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If you’ve got some money to invest, it can often be challenging to figure out how to make the most out of it. Let’s face it, unless you know what you’re doing, it can be really easy to have your investments in stocks or mutual funds stagnate, or lose money, due to lack of knowledge.
Hiring a financial advisor can also be a bridge too far, especially for people who only have modest amounts to invest each month. Conversely, if you just play it safe and put the money you save in a savings account of CD, chances are you’ll barely be keeping up with inflation.
Finally, most of us don’t have the time to carefully scrutinize our potential investment opportunities, either.
Fortunately, thanks to technology you don’t have to go it alone and can invest your money effectively even without a dedicated yet expensive adviser to assist you.
These days, there are robo-advisor services that can leverage cutting edge algorithms and machine learning to help you optimize your investments.
One of the most well-known robo-advisers out there is Betterment.
Let’s take a look at Betterment and the services it offers, so you can decide whether or not it is a good choice for you with our Betterment review.
Onto our Betterment review!
What is Betterment?
Betterment is a financial advisory and services company that was founded in 2008 in New York City, where it is currently headquartered.
The company is primarily known for the robo-advisory services it provides its clients, although it does provide personal financial advisory services as well as cash management services; Betterment also offers users standard checking and savings account services as well.
Betterment allows users to automate their investing goals so that their earnings can be invested in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) the platform offers in pursuit of their major investment goals.
The tech-based platform also offers the option to pursue tax-deferral strategies so users can use Betterment to prepare for their retirement as well.
In order to use the Betterment platform, you must be at least 18 years of age, and you must be located within the United States.
How Betterment Works
As expected for a robo-advisor service, getting started and using Betterment is really easy. You can set up an account in a few minutes on the platform; after providing Betterment an email and creating a login and password, you will then link your other financial accounts to the site.
This will allow Betterment to keep track of your financial goals and will let you transfer funds to the platform in pursuit of your investment objectives.
As you setup your account, you will also set clear investment goals as prompted by Betterment. This will enable the site to select a portfolio to automatically invest your funds into as you begin using it.
You will also set the amount of funds you’d like to deposit automatically on a monthly basis in pursuit of the goals you’ve set as well. Once you’ve enabled the automatic deposits, Betterment will take over and take care of the rest.
Users can use Betterment’s intuitive interface and tool suite to carefully keep track of their goals and see how the investment strategy is affecting their tax situation as well.
When you are at risk of falling short of your goals, the robo-advisor platform can give you suggestions for changes you can make in order to get back on track.
If money is tighter than usual one month, it is simple to order a halt to an automated payment at any time, then re-start the payments again when your finances are in better shape.
Pricing on Betterment is reasonable and straightforward. The platform’s standard pricing plan charges users .25% annually. This fee covers all of the trading costs you’ll have on the service.
Additionally, under the standard pricing plan, there will be fund fees that can cost you from .03 to .5%, depending on the fund in question.
There is also a premium plan option that gives users unlimited over-the-phone access to Betterment’s financial planning and advisor professionals for a .40% annual fee.
There are no minimum requirements for the standard plan, but the premium plan requires a minimum $100,000 investment.
Betterment Customer Service
There are several ways to contact Betterment’s customer service representatives, who are available five days a week from 9:00 am-6:00 pm ET Monday-Friday:
- Phone. Customer service representatives can be reached via phone at 646-600-8263
- Email. Users can email customer service reps at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail. The corporate mailing address for Betterment is:
W. 24th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Betterment only has one review on Trustpilot at this time, so its profile on that site is too immature to gain a sense of users’ experience on the platform. Betterment is not currently accredited with the Better Business Bureau either but does carry an “A” rating with the BBB.
Pros and Cons
Here are some of the key pros and cons for Betterment you should consider:
- Ease of Use. It is really simple to set up an account on Betterment and automate your investing strategy.
- Pricing. The fees and expenses on the platform are low, especially when compared to other investment platforms.
- No Minimum Starting Balance. You can start an account on Betterment with no minimum investment balance.
- Limited Support on Standard Plan. You do not have free access to human financial advisors when you are a digital-only standard plan user.
- Minimum Balance for Premium Plan. You have to have a minimum of $100,000 invested in order to subscribe under the premium plan and have access to Betterment’s human advisors and other services.
There are other websites offering services comparable to Betterment; these sites include:
All of these personal investment platforms are a little bit different and offer a mix of widely varied services. Once you have a better idea of exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to your money and financial goals, they are all worth checking out.
Parting Thoughts: Review Of Betterment
Even if you don’t have the expertise or time to manage a financial portfolio, robo-advisor services like Betterment can still help you get started with investing and get on track to meet your short and long-term financial goals.
Betterment is a great way to start investing for your future, whether you are planning to buy a new house in the next few years or want to prepare for your eventual retirement.
You can sign up for an account in a matter of minutes and begin investing with no minimum balance as well. So, check out Betterment today, and see if it is a good fit for you.
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