Betterment is a popular robo-advisor investing platform, and it catches my attention when I want to start learning to invest. It uses computer algorithms and minimal human interactions to run your investment, which sounds smart and easy, this is also the reason why I write a Betterment Review.
I know how people feel about investing money. Stressful and anxious? I understand because I’ve gone through the same phase as you do at the moment. In this review, you won’t see me selling how good Betterment is or referring you to join Betterment to earn commissions. What I do today is to share all my findings on Betterment to know whether it suits me or not, and I believe you will get your answer by reading to the end of this review.
You did your researches well, so you came across my website to know more about Betterment. This is the first step to filter out bad platforms and keep our hard-earned money safe. Congratulations, you are on the right track.
Let’s explore the opportunity for normal people like you and me further down.
What is Betterment?
-Summary of Betterment-
Product Name: Betterment
Founders: Jon Stein and Eli Broverman in 2008
Product Type: Goal-based investing service(Robo-Advisor)
Price: Free to open an account and $199+ for financial advice packages
Rating: 9 / 10
Recommend: Maybe! It’s good for people who want to start learning to invest. But not so good for the experienced.
Betterment was founded by Jon Stein and Eli Broverman in 2008, which is an online platform where you could invest your money depending on your goals. The computing algorithm makes it a robo-advisor, and your investment will be determined by the answers you give when you create your account.
As of Mar 2020, Betterment had $22 billion of assets under management with more than 500,000 accounts. It shows how much people like a simple and easy platform to manage their money with lower risk than the traditional investment.
What’s inside Betterment?
-Betterment Spend & Save-
You could link your checking account to Betterment, and they will provide you one Visa debit card for your daily spending. For all of your ATM and foreign fees will be reimbursed by Betterment, so you could use Betterment Visa debit card without worrying about the extra costs.
The best way to use Betterment is to download the mobile app on your smart device to manage all your finances anywhere in the world.
They are working on a new project to deposit your checks on your mobile Betterment app, which gives a convenient way of baking for modern people.
Based on your answers, Betterment will choose the portfolio, which is an allocation of stock and bonds, to meet your needs. The Betterment portfolio strategy is built on nobel-prize winning researches, and it includes a globally diversified mix of exchange-traded funds for various returns. It allows you to invest thousands of companies across the world, so you are less exposed to the economy of any ONE country.
Betterment understands that you are looking for a plan to manage your money for retirement, so they will evaluate your financial status and your household. Then, they will make suggestions for you and it’s free of charge without funding an account.
As for the retirement plans, you could invest in an IRA or taxable investment account through Betterment, which will help you save more than you could. They estimated to help you save 38% more over 30 years compared to the traditional investing platforms.
-Other Minor Features-
Certified Financial Planners: Betterment provides a one-on-one consulting financial service, so you won’t feel way too robotic. Certified Financial Planners can provide the reassurance, personalization, and fiduciary advice that you need.
Cash Reserve: Individual Cash Reserve accounts have insurance up to $1,000,000 and joint accounts have insurance up to $2,000,000 in FDIC insurance once funds are deposited into Betterment’s program banks.
Two-Way Sweep: This is a feature that betterment helps you to transfer your money seamlessly between Cash Reserve and your checking account, helping you keep the correct balance in each account.
How Much To Open An Account?
Unlike other fintech platforms or traditional banking, there is no minimum requirement to open an account on Betterment. But, if you opt into the Betterment Premium plan, there is a $100,000 minimum.
No fees on your balance.
No monthly account fees, maintenance fees, or withdrawal fees on your checking account. Besides, all ATM fees worldwide will be reimbursed, including the Visa 1% transaction fee on foreign transactions, purchases, and ATM transactions.
- $0-$99,999 with an annual fee of 0.25% on your balance which covers all trading costs
- Personalized financial advice
- Low-cost, globally diversified investment portfolios
- No additional trading & transfer fee
- Automatic rebalancing
- Advanced tax-saving strategies
- All-in-one platform
- $100,000 with an annual fee of 0.4% on your balance
- All the benefits of Betterment Digital
- In-depth advice on investments outside of Betterment
- Unlimited access to our CFP professionals for guidance
You could use Betterment retirement planning tools without funding an account simply by syncing your existing accounts. If you transfer your retirement assets(IRA), Betterment will charge you a 0.25% management fee.
How Do I Withdraw Money From Betterment?
The withdrawal is simple and easy for checking and cash reserve account.
For your investing accounts like Betterment Digital or Betterment Premium, you need to sell your stock or ETFs, then Betterment will transfer to your linked bank account. For the normal process, it takes around 4-5 working days to get your money back.
Who’s Betterment For?
- People that want to start learning investment with a little amount to try the waters.
- People that cannot save any penny and run out of money before the month-end.
- People that like an easy and intuitive plan to do investment without too much to learn.
- People that want to invest in retirement in the easiest way.
- People that need a robo-advisor to tell them how to invest and stick to the plan.
If you are close to any above, you are more than welcome to try Betterment for investing and share your personal experience in the comment below.
For me, I prefer to create a stable passive income stream online first then look for ways to invest. At the moment, Betterment isn’t something that I am looking for, but I can see how easy and simple it is to guide people to learn investment. That’s pretty cool.
Ugly Truth About Betterment
TOP#1 Not For The Experienced
With the hands-off investments on Betterment, beginners could do investing without too much knowledge needed, and Better will automatically do them for you. It takes out the complexity of investing. But I assume that there won’t be huge profits back if you only start at $5-$10 per month.
For the experienced, you won’t be able to handpick a specific stock/fund/bond you would like to purchase based on your prediction or lots of researches online. You may also find that Betterment is too simple to use, and it’s highly possible that you face constraints while doing investment on this platform.
TOP#2 Issues Of Account Termination
People face the below issues:
- Betterment terminates people’s accounts without prior notice.
- People cannot log in to withdraw money for technical issues.
- People call the service line but didn’t get answered.
This kind of issue is happening in most mobile apps, so it’s better that we prepare for them coming before we join Betterment & transfer money into this platform. Getting to know more about a service or product is indeed a better way to protect ourselves from unseen issues beforehand.
TOP#3 Trading Suspension Post-Brexit
On June 24, 2016, Betterment suspended trading for 2.5 hours due to the shock waves of volatility through the financial markets. This unexpected halt brought many negative comments from all users, and Betterment faced a significant backlash against this protective move.
What I Liked About Betterment
TOP#1 No Minimum Deposit & Affordable Fees
For the checking and cash reserve accounts, there are no minimum deposit and management costs. The best part is that Betterment will give you suggestions based on your daily expenses, and it’s good to know something we ignore in the past.
For the investing accounts, there are annual fees of 0.25% or 0.4% on your account balance.
TOP#2 Goal-based Investing
People can use Betterment to save money for some special occasions. For example, the marriage, a new house, college fee, retirement, or general investing. You can tell them your goals, and they will customize the plans for you to meet your needs.
Betterment will let you know how much you need to deposit day by day, and if you stick to the plan, it becomes much easier to reach your goal.
Is Betterment A Scam?
No, Betterment is not a scam at all. It’s a platform that you could transfer your money for better financial management. If you are looking for saving or investing, Betterment is a place to keep your money safe. But, don’t forget the above three things I don’t like that much. You might face them too in the future.
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I hope you enjoy this review and you are more than welcome to share ideas or leave your comments below. I will reply as soon as I can, thanks.