2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST ROBO ADVISORS


2017 Guide to the Top 6 Best Robo Advisors: Are Robo Advisors Right for You?

We have all faced the conundrum of having too many meetings to attend and not enough time in our day. 

Saving for retirement and planning wise financial investments is necessary for long-term wealth building, but how would we find the time to schedule yet another appointment with a financial advisor?

If you aren’t tied to the prospect of a face-to-face meeting with your professional financial advisor, you might not mind the prospect of receiving robo advice instead. Robo advisors are quickly flooding the market with their algorithmic trading and online investment opportunities.

Where it once required quarterly meetings with representatives and detailed discussion of your current goals, robo advisors can now rebalance your portfolio, control the allocation of your assets, and track your progress toward your goals with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Online investment companies are cropping up everywhere, but how do you know which ones are legitimate? If you’ve been wanting to enter the world of robo investing or online investing but weren’t sure where to turn to.

When it comes to choosing portfolio management software, AdvisoryHQ is here to help. In our top robo advisor comparison, we are going to give you a complete listing of the top rated, largest, free, and best robo advisors available today. 

So prepare to cross those appointments with your financial advisor off of your to-do list and investigate these top robo advisors instead.

Best Robo Advisors

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Robo Advisors



AdvisoryHQ's List of the Top 6 Best Robo Advisors 

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names above to go directly to the detailed review section for that robo advisor)

Click here for 2016's ranking of the Top 6 Best Robo Advisors


Top 6 Best Robo Advisors & Online Investment Companies | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Top Robo Advisors

Total Assets Under Management (AUM)

Betterment

+$7 billion

FutureAdvisor

$600 million

Personal Capital

$3.9 billion

Vanguard Personal Advisor

$4 trillion

Wealthfront

+$5.5 billion

WiseBanyan

$80 million

Table: Top 6 Best Robo Advisors | Above list is sorted alphabetically


Don't Miss: High Yield Bank Accounts


Benefits of Robo Investing

Why have robo advisors suddenly surged in popularity? The very best robo advisors have been around for a number of years, but people are finally starting to take these online investment companies seriously.

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the numerous benefits of robo advisors have finally been brought to light.

Image Source: Best Robo Advisors

Robo advice is based around algorithmic trading, devised from a Nobel-prize winning formula. This type of automated portfolio management software allows you to consistently tweak and customize your online investing to meet your long-term financial goals and your short-term investment strategy.

From your risk tolerance to your online investing needs, robo advisors are highly technical and skilled at developing an investment plan specifically for you.

The fees associated with robo advisors (especially the top robo advisors) are the other biggest draw for consumers and individual investors. Traditional financial advisors may charge between 1 and 2 percent.

In a robo advisor comparison, you may be looking at fees of just 0.25 to 1 percent when it comes to online investment companies.

The top robo advisors are also responsible for consistently rebalancing your portfolio. Financial advisors offer the same services, but cannot do so with the same regularity that robo advisors are capable of producing.

Robo investing monitors your investments, and when the sell price dips, they automatically sell them for a capital loss, and robo advisors replace them with similar investment types.

If you still love the idea of having personal interactions with a financial advisor, you may be able to find that from some of the top robo advisors. Many online investment companies offer their clients access to a team of live financial advisors along with their investment software.

Questions concerning the robo advice you receive can be directed toward a live person instead of an impersonal “frequently asked questions” page.

Online investment companies, with the use of robo advisors, are on the rise, and for good reason. In this list of robo advisors, we are going to detail the advantages of the top robo advisors in a side-by-side robo advisor comparison.

See Also: Betterment Review—Returns, Fees, and All You Need to Know



AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.


Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Robo Advisors

Below, please find a detailed review of each robo advisor on our list of top robo advisors. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these best robo advisors to score so high in our selection ranking.



Betterment Review


At the “intersection of investing and technology,” Betterment offers an easy-to-use robo investing platform that allows their users to create investment strategies of their own.

Founded in 2010, the founders of Betterment wanted to create a user-friendly investment software program that allowed others to do online investing in a way that made sense to the average person.

The result ended up being one of the best robo advisors available, not necessarily because of low commissions, but due to the technology that it can offer to its users.

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

Curious what technology Betterment has to offer that makes the robo advisor reviews so positive? See below for a few of the creative solutions that Betterment has to offer when it comes to online investment strategies.

