Investing Professionals, Cons & Options

Betterment is likely one of the most well-known robo-advisor platforms in the marketplace. Since its founding greater than a decade in the past, it has grown to incorporate inexpensive banking and monetary planning providers that allow you to handle most of your monetary life in a single place.

The Betterment platform is primarily a robo-advisor, but in addition offers prospects entry to stay human monetary advisors.

Contemplating an account? On this Betterment evaluation, we’ll inform you every little thing it is advisable to know.

What Is Betterment?

Betterment is a monetary providers firm that gives funding, banking and private finance planning on-line and thru the Betterment app. It’s greatest referred to as a robo-advisor for its automated investing service.

Like another robo-advisors, Betterment presents custom-made funding and monetary planning to individuals who can’t typically afford skilled funding advisors or monetary planners.

Betterment Options

Betterment is on its approach to changing into a one-stop store for all of your monetary wants.

Its vary of monetary services and products can cowl your spending, saving and investing targets, whether or not you’re a seasoned investor considering crypto and tax-loss harvesting or opening a retirement account for the primary time.

Betterment Assessment: Providers and Options

Function Particulars
Minimal stability $0
Account administration price $4 a month or 0.25%
Premium stage choice Sure
Portfolio combine Diversified mixture of ETFs
Socially accountable funding portfolios 3 portfolio choices
Retirement account choices Roth, trad. or SEP IRAs
Faculty financial savings choices No
Tax-loss harvesting Sure
Computerized rebalancing Free on all accounts
Entry to human advisors Sure, for a price
Checking account/money administration account Checking & financial savings
Customer support (646) 600-8263

How Does Betterment Work?

Betterment is a robo-advisor that lets you choose a portfolio aligned together with your funding targets. You’ll deposit funds for funding (with out having to fret a few minimal stability requirement).

From there, Betterment can take over the investments for you with account administration charges decrease than some brokerage providers.

Utilizing complicated algorithms, the robo-advisor will handle your investments for you, with options like automated rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. You can even join with a human monetary advisor as wanted, however relying in your account stage, this may occasionally come at a excessive value.

Along with investing, Betterment presents a checking and financial savings account for simpler cash administration.

Right here’s what occurs whenever you open an account with Betterment.

Opening an Account

Betterment doesn’t have a minimal stability requirement, in contrast to lots of its robo-advisor rivals, together with Wealthfront.

This implies you can begin investing on Betterment with simply $10 if you’d like.

To create a Betterment account, you’ll be able to join on-line together with your e mail handle.

Betterment is all about goal-based investing. You may set targets for retirement financial savings, retirement revenue, an emergency fund, a serious buy or simply normal investing, and Betterment will allocate your investments based mostly on danger and different elements.

After coming into your e mail, you’ll choose a number of of those targets:

  • Handle spending with a checking account.
  • Save money and earn curiosity.
  • Make investments for a long-term aim.
  • Save for retirement.

As your robo-advisor, Betterment makes use of this data to suggest the fitting stage of financial savings and correct mixture of investments to show your targets right into a actuality.

Betterment’s algorithms and expertise construct a singular funding portfolio for every kind of aim you choose.

From there, you’ll join exterior monetary accounts to fund your Betterment portfolio and get a holistic take a look at your funds.

All  Betterment Digital plan buyers get entry to the next account varieties:

  • Particular person taxable accounts
  • Tax-advantaged particular person retirement accounts (conventional IRA, Roth IRA or SEP IRA)
  • Joint taxable account
  • Belief accounts
  • Money Reserve account: A high-yield money account
  • Checking account

You may all the time tweak your targets, timeline and account varieties. For instance, you’ll be able to go for a extra aggressive or extra conservative asset allocation inside any aim kind, or choose from a handful of extra portfolio methods, resembling socially accountable investing.

Betterment Charges

With Betterment, you’ll pay account administration charges, relying in your account stage:

  • Betterment Digital Plan: $4 per thirty days. When you keep $20,000 or extra in your accounts or arrange recurring deposits of $250 or extra per thirty days, a 0.25% price applies.
  • Betterment Premium Plan: 0.40% annual price.

