Intro: Is Betterment a Good Investment Firm?


Trusting a financial institution with your investments can cause you to become skeptical, and oftentimes, the process can be stressful.

If you’re new to the investing process or are simply overwhelmed by the countless options available to you, Betterment investing may be a service that would be helpful to you.

In our Betterment.com review, we will cover what Betterment investing is, what services they offer, and if Betterment investing is the right fit for you. 



What Is Betterment Investing?

Betterment investing is an investment management institution that offers a straightforward and honest policy when it comes to handling your finances.

Their website highlights each service that is offered, and it also offers additional resources to answer any questions you may have as you try to determine if Betterment investing is right for you and your financial needs.

Image Source: Betterment

There are numerous Betterment.com reviews online, and many people may ask the question, “Is Betterment a good investment firm?”

We provide a detailed Betterment investment review below, including information about Betterment returns, whether Betterment is a good investment firm, and other services offered by Betterment investing.

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About Betterment Investing

Betterment investing was launched in 2010 and is currently the largest independent robo-advisor—an online wealth management service that provides advice entirely through the use of computer algorithms rather than a human advisor.

The founding team members of Betterment investing, Jon Stein and Eli Broverman were determined to create an investment service that they could use themselves.

They have been at the forefront of Betterment from the beginning and strive to always keep the customers’ best needs in mind.

Combining investing and technology, the Betterment investing experience was developed with the hopes of changing how many people feel about investing and their finances.

Betterment investing essentially strategizes how to invest a client’s money using a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds, all while keeping the client’s personal financial situation and needs in mind. A complete list of the stocks and bond index funds is on their website.

Betterment’s mission is to manage the client’s finances throughout each stage of his life—all the way up to retirement—while making sure he gets the best Betterment returns.

Betterment investing takes pride in their simple strategy that seems almost too good to be true—Betterment promises to invest your money at a low cost, while giving you a better outcome.

Customers can expect to receive 2.9% higher returns using Betterment investing than from an average DIY investor. 


Betterment Investing Is Secure and Transparent

Betterment investing ensures that customers’ information is secure on servers equipped with the strongest encryption available, and they will never share any of your personal information with a third party unless advised.

Betterment securities is a member of SIPC, which will protect a client’s account, up to $500,000. The client is also guaranteed protection and will be refunded any securities if there is a breach.

You have 24/7 access to your portfolio, and after any trade, you will be privy to the number of shares in any ETF you have invested in. This keeps you aware of all activity regarding your investments.



What Types of Services Does Betterment Offer?

Our Betterment investment review will also cover the types of services Betterment investing offers.

Betterment investing offers a financial planning category, which is the section that the majority of people will use.

The sign-up process is straightforward, taking just a computer and about 5 minutes to get started with Betterment investing, filling in information about your needs, annual income, and the allocation of your assets into stocks and bonds.

betterment investing-min (1)

Image Source: Betterment Investment Review

Clients then select a path that outlines their financial goals, and their personal bank account will be linked to their Betterment investing account, selecting either the automatic or manual deposit function.

Once the money is their account, Betterment investing will purchase ETFs, which are determined on the client’s selection of how they assigned the assets in the survey. Betterment investing will handle all the sell trades,and after each quarter, any portfolio that is off by 5% or more will be automatically rebalanced.

The last step in the financial planning process is to review and save goals—the Betterment investing committee will suggest how the money should be allocated from there, suggesting an ideal plan that is properly risk-adjusted.

You will also learn how much your outside investments are currently costing you. Once the goals are understood, a personalized investment portfolio will be created, optimizing your returns.

RetireGuide

Betterment investing also offers RetireGuide, which calculates how much money you’ll have and how much you will need, allowing you to make sure you are prepared financially for retirement so you can enjoy your golden years stress-free.

RetireGuide looks at the entire picture of where you live, your savings, your current income, and tax rate, along with that of your spouse. Betterment investing RetireGuide is unlike other retirement tools, looking into the future to estimate the amount you will potentially spend once you do, in fact, retire.

This tool gives you an overview of your entire worth, all in one place. Even if you have savings in other private financial institutions, you are able to import that information into your Betterment investing account.

IRA Rollovers

When it comes to additional retirement accounts, Betterment offers a 60-second rollover program. Whether you have an old 401(k), Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA, an ideal portfolio with moderate risk can be built based on your personal financial standing. Betterment investing will access and recommend low-cost index funds that will give you the best returns.

