Best Robo Advisor For First-Time Investors
Betterment wins the award for Best Robo for First-Time Investors. With no investment minimum and a 0.25% annual fee on assets under management, their digital-only product is a strong choice for first-time investors. Betterment’s single-goal financial planning tools make it easy for users to plan for future financial success. Investors can easily track both total portfolio and account-specific performance. They can also use Betterment’s goal forecaster to see how one-time or recurring investments would impact the probability of achieving a goal. The retirement goal forecaster provides an estimate of retirement spending that users can adjust. In addition, Betterment offers various financial planning packages that provide personal consultations with a Certified Financial Planner™ on an as-needed basis for an additional one-time fee. Thus, users can pay for personalized professional help as they see fit without upgrading to Betterment Premium. It is important to recognize that as a client’s assets grow, so do their financial planning and management needs. Betterment’s tiered service model is attractive as an investor can always upgrade to the premium service levels without having to change providers.
Betterment users can also open savings and checking accounts with Betterment Everyday. The latter has a debit card option, while the high-yield savings account pays a competitive interest rate and is a good place to maintain an emergency fund or save for short-term goals.
While SoFi does not have the best overall score in our ranking, it also features no account minimum, no management fees, free access to career counseling and live financial advisors, which together make it attractive to a cost-conscious first-time investor. While SoFi’s primary business is built around consumer lending, it sees investment management as an important financial service offering to prospect new clients and strengthen its current client relationships. Many SoFi customers start their relationship by consolidating student loans. Once debt repayment is planned, the next logical step is to begin saving and investing. In addition to lending and investment services, SoFi also offers free checking and high-interest savings accounts through SoFi Money, free budget tracking and planning with SoFi Relay, as well as various insurance offerings. With the wide breadth of financial services offered, SoFi is positioning itself as a comprehensive provider for all of its users’ financial needs.