Don’t Miss!! Enjoy Betterment FREE for 2 Months!

Technology and Strategy

When you invest with a robo advisor, you would expect that your portfolio would yield higher returns than you would as a do-it-yourself investor.

The reason for this has several different parts, all based around the technology that Betterment integrates into everything they do to make it one of the top robo advisors.

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First, you can sync all of your outside investment accounts into Betterment’s framework. Doing so allows the site to monitor the overall view of your financial status and investment allocation.

When the portfolio management software can see the other assets that you own or trade, it may be able to make different suggestions for your upcoming online investment that make more sense for you financially. The ability to take an overall look at your financial health is key to making wise decisions when it comes to robo investing.

Second, it allows you to create clearly defined goals that allow robo advisors to make better decisions regarding your investments.

Whether you want to save for a rainy day, retirement, or the down payment on an upcoming home purchase, Betterment’s robo advisors can help manage the risk of your portfolio alongside the timeline upon which you need your account to be fully funded.

Third, the portfolio management software automatically reinvests your dividends and rebalances your portfolio when you make a deposit. The algorithmic trading featured in one of these best robo advisors keeps tax penalties in mind.

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Rebalancing is evaluated on a daily basis, and it will even use leftover funds to purchase fractional shares so that every last penny of the money in your account is reinvested.

Betterment Robo Investment Pricing & Fees

Account Balance

Annual Fee

No minimum balance

0.25%

$100,000 minimum

0.40%

$250,000 minimum

0.50%

Get 2 months FREE Betterment Service! Be Smarter Today!

Betterment's affordable pricing scale is one of the biggest draws for even the best robo advisors.

The fees from Betterment are designed to cover all of the costs associated with your robo investing, including transactions, trades, rebalancing, advice, and administration fees. You may still stumble upon robo advisors who charge additional fees to buy and sell, but Betterment does not.

For a closer examination of their fees, which should be considered in all robo advisor reviews, take a look at the above chart.

For a 0.25% annual fee and no minimum account balance, investors can benefit from:

  • Automated portfolio management
  • Tax-efficient investing features
  • Advice across your investments
  • Award-winning customer support

​For accounts that qualify for the 0.40% annual fee, added benefits include an annual call with Betterment's team of licensed CFP professionals and financial experts, and additional account monitoring. 

Accounts with an annual fee of 0.50% receive unlimited calls and additional account monitoring, adding a personal touch to this automated portfolio management software.

Don’t Miss: Is Betterment Worth It?| Is Betterment Safe? A Scam? Reviews of Betterment  



FutureAdvisor Review


Backed by a council of scholars and finance experts, FutureAdvisor is continuously refining their robo advisors and their knowledge to make wiser investment strategies for their clients.

They have several award-winning investment professionals on their team, as well as wonderful engineers and finance professionals to help invest in long-term portfolios. The goal for them is to provide objective advice, the best option when it comes to investment strategies.

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

Understand what makes the robo advisor reviews of FutureAdvisor so positive and what landed it on the list of robo advisors AdvisoryHQ considers one of the best robo advisors.

Strategy

FutureAdvisor creates a combination of objective advice, diversification, tax efficiency, and low-fee index funds in order to make successful long-term portfolios for their clients.

Their robo advisors do a little bit of everything: rebalancing your accounts, evaluating what is best for them when it comes to tax efficiency, and managing multiple accounts.

As a result, they have some impressive numbers to prove how effective their strategy is. For clients in their thirties, FutureAdvisor has posted cumulative returns of 29.0 percent as of February 2017.

After creating your personalized account that takes your personal risk factor into consideration, an online investment with FutureAdvisor is available through a third party at all times. Your assets are held with either Fidelity or TD Ameritrade.

However, because all of your accounts are managed in just one location, it can make wise online investing decisions on your behalf by monitoring all assets at the same time. This allows them to select an ETF that would fit best in your portfolio.

Like several others on our list of robo advisors, you can also manage several different types of accounts to help you reach your goals. Save for college, retirement, or a rainy day by selecting which goal suits your needs the best.

Photo courtesy: FutureAdvisor

FutureAdvisor Robo Advisory Investment Pricing & Fees

FutureAdvisor has one huge draw that not many of the top robo advisors can boast of: they do not charge for their services, at least at first.

