9 Best Robo Advisors of 2020

[Tested & Reviewed]

What is the best robo advisor

We have analyzed the best robo advisors in the market and found the top 9. You can read our objective reviews below — including all the pros and cons of each platform.

On this page you will find:

  • Which is the best performing robo advisor.
  • Other robo-advisors we recommend.
  • Our review methodology.
  • A guide on how to compare robo-advisors and choose the best one for you.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about these platforms, including the benefits of using robo advisors.

Any of the robo advisors we’ve reviewed can be the right one for you — not just our top pick.
So make sure to read all the pros and cons of each one before deciding.

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Top 9 Robo Advisors 2020

1. Betterment Robo Advisor

Betterment offers two option for investors: a low cost account and a Premium account. Both beginner investors and investors with higher balances can taka advantage of the services offered. The Betterment robo advisor is clearly among the top offered on the market! Full Review

  • Management fee – 0.25% per year
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
SpendMeNot Choice

Betterment offers two option for investors: a low cost account and a Premium account. Both beginner investors and investors with higher balances can taka advantage of the services offered. The Betterment robo advisor is clearly among the top offered on the market! Full Review

2. Ellevest Robo Advisor

One of the few robo advisors that takes into account that women investors can face setbacks that male investors don’t! Ellevest offers great financial services for investors of both genders. Full Review

  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Fiduciary – Yes
Best Offer

One of the few robo advisors that takes into account that women investors can face setbacks that male investors don’t! Ellevest offers great financial services for investors of both genders. Full Review

3. Wealthfront Robo Advisor

For those that are only looking for an automated investment process – just let your money work for you! Full Review

  • Promotion – Referral program
  • Account minimum – $500
  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.25%
Best Price

For those that are only looking for an automated investment process – just let your money work for you! Full Review

4. SoFi Invest Robo Advisor

You don’t need a lot of funds to start investing. Great for beginners and those with limitted assets! Full Review

  • Management fee (annual fee) – no management fee
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes

You don’t need a lot of funds to start investing. Great for beginners and those with limitted assets! Full Review

5. SigFig Robo Advisor

The SigFig robo advisors offers unlimitted support and advice from human financial experts. It is the erfect product for those that prefer continuos advice when it comes to their investments. Full Review

  • Management fee (annual fee) – first $10,000 free, 0.25%
  • Account minimum – $2,000
  • Fiduciary – Yes

The SigFig robo advisors offers unlimitted support and advice from human financial experts. It is the erfect product for those that prefer continuos advice when it comes to their investments. Full Review

6. Personal Capital Robo Advisor

Personal Capital is a robo investment platform with a low management fee for those with higher networths! This leaves you with more funds to invest. Full Review

  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.89% for the first $1 million
  • Account minimum – $100,000
  • Security – SIPC protected

Personal Capital is a robo investment platform with a low management fee for those with higher networths! This leaves you with more funds to invest. Full Review

7. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Robo Advisor

With the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios robo advisor you will mostly be spending all your money investing – there is no management fee, unless you want to take advantage of their Premium services. Full Review

  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Account minimum – $5,000, $25,000 for Premium
  • Management fee (annual fee) – no management fees, except for Premium

With the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios robo advisor you will mostly be spending all your money investing – there is no management fee, unless you want to take advantage of their Premium services. Full Review

8. Vanguard Robo Advisor

Vanguard is a one of the best robo investment platforms for those with a higher balance that appreciate access to certified financial planners. Full Review

  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.30% on assets up to $5 million
  • Account minimum – $50,000
  • Automatic rebalancing – Direct portfolio management offered

Vanguard is a one of the best robo investment platforms for those with a higher balance that appreciate access to certified financial planners. Full Review

9. Fidelity Robo Advisor

Fidelity Go is a low cost hybrid robo advisors, which is great for those who prefer human oversight regarding investment decisions. Full Review

  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.35%
  • Account minimum – no account minimum
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes

Fidelity Go is a low cost hybrid robo advisors, which is great for those who prefer human oversight regarding investment decisions. Full Review

Best Robo Advisor

What Are the Best Robo Advisors?