When you don’t need an funding account (only a checking account), you’ll be able to open a no-fee checking account with Betterment and get a Visa debit card, plus limitless ATM reimbursements globally.

Premium Plan

Clients with a $100,000 minimal stability in Betterment accounts can decide into the Betterment Premium plan for an account administration price of 0.40%.

Premium prospects get extra in-depth monetary recommendation and limitless entry to cellphone calls with a monetary advisor.

For prime balances, you’ll obtain a 0.10% low cost on the portion of your family stability above $2 million.

On all accounts, you’ll additionally pay some charges related to buying and selling specific exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index funds and mutual funds. Betterment’s common expense ratios are round 0.11%.

The account administration price and expense ratios are the one charges you’ll pay on Betterment.

Professional Tip

An expense ratio reveals the portion of an ETF’s funds which might be used for overhead, quite than invested. Expense ratios are proven as a proportion; the decrease, the extra of your cash can earn a return.

How Betterment Invests Your Cash

Betterment’s core philosophy for portfolio administration relies on Trendy Portfolio Principle — the trade customary that claims you’ll be able to scale back your danger and improve your returns by spreading investments throughout totally different asset lessons.

Principally, Betterment gained’t put all of your monetary eggs into one trade or firm’s basket, so that you’ll take much less of a success if any specific market plummets.

Professional Tip

An asset class is a bunch of issues you’ll be able to put money into, like shares, bonds, actual property or cryptocurrencies.

Portfolio Combine

The Betterment core portfolio consists of stock- and bond-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with asset allocation optimized for development. It can robotically rebalance your portfolio based mostly in your danger tolerance and time horizon.

You may go together with that core portfolio or select a distinct curated technique based mostly in your investing targets:

  • Goldman Sachs Sensible Beta Portfolio: Constructed by Goldman Sachs, this portfolio technique makes use of a non-traditional strategy to monitoring the efficiency of shares in an index (known as superior indexing) to enhance your returns.
  • BlackRock Goal Earnings: This 100% bond portfolio constructed by BlackRock is a “target-income portfolio,” which goals for much less danger and better return from revenue by defending you from market volatility.
  • Revolutionary Expertise Portfolio: This portfolio will increase your publicity to pioneering tech corporations in rising areas like clear vitality, digital actuality and synthetic intelligence. It shares similarities with the core portfolio, however swaps exposures to worth shares with an allocation to the SPDR S&P Kensho New Economies Composite ETF.

Have your personal funding technique? You may decide to regulate the load of particular person asset lessons inside your portfolio, as an alternative of going with Betterment’s suggestions. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to’t select particular person corporations to put money into.

Betterment buys fractional shares of shares — parts of fairness that aren’t a full inventory. Which means all of your cash shall be invested. Brokers that solely purchase full shares can’t essentially make investments your full deposit, so that you’d usually have leftover money sitting in your account not incomes a return.

Socially Accountable Investing

Socially accountable investing (SRI) is an investing technique that goals to cut back portfolio publicity to corporations with a destructive social influence (resembling companies that revenue from poor labor requirements or unhealthy environmental practices) whereas growing publicity to corporations with a constructive social influence.

Betterment offers customers not one, however three totally different socially accountable funding portfolios to select from.

  • Broad Influence Portfolio: That is Betterment’s normal ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing choice. The portfolio goals to provide publicity to all features of social accountability, resembling decrease carbon emissions, moral labor administration and larger board range.
  • Local weather Influence Portfolio: This SRI portfolio invests in ETFs with a selected give attention to mitigating local weather change.
  • Social Influence Portfolio: The Social Influence portfolio focuses on supporting fairness and minority empowerment. It contains two extra ETFs with a give attention to range.

Crypto Portfolios

Betterment additionally presents crypto portfolios designed for long-term investing.