In less than two minutes, you can have your account set up for them to directly manage your assets in an account with one of the two third-party trading platforms they partner with. You can try one of the best robo advisors completely free for three months.

After your initial trial period is over, they charge a flat percentage of 0.5 percent of assets they manage under their investment software.  It bills itself as 0.125 percent each quarter, deducting itself from non-tax sheltered accounts when it has the option to do so.



Personal Capital Review


As one of this year’s best robo-advisors, Personal Capital is very unique in that it is a hybrid (combination robo & human) financial advisory platform. 

Having access to a human advisor, as well as being able to invest via robo advisors, is a key deciding factor for a lot of consumers who are looking to open an account with one of the top robo advisors.

For example, you might have financial planning questions that involve budgeting, developing a financial plan, buying or selling a home, planning for a newborn, planning for retirement, or developing a college savings plan for a child. 

For all of these questions, you’ll have access to Personal Capital’s financial advisors.

In addition to being an investment and financial advisory platform, Personal Capital also provides a highly advanced personal finance and budgeting software

Personal Capital Overview

Using Personal Capital’s software, you can easily utilize advanced graphics that allow you to monitor your cash inflow (i.e., income), cash outflow (i.e., spending), and the performance of your stock, bonds, and other investments on a single, easy-to-read screen. 

Based on its top-of-the-line software, Personal Capital was rated among this year’s Top Online Personal Finance Software by AdvisoryHQ.

Personal Capital - 700x250 - Track and Manage Your Wealth

Using Personal Capital’s award-winning dashboard, you can easily link/consolidate all financial accounts (checking, savings, IRAs, loans, debt, credit cards, mortgage, home equity loans, etc.).

Doing this provides you with the opportunity to quickly see your entire financial portrait (net worth) on one screen. You can do this any time, any day, and on any device.

On your Personal Capital dashboard, you can see:

  • Your daily, weekly, and monthly cash flow (where your cash is going)
  • Entire portfolio balances
  • Portfolio allocations
  • Breakdown of your key financial holdings
  • Top gainers and losers
  • Account balances and transactions
  • Spending breakdown by account and category
  • Detailed income reports
  • A wide range of other interactive reports and tools

Personal Capital Holistic Tools

Personal Capital’s free financial investing and financial planning tools allow you to easily see and manage your entire financial life in one secure place.

When you register for Personal Capital, you’ll be provided immediate access to these tools on your Personal Capital dashboard.

Best of all, these powerful tools are all free.

Click to Open Your Personal Capital Account​

How Safe Is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital uses bank-level encryption (highest level of security) to protect client accounts in their budgeting and portfolio management software. The firm also hires third parties to perform regular security audits to make sure its systems can’t be compromised.

Personal Capital has an impressive number of investments from the average individual, including more than $312 billion in investments for over one million users.

They have been recognized and applauded by a number of large-name magazines and companies in their robo advisor reviews, including Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.

With their primary goal being to create a “better money management experience for consumers,” Personal Capital’s robo advisors are definitely well on their way to being one of the top robo advisors.

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

See below for more details on which factors landed Personal Capital on our list of the best robo advisors for online investing.

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Services

For individuals who are uncertain about beginning in the world of robo advisors, Personal Capital can be an easy starting point for most people.

They offer a number of portfolio management software tools for both seasoned and beginning investors. Their robo advisors can help with a variety of things, as long as you set your personal goals.

Select what type of investment account you need to create, whether it is a retirement savings account or just an average investment account to help your money work better for you, and Personal Capital’s robo advisors put your money to work.

The robo advisors in this investment software can calculate your personal net worth and help you to create and manage a personal budget to contribute more to your savings accounts with them.

Personal Capital also allows their robo advisors to review your accounts on a daily basis for rebalancing. This is done to enhance their tax-efficiency, but overall Personal Capital maintains a “low turnover approach.”

Ultimately, they want their investment software to help you to reach your goals, but they also recognize that long-term holdings statistically have great success in fluctuating markets.

Don’t Miss! FREE Sign UP with Personal Capital and start tracking TODAY!

Personal Capital Investment Software Pricing & Fees

Money Invested

Fee Schedule

First $1 million

0.89%

First $3 million

0.79%

Next $2 million

0.69%

Next $5 million

0.59%

More than $10 million

0.49%

For those who are just beginning to dabble in robo investing, one of the best questions to ask is how quickly you can gain access to your funds in case of an emergency. Personal Capital tends to invest your money in liquid securities so that you can have access to it quickly.