Detailed Reviews

Betterment Robo Advisor
Betterment Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Retirement Investors

Visit Website
SpendMeNot Choice
  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.25% per year (0.40% per year for Premium)
  • Account minimum — no minimum on regular accounts ($100,000 minimum for Premium)
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Taxable account, trust, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, workplace 401(k)s (through Betterment for Business)
  • Support – One-time advice packages can be purchased extra, though it is included in the Premium plan.
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – Referral program

Overview

Founded back in 2008, Betterment is one of the oldest robo investment platforms.

As they don’t have a minimum on their regular accounts, they are good for beginners or investors with a low balance.

They offer goal-specific investing, which comes in handy for people saving for retirement, education, for a down payment on a house, for a vacation, etc.

Getting Started with Betterment

To open a Betterment account, you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Live in the US at least six months out of the year.*
  2. Have a valid Social Security number or ITIN.
  3. Have a US bank account and a confirmed US address.

*Note: Betterment supports residents in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The platform currently does not support residents in Guam. If you are not a US citizen, you may be required to submit a valid US visa prior to opening an account.

Once you set up your account and choose your goals for saving or investing, such as education, retirement, down payment for a house, general investing, etc, Betterment will recommend a portfolio.

How to get started with Betterment?

Sign up questions for investing:

  • Are you currently retired?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your annual pre‐tax income?
  • Select an investing goal (Safety Net, Retirement or General Investing)

Note: We selected retirement.

  • What type of retirement account would you like to open?

We then received a portfolio recommendation.

In addition to a goal-specific portfolio, you can also choose a:

Pros 
Cons
Betterment is a fiduciary, meaning that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. The platform does not support 529 accounts, custodial accounts for minors (e.g., UTMA), or “solo 401(k)” plans.
Your Betterment investments are SIPC-protected. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. No direct indexing.
Betterment secures your password by storing it in a format called a “bcrypt hash”.
Read-only app-specific passwords for third-party sites.
Two-factor authentication to access your account.
All of your data is encrypted and employees have limited access to it.
Portfolio options: goal specific, Socially Responsible Investing, Goldman Sachs Smart Beta, BlackRock Target Income.
Financial goals offered: retirement, major purchases, education, a safety net fund, or just general investing.
Referral program.

Betterment Fees

Better charges a 0.25% annual fee on your invested balance which covers all trading costs.

The fund fees for your portfolio range from 0.03% to 0.50%.

If you opt for the Premium account you will get unlimited over-the-phone access to their team of certified financial planners. The annual fee for the Premium account is 0.40% on your invested balance.

Support

You can contact the Betterment Customer Support team five days a week.

If you need one-on-one advice, you can purchase a one-time care package and get in touch with a certified financial planner. The Premium Plan offers unlimited support.

One-time packages offered:

  • Getting Started Package — $199
  • Financial Checkup Package — $299
  • College Planning Package — $299
  • Marriage Planning Package — $299
  • Retirement Planning Package — $299

We tried contacting the Customer Support Team on one of the emails listed and we received an automatic reply immediately with a workaround for time-sensitive emails. They also replied to our email within 3 hours.

Betterment - Customer Support Team

Our Verdict 

Betterment is one of the best robo advisors of 2020. The platform boasts low management fees and has no account minimum. The affordable cost doesn’t mean it is lacking in features — numerous services and tools are included in the price.

The one thing that is not included in the price is the option to get advice from humans. You will either need to pay extra or get a Premium account. If you don’t think you will need constant support and advice, then this low cost robo-advising solution is perfect for you.

