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Once again, it is now record: Robo-Advisors have cemented their place in the field of investment management.

These companies provide financial advice to the masses by charging an unprecedented management fee for services that were previously available to the wealthy: things like allocating assigned assets, automatic rebalancing, and tax collection.

If you are considering joining this momentum, the first step is to determine which online consultant is best for you. It’s an increasingly crowded field, with options ranging from full automation – robot consultants in the true sense of the word – to hybrids connecting computer algorithms with financial advisors. To narrow it down, consider the following criteria.

(Is it still mysterious about how these services work? See our article on What a robot advisor is.)

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Which Robo Advisor is best for you?
Robo-Advisors usually charge an annual management fee that is evaluated as a percentage of your invested assets. If the fee is 0.25% per annum, you will pay $ 25 on a $ 10,000 balance. Every dollar you pay for fees is a dollar you don’t get in your return on investment.

Online consultant management fees range from zero – hats for you, Axos Invest and Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios – to 1%, although the most typical window is 0.25% to 0.50%.

Some advisors, such as Wealthfront and SigFig, manage their first $ 10,000 of assets for free. If you only have a small amount to invest, you might consider starting from there. Robo counselors generally don’t charge an account closing fee, so you can always move your money when your balance entitles you for lower fees elsewhere.

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Service offers

So why not everyone choose the Axus wallets or the smart Charles Schwab, if their services are free? The answer is that the fees are only one piece of the online advisor puzzle. You also want to think about the services provided by the consultant, and some of them have the ability to improve your returns, which may compensate for any difference in fees.

Automatic rebalancing, tax harvesting, wallet allocation according to your goals and risk tolerance are usually standard. Other services may be of the consultant. For example, Wealthfront provides direct indexing on accounts of $ 100,000 or more, providing greater tax advantage by investing in individual securities. Acorns links your credit and debit cards to aggregate your purchases, and invests the change in a portfolio managed by a robot consultant. Betterment has a focus on behavioral finance, as many goal-based tools are designed to motivate you to save more.


Robot vs human advice

Then there are consultants who complete their computer modeling with real people, either in the form of a group of financial advisors who change every time you call or by providing dedicated advisers to clients. The latter, as you might imagine, is usually more expensive.

If reaching a human consultant is important to you, consider one of these companies, which includes Personal Capital, Facet Wealth, Vanguard Advisor Services, Charles Schwab Intelligent Consultant and Betterment. Often times, you will pay a little more for a mixed service or will be subject to an increased minimum. Personal capital, for example, charges 0.89% and offers clients $ 200,000 or more of specialized financial advisors. Other clients get access to a team.

The credentials of these advisors vary – some are registered investment advisors, and some are full certified financial planners – so be sure to compare and contrast at this point as well. Also note that the amount and type of access you receive may be limited. For example, the optimization program contains two levels of human graphic fees, and only one gives you unlimited access.

Investment options
These companies are still too young to make accurate judgments about performance. They have existed almost entirely in a bull market, and any superior performance of one advisor over another could easily be attributed to the asset classes that the advisor has weighted more, rather than a long-term success record. (And there are many reasons why robbery performance is just a puzzle piece.)

But you can judge the investment options offered by the advisor. One way is to look at the expense ratios of those investments. These rates go to investment fund companies, index funds and stock traded funds used in your portfolio, not to theft-advisor, although in some cases they are the same. For example, a company that has its own funds, such as Vanguard, Charles Schwab or Fidelity, is likely to use many of those funds in its robo-advisor portfolios. Its objective is to keep these expense indices as low as possible.

Most robo advisors invest exclusively in funds traded on the stock exchange, with expense rates that generally average less than 0.20%. When evaluating online advisors, look at the total cost (administration fees plus average expense indices) to get a complete picture of what comes out of your wallet. You should also observe the amount of asset classes included in the portfolios used and the percentage of your investment allocated to cash. You can find this information on the robo-advisor’s website, during the registration process or by calling the advisor directly.

If you do not wish to invest in ETF, consult the online advisors that offer greater customization of client portfolios, such as Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Personal Capital.

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Account minimums

Online advisors have account minimums ranging from $ 0 to $ 100,000, so this is a key component of the decision process. If you are starting over, you will want to find an advisor with no minimum. In general, the higher the level of personalized service, as a dedicated financial advisor, the higher the minimum initial investment.

Types of managed accounts

With the exception of Blooom, which deals specifically with 401 (k) s, most online advisors attend IRA accounts and taxable accounts. If you have a 401 (k) that offers equivalent dollars, prioritize that account first, because that match is a guaranteed return on your investment.

Once you’ve captured the match, consider opening an IRA with an online advisor. Accounts subject to taxes in robo advisors should be used if you have maximized your 401 (k) and IRA contributions or for longer-term savings goals, such as down payment on a home.

Some advisors also offer niche accounts, such as business accounts or only 401 (k) s. TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios and Ally Invest Advisors stand out in this area.

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How to choose the best Robo advisor for you in 2020


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