Withdrawal from your account should happen in just one to three business daysNot sure if you want to commit to their robo advisor yet? You can always sign up for an account within their portfolio management software platform free of charge, just to browse through their various tools and options.

FREE Sign Up! Join Personal Capital TODAY!!

Personal Capital’s online investing is one of the most affordable options in a robo advisor comparison. Robo investing has significantly lower rates than a financial advisor does, and those rates are easily understood in their fee schedule.

Related: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. FutureAdvisor—Rankings & Review      



Vanguard Personal Advisor Review


Vanguard has long been a well-recognized name in the investment industry, and it's likely to stay ranked among top robo advisors for years to come.

From purchasing individual ETFs to their personal robo advisors, Vanguard can do a little bit of everything. Vanguard runs its own funds at cost to help their clients to keep more returns with an expense ratio that is 82 percent lower than the industry average.

The Vanguard Personal Advisor service is yet another service they offer to help their clients maintain long-term wealth building.

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

Want to know exactly what ranked Vanguard Personal Advisor as a top option for online investment companies? We’ll take a look at a few of the reasons below.

Process

Vanguard Personal Advisor has created a very simple five-step process to make sure that your investments are working as well as they possibly can for you. For information on how their process works, see below:

  • Set goals: An advisor will go over your personal financial details to help you identify what your goals are, what your risk tolerance is, and find out more about you personally.

  • Create a plan: You will receive a custom financial plan from their team of advisors.

  • Put it into place: Your plan is put into place, and you are as involved in the process as you would like to be. You can be completely hands-off, if that is your preference, or you can monitor it on a daily basis.

  • Track your progress: See how close you are to reaching your goals based on the performance of the plan.

  • Rebalance: Like all of the top robo advisors, Vanguard Personal Advisor will automatically rebalance your portfolio when necessary and revise your plan as personal changes arise.

Perhaps one of the largest benefits to Vanguard Personal Advisor that makes it one of the top robo advisors is the access it gives you to a live person.

You can speak with one of their financial advisors as often as you desire, which allows you to choose how involved you would like to be in the process.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Pricing

Vanguard Personal Advisor claims that their fees for robo advisors are significantly lower than the industry average, which hovers at approximately one percent. Instead, they charge just 0.30 percent of the assets under management each year.

In order to demonstrate how much more cost-effective their robo advisors are compared to the industry average for similar funds, they ran the numbers for you.

Photo courtesy of: Vanguard

Over a twenty-year time frame, accounting for compounding, you would have approximately $96,000 more in your portfolio working to build wealth for you, which certainly makes a difference when it comes to investment software.

Popular Article: Top Robo-Advisors (Reviews) | A Changing Trend in the Robo-Investment Field   



Wealthfront Review


Wealthfront is a robo advisor service that takes the future of investments very seriously.

They consider their role as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to change an industry.” Under their umbrella, they employ economists, mathematicians, data scientists, professors, authors, and more.

This allows them to perform a wide variety of research from behavioral finance to portfolio analytics to optimization. Doing so creates new strategies that their robo advisors implement in order to increase returns at low costs for their investors.

Image Source: Wealthfront

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

You can find out more information on what landed Wealthfront onto our list of top robo advisors in the upcoming sections.

Wealthfront Technology

Wealthfront assembles a collection of investments with their robo advisors based on modern portfolio theory, with selections ranging from domestic stocks to emerging markets, municipal bonds to natural resources.

With a myriad of investment options through their diversification process, you can adjust a portfolio to your risk tolerance while remaining varied and tax-efficient.

While many financial advisors will resort to the same standard list of 25 questions in order to determine risk tolerance, Wealthfront’s robo advisors will combine behavioral economics research to identify your unique situation in just a few questions.

Their portfolio management software uses this to purchase index-based ETFs to represent the various classes in your portfolio.

Their daily tax-loss harvesting will help you to rebalance your portfolio and reduce your overall tax payment. When your current investments have declined to a certain point, they will replace them with more highly correlated assets.