Their IRA calculator will help you determine whether a traditional or Roth IRA is right for you, and the rollover team is available 7 days a week to answer any questions or issues that arise.

Trust Accounts

Interested in trust accounts? Betterment investing provides a quick and easy program that invests your trust into a diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs. Each deposit and paid dividend will rebalance your portfolio, minimizing taxes.

Again, you will have complete access to your portfolio and can create goals for each beneficiary on your account. You can schedule a particular time to transfer funds to another beneficiary, access your statements, and view long-term returns of your trust.

Tax Loss Harvesting+

Tax Loss Harvesting+ is a helpful service from Betterment investing to help reduce your investment taxes. Tax loss harvesting is the process of selling a security that has experienced a loss, and it used to be available only for investors worth millions of dollars.

Betterment investing has the Tax Loss Harvesting+ program, an automated system that will take away the guesswork.

You will always have total control and access to your account, and the service is available at no additional cost if you are currently managing your finances with Betterment investing.

Visit Betterment.com for more information and a video that explains more about Tax Loss Harvesting+.

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Betterment Investing Pricing

As with any financial planning service, you can expect there to be fees. With that said, Betterment offers flexible account offerings to allow investors to decide what types of fee structure will work best for them. 

Betterment investing does not charge any trade fees to buy and sell securities, and there are no transaction fees for depositing or withdrawing from your account.

There are also no fees for rebalancing your portfolio, and Betterment investing handles this rebalancing regularly and automatically, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

The pricing breakdown is separated into three tiers, listed below. 

Digital

This basic account has no minimum balance requirements and an annual fee of 0.25%. Included with this fee is: 

  • Automated portfolio management
  • Tax-efficient investing features
  • Investment advice
  • Award-winning customer support

Plus

Once you reach $100,000 in investments, you have the option to upgrade to a Plus account.

While the annual fee increases to 0.40%, this includes all the features of the Digital plan, plus access to an annual call with licensed financial experts and additional account monitoring. 

Premium

For account balances at a minimum of $250,000, investors can upgrade to the Premium plan, with an annual fee of 0.50%.

Included in this fee structure are all the benefits of the Digital plan, plus unlimited calls with licensed financial experts and additional account monitoring.

Betterment allows you to cancel services at any time and you aren’t locked into a stringent contract, which is something to consider when wondering if Betterment is a good investing firm. A list of other FAQs can be found on the website.

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Additional Resources

To help you further, Betterment investing provides several additional resources at no cost, and you don’t even need to be a member to use them.

Well-written articles on topics ranging from portfolio management and behavioral finance to product news and advanced investing are available to the public on the website. Learning more about these subjects will help you make sound financial choices and alieviate any uncertainty you may have when deciding if Betterment is a good investing firm.

White papers are available, giving you a closer look into various aspects of finance, including Betterment’s investment selection methodology, which explains why and how they choose certain highly liquid, index-tracking EFTs.

The research paper on stock allocation advice discusses the ways Betterment investing optimizes your portfolio and the reasoning behind their recommendations.

The tools and calculators will help you determine how much money to expect during different periods in your life. For example, if you want to know what type of IRA you should choose, there is an IRA calculator that will determine whether a traditional or Roth IRA is best for you based on your saving goals.

Confused about choosing a 401(k), an IRA, or both?

Their calculator does the math for you. These tools and additional resources will help you get the most out of what Betterment investing has to offer and will help you further understand the reasoning behind the investment committee’s recommendations.



Conclusion: Betterment Investing Review

So, is Betterment a good investment firm? After digging a little deeper and doing our own Betterment.com review, we found that Betterment investing makes it super easy to implement a savings plan in minutes.

It is all done online, and there is a customer service support team available at all times. If you are intimidated by anything related to finances or investments, Betterment investing is a great solution. Betterment investment returns average about 2.9% higher than any other DIY investor.

It’s vital that you choose a financial service firm that will manage your portfolio with the utmost care and provide transparency when it comes to your money.

With countless investment firms out there, it can be tough to know which ones are trustworthy and have your best interest in mind. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about where to put your investments.

Whether you are new to the investment world and looking to simply invest a small amount in a 401(k) or are ready to start saving for retirement, Betterment investing has an experienced staff that can help.

You will have access to your portfolio at any time and can use the website or app to review your accounts. The reasonable fees are worth every penny, and you don’t need to invest a lot to start. If you choose Betterment investing, you can expect to get quality financial advisement and management.

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