, moved houses, or other benefits related to the pandemic.
What is Wealthsimple?
Wealthsimple is a multi-platform banking and investing service operating out of Toronto, Canada since 2014.
In 2017, Wealthsimple expanded services south of the border to the United States of America and across the pond to the United Kingdom.
Today, Wealthsimple manages $5 billion in savings and investments for approximately 175,000 customers.
The wealth management platform initially provided a robo-advisor service but has since grown into a full investing and banking service, offering an online brokerage, hybrid bank account, crypto trading, and a tax-filing service.
Wealthsimple customers can access these tools through a sleek mobile app, available on iOS and Android or through their online interface.
Wealthsimple currently has over $8 billion in assets under management for 1.5 million clients.
In recent news, Wealthsimple recently received $750 million in funding, with investors including the likes of Drake, Michael J. Fox, and Ryan Reynolds, among others.
How does Wealthsimple Work?
Wealthsimple Invest uses a computer-driven algorithm to make investment decisions on behalf of the investor. That means Wealthsimple Invest clients are not required to make trading decisions or monitor their investments. It charges a Management Expense Ratio (MER) in exchange for managing these accounts.
Upon sign-up, new investors must fill out a questionnaire that details their age, savings goals, and risk capacity. Portfolios are built automatically on their behalf.
Wealthsimple Trade and Wealthsimple Crypto requires more active trading and requires a little more experience. Investors must make decisions on which stocks or ETFs to purchase.
Pros and Cons
Pros: The Good Stuff
No minimum investments: Wealthsimple is very accessible to common people, and a major part of this relies on it's no minimum investment requirement. Anyone can get started, even if they do not have any money to contribute at the time of opening an account.
No additional fees: Wealthsimple does not charge any fees outside of the MER charged through Wealthsimple Invest. There are also no inactivity fees or annual fees.
Socially Responsible Investing & Halal Investing Options: Wealthsimple builds portfolios with socially responsible investments or Halal investments for customers who value ETF packages that align with their values.
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
Higher MER than competitors: Wealthsimple Invest charges a bigger Management Expense Ratio than some of its competitors.
Delayed deposit times: Depositing funds from an external bank account into a Wealthsimple account can take up to three business days.
Our Final Thoughts
As a Wealthsimple customer of two years, I really don't have anything bad to say about the investing platform.
Many moons ago, long before I knew a thing or two about personal finance and investing, the thought of investing myself intimidated me. Wealthsimple made it very easy to start, and in no time at all, my money was working for me!
Currently, I use Wealthsimple Invest, Trade, Crypto, and Cash.
I enjoy Wealthsimple Invest because it made managing my wealth...simple. Additionally, it made it pretty easy to regularly contribute. My only pet peeve is that transfers tend to take a few days to process, but that is the case with many robo-advisors.
I use Wealthsimple Trade to purchase stocks and Wealthsimple Crypto to purchase cryptocurrency. Both experiences have been positive thus far, and I look forward to opening the app each day.
Finally, I typically use Cash to hold an emergency fund or to make transfers between accounts easier.
I love everything about Wealthsimple. From its sleek mobile apps to the service sit provides, I really can't recommend them enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! A major component of Wealthsimple’s success is the financial institution’s emphasis on keeping things simple. After all, it’s in their name.
All Wealthsimple products guide new investors through the entire process. While this primarily pertains to their robo-advisor, Wealthsimple Invest takes care of portfolio building and management.
Wealthsimple Invest is an automated investing platform (a portfolio containing stocks and bonds is specifically managed according to the investor’s risk tolerance).
When it comes to self-directed trading products like Invest and Crypto, the onus is on the investor to know what trading decisions they’d like to make. Aspects such as risk capacity depend on the type of investment, which the investor is responsible for their own decisions.
Absolutely. Wealthsimple guides customers through the entire investing process by providing several options for beginners with a little experience. Plus, you’ll find a variety of investment options and accounts that make it easy to create a solid portfolio.
If only life was that easy! The truth is, only you can make yourself rich. However, Wealthsimple can certainly help.
One of Wealthsimple’s many clever slogans is “Get Rich Slowly.” This phrase is an apt representation of how the platform works. Over a lifetime of contributions, Wealthsimple manages the money that helps Canadians increase their potential to earn, while steadily beating inflation. With regular contributions, Wealthsimple customers can achieve their goals for homeownership, retirement, or anything else they aspire to achieve in a shorter time.
The truth is, a dedicated savings plan and living below your means is the true path to financial success. While Wealthsimple can certainly help you get richer, only you can achieve financial independence.