You can manage a number of accounts under Wealthfront’s robo advisors:

  • Individual accounts
  • Joint accounts
  • Trust accounts
  • Traditional IRAs
  • 401(k) rollovers
  • Roth IRAs
  • SEP IRAs
  • 529 College Savings Plan

Wealthfront Robo Investment Fees and Pricing

Wealthfront’s low fees make it one of the top robo advisors. You do not incur additional costs for trading fees or hidden fees, even as your portfolio is rebalanced.

Unfortunately, they do have a few stipulations that make it slightly more involved than other robo advisors on our list.

For example, the first $10,000 invested into your Wealthfront account is managed for free. You will pay a low 0.25 percent annual fee for advisory, separated into monthly charges.

However, you can only use Wealthfront investment software if you plan to initially deposit $500 to open your account.

This is their minimum account balance, so plan on a larger up-front initial investment than what is necessary for other robo advisors such as Personal Capital or Betterment.

According to their own information, an account that averages $100,000 will incur a monthly fee of $18.49. They do also admit that you will incur a fee embedded in the cost of your ETFs, which is around 0.12 percent on average.

Read More: WiseBanyan Review | Robo Comparison (WiseBanyan vs Betterment)



WiseBanyan Review


WiseBanyan proudly proclaims to be the world's first free financial advisor, with a mission to revolutionalize the robo advisor industry.

Part of that revolution certainly comes from their commitment to providing accessible, valuable investing opportunties for all, regardless of investment amount.

There are no annual fees associated with WiseBanyan, and no minimum account balance. For beginning investors, investors with lower balances, or investors who simply want a break from complicated fee structures, WiseBanyan is a great automated investment software to consider.

With a combination of affordability and approachability, WiseBanyan has become one of the top robo advisors on our list of best robo advisors. 

Key Factors That Enabled this Company to Rank as One of the Best Robo Advisors

Want to know exactly what ranked WiseBanyan as a top option for online investment companies? We’ll take a look at a few of the reasons below.

Diversified Investment Strategy

The process of investing with WiseBanyan begins with asking questions about your individual investment preferences. Taking these preferences into account, your investment portfolio will be created by the WiseBanyan investment team, built to maximize after-tax, real investment returns.

These portfolios are fully diversified through the Modern Portfolio Theory. This theory provides a framework for combing securities with the highest return possible. 

To provide a thorough mix of investment assets, WiseBanyan uses the following steps for global asset classes:

  • Analyze the potential return of each asset class
  • Consider sensitivity to economic scenarios like interest rate, stagnating growth, dollar value, and inflation
  • Calculate risk measured by the volatility of each asset class
  • Uncover correlations across all assets to estimate relative performance
  • Test each portfolio to evaluate performance in market cycles

From that moment on, the investment process is fully automated. The robo advisor software at WiseBanyan will take care of investing funds, monitoring progress, and reinvesting dividends.

WiseBanyan Robo Investment Fees and Pricing 

Part of what makes WiseBanyan one of the top robo advisors is that they offer a wholly unique pricing structure.

Rather than make money off management fees, like other robo advisors, WiseBanyan gives investors the option of adding fees relative to services that they will actually use. Thus, the pricing system at WiseBanyan will differ depending on which investment services you choose. 

These "premium" services, like tax-loss harvesting, may add an extra fee to the robo advisor software, though the benefit comes from choosing to pay for it, rather than having fees bundled together for portfolio management software services you are uninterested in. 


Conclusion: Top 6 Best Robo Advisors & Online Investment Companies

Robo advisors can make your investment opportunities substantially easier and yield greater returns than a do-it-yourself approach or a traditional financial advisor.

Over the long-term, a robo advisor can add extra earnings into a well-diversified portfolio with all of the extra savings in advisory fees.

Online investing is still a relatively new concept, surging in popularity over the course of the last few years. Before you dive right in, consider some of these questions to determine which of the top robo advisors from our list of robo advisors is right for you:

  • How much money are you planning on initially investing with online investment companies?
  • What do you expect to pay in monthly fees or annual fees for your investments?
  • Do you want a personal financial advisor included with the robo advisors implemented through their programs?

Making the switch to robo advisors can be one of the best investment strategies to manage your long-term wealth.

Looking at this robo advisor comparison and investigating the robo advisor reviews can help you to increase your wealth, save for retirement or college, or to invest for an upcoming expense.

Before making your next online investment, consider these top ranking best robo advisors.

Related: Investing Basics—Are Robo Advisors Right for You? (Robo Investing Guide)


 

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