  • Universe Portfolio: The Universe portfolio encompasses a diversified assortment of greater than 20 cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and ethereum, that are thought of essentially the most well-established cryptocurrencies, make up roughly 50% of the portfolio.
  • Metaverse Portfolio: This portfolio focuses on cryptocurrencies serving to to construct a community within the Metaverse. Over 40% of the portfolio is comprised of crypto heavyweights bitcoin and ethereum, with smaller allocations to lesser identified cash.
  • Sustainable Portfolio: The Sustainable portfolio contains cryptocurrencies working towards lowering vitality consumption and decreasing carbon emission. Which means no bitcoin. Ethereum makes up the majority of this portfolio, with over 40%.
  • Decentralized Finance Portfolio: The Decentralized Finance portfolio focuses on crypto property inside the dangerous world of DeFi, which leverages blockchain expertise to assist peer-to-peer lending, borrowing and different monetary transactions. Nonetheless, bitcoin and ethereum make up greater than 40% of this portfolio.

Extra Betterment Options

Betterment does greater than robo-advising. Its different prime options embody banking providers and entry to human monetary advisors.

Checking and Banking Account

The corporate presents two money administration accounts: Betterment Checking and Betterment Money Reserve.

  • Betterment Checking: Get a fee-free checking account and debit card backed by nbkc financial institution. Betterment reimburses ATM charges and international transaction charges, and it doesn’t cost overdraft charges.
  • Betterment Money Reserve Account: Develop your financial savings with a no-fee, high-yield financial savings account (presently 3.75% APY however the price is variable and may fluctuate). It’s FDIC-insured as much as $1 million by means of 9 companion banks: The Bancorp Financial institution, Barclays, Citibank, Cross River Financial institution, HSBC, State Avenue Financial institution, Wells Fargo, First Web Financial institution of Indiana and Bell Financial institution.

Betterment additionally presents a joint checking account choice and joint financial savings accounts.

Tax Administration

Betterment presents automated tax-loss harvesting on each taxable account.

Tax-loss harvesting helps decrease your tax burden by lowering your general capital positive factors from investing.

It does this by promoting your shares and different property that drop in worth. You’ll take a loss, nevertheless it helps decrease your tax invoice by offsetting capital positive factors tax.

Betterment robotically manages the tax-loss harvesting characteristic, so that you don’t have to fret in regards to the particulars.

Betterment additionally presents a Tax-Coordinated Portfolio that spreads investments in sure property throughout taxable and tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Investments with a smaller tax chew are positioned inside a taxable account whereas tax-heavy investments are positioned inside tax-advantaged accounts.

Lastly, Betterment presents charitable giving. You may assist causes you care about by selecting to donate shares out of your taxable accounts to companion charities — and benefit from the tax advantages.

Entry to Human Monetary Advisors

Betterment presents entry to licensed monetary planners and customized funding recommendation.

Betterment Premium customers get limitless entry to human monetary advisors totally free.

Betterment Digital prospects can arrange a one-time cellphone name with a licensed monetary planner (CFP), however you’ll pay a excessive price for every session.

Packages embody:

  • Getting Began: 45-minute name to arrange your Betterment account. Price: $299.
  • Monetary Checkup: 60-minute name to evaluation your monetary state of affairs and funding portfolio. Price: $399.
  • Faculty Planning: 60-minute name to determine how a lot to avoid wasting and make investments for your loved ones’s schooling plans, together with tips on how to arrange your state’s 529 plan. Price: $399.
  • Marriage Planning: 60-minute name together with your companion for steerage on merging funds, together with budgeting, goal-setting and debt administration. Price: $399.
  • Retirement Planning: 60-minute name to evaluation your retirement accounts (in and outdoors of Betterment) to create a plan to remain on-target for retirement. Price: $399.

Buyer Service

Betterment’s website hosts a strong archive of FAQs and assets to reply normal questions on investing, private finance and the app.

Betterment prospects can even chat with monetary consultants by means of the app or guide a name to get customized recommendation from a human advisor.

For different inquiries, contact:

  • Banking: E mail [email protected] or name (718) 400-6898 Monday by means of Friday between 9 a.m. and eight p.m. ET.
  • Funding and normal assist: E mail [email protected] or name (646) 600-8263 Monday by means of Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m ET (closed on market holidays).
  • Betterment for Enterprise: Name (855) 906-5281 to ask about organising a 401(ok) in your staff.

Betterment for Enterprise

Companies can work with Betterment to offer an employer-sponsored 401(ok) plan by means of Betterment for Enterprise.

Professionals and Cons

All robo-advisors have their execs and cons. Listed here are a number of the benefits and disadvantages of Betterment.


  • Purpose-based robo-advisor.
  • Diversified funding portfolios based mostly on a consumer’s time horizon and danger tolerance.
  • No minimal stability requirement.
  • Fingers-off investing or versatile portfolios for extra superior buyers.
  • Free monetary recommendation from a human advisor (for Betterment Premium members).
  • Socially accountable portfolio choices.
  • Full monetary outlook whenever you hyperlink exterior accounts.
  • Banking with no charges and a excessive rate of interest on financial savings.
  • Tax-loss harvesting.
  • Computerized reinvestment of your dividends and automated rebalancing inside your portfolios.


  • Administration charges are comparatively excessive for funding accounts with low balances.
  • No borrowing choices.
  • No faculty financial savings account.
  • No choice so as to add particular person shares to your portfolio.

Betterment’s new price construction for funding accounts is an enormous downside for us. It was a flat 0.25% for property beneath administration, which made it an important deal for buyers with low account balances.

In November 2022, Betterment switched to a $4 month-to-month subscription price mannequin for Digital plans. That’s dearer than micro-investing apps like Acorns and Stash, which each cost $3 a month.

You may solely get the 0.25% price price when you arrange recurring deposits of $250 or extra per thirty days, or carry a stability of $20,000 or extra throughout your Betterment accounts.

That won’t appear to be an enormous deal, however think about this: In case you have $1,000 invested on Betterment, you’ll pay $48 a 12 months in charges. Beforehand, you’ll have paid simply $2.50.

This makes Betterments pricing a lot much less interesting to small buyers than it was.

Is Betterment Proper for You?

Betterment is a big impartial funding agency well-known for its user-friendly, accessible funding accounts. Relying in your monetary targets, it might or will not be an important match for you.

Betterment may be nice for you if:

  • You desire a tax-efficient funding account.
  • You’re new to investing and desire a easy approach to plan for long-term monetary targets.
  • You need to handle your banking, investing and financial savings multi functional place.
  • You need the comfort of a robo-advisor however stay hands-on together with your investments.
  • You’ve gotten exterior accounts, resembling an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and need to step up your investing recreation with out dropping observe of all of your accounts.
  • You like to put money into corporations based mostly on their environmental or social influence.

Betterment in all probability isn’t match for you if:

  • Your main funding aim is faculty financial savings.
  • You’re considering micro-investing.
  • You need to choose your personal particular person shares.
  • You intend to hold a low stability in your funding account.

The app is an efficient place to dip your toe out there — with only a $10 minimal funding. If you’re able to wade into the deep finish, premium choices and extra flexibility allow you to take the reins in your private funding technique.

If Betterment looks like a nasty match in your funding targets, think about one among our different picks for the very best funding apps.

Incessantly Requested Questions

Is Betterment Good for Freshmen?

Betterment is an easy-to-use funding app that may assist anybody simply getting began with investing.
There’s no minimal stability, you don’t want prior inventory buying and selling expertise, and a collection of free and inexpensive monetary planning instruments helps set you up with a long-term plan.

Can You Belief Betterment?

As a fiduciary, Betterment’s first accountability is to work in the very best curiosity of its purchasers — so it’s legally and ethically certain to make accountable selections together with your cash. It additionally doesn’t personal the funds it helps you put money into. It makes cash whenever you generate profits.
Your accounts are additionally SIPC-insured, and Betterment makes use of bank-level encryption to guard monetary data and private knowledge related together with your accounts. And it employs two-factor authentication to maintain your account safe.

Can You Lose Cash With Betterment?

You danger dropping cash with any funding, so your Betterment accounts may drop in worth. Keep in mind, all investing includes danger. Nevertheless, all of Betterment’s funding accounts are designed for long-term financial savings, so you ought to be ready to climate potential down-turns.
You may preserve short-term financial savings, emergency funds and spending cash in your Betterment Checking and Money Reserve accounts or exterior financial institution accounts, the place they aren’t topic to fluctuations within the inventory market.

Rachel Christian is a Licensed Educator in Private Finance and a senior author for The Penny Hoarder. Contributor Timothy Moore up to date this report.

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