Ellevest Robo Advisor
Ellevest Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Female Investors

Visit Website
Best Offer
  • Management fee (annual fee) – Ellevest Digital – 0.25% per year, Ellevest Premium 0.50% per year
  • Account minimum – no minimum for Ellevest Digital, $50,000 for Ellevest Premium, $1 million for Private Wealth Management.
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected.
  • Account types available – individual accounts (taxable investment account) and retirement accounts (traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs).
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – No
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – No referral program offered

Overview

Ellevest is an online investment platform, founded by Sallie Krawcheck. It caters to women and might be the only platform that takes into account the gender wage gap.

Getting Started with Ellevest

The Ellevest robo advisor investment services are only available to adult U.S. citizens (or U.S. Resident Foreign Nationals) with a permanent residential address (not a P.O. Box) in the contiguous United States as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

In AL and NE, the minimum legal age is 19.

Potential clients also need to have a:

  • U.S. Social Security Number
  • Checking or savings account with a U.S. bank.

Sign-up questions:

  • Name
  • Zipcode
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Income
  • Role
  • Relationship status
  • Children
  • Account type
  • Account balance
  • Goals (Build Wealth, Retirement on My Terms, A Place to Call Home, Kids Are Awesome, Start My Own Business, A Once-in-a-Lifetime Splurge)
  • How much do you need
  • When do you want the money

After you fill out the questionnaire, you will receive a recommendation for a portfolio and an estimate on when you will achieve your goal.

Ellevest Robo Advisor - Chart

Ellevest is sleek and super easy to use

All in all, setting up the account was easy. We also had the option to choose the risk level after their automated estimates.

Pros
Cons
Ellevest is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. No referral program
Your Ellevest Investments are protected by SIPC. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. No tax-loss harvesting
Your data is encrypted The Premium fees are higher compared to other robo advisors
Two-Factor Authentication to access your account.
Ellevest includes the gender pay gap in saving estimates
Ellevest has a robo advisor app with the same functions as the web version.
Human assistance offered.
Auto-deposit.

Ellevest Fees

Ellevest charges a 0.25% fee per year for your assets under management for Ellevest Digital.

The annual fee for Ellevest Premium is 0.50%.

The fund fee ranges from:

  • 0.05% to 0.10% per year for Ellevest core (non-Impact) portfolios and
  • 0.13% to 0.19% per year for Ellevest Impact Portfolios.

Support 

Customer Support can be reached via email or by phone during business hours.

We contacted the Ellevest Support Team to request an account closure. They replied within one business day and we are happy with the support we received.

Ellevest Digital and Premium clients can get help regarding their investment management and plans from the Ellevest Concierge Team.

With Ellevest Premium, you get access to their certified financial planner professionals and executive coaches.

The vendor offers a special investment service for clients with at least $1 million in investable assets. These clients have a full advisory team available that works one on one with them.

Our Verdict 

The reason why Ellevest is one of the best robo advisors for women, if not THE best, is the fact that it takes into account the gender pay gap when recommending a savings rate. Factoring in all the variables is not something you usually get when investing with a robo advisor.

Ellevest also doesn’t have a minimum account balance requirement (except for the Premium account) and the annual fee is affordable.

We also appreciated the platform’s various goals, such as saving for children — an option often lacking with rival robo advisor services.

What we don’t like about Ellevest is the fact that joint taxable accounts aren’t supported.

Wealthfront Robo Advisor
Wealthfront Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Hands-off investors

Visit Website
Best Price
  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.25%
  • Account minimum – $500
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected.
  • Account types available – Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, 401(k) Rollover, 529 College Savings, Individual, Joint, Trust.
  • Support – no financial advisors, only technical support
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – Referral program

Overview

Wealthfront is an automated investment advisory service company founded in 2008 and based in California.

The initial investment required is $500 and they also offer a lot of free financial planning tools.

Their annual fee is only 0.25% of your investments, which is one of the lowest in the industry. However, support by financial planners is not offered.

Getting Started with Wealthfront

When opening an account, you will need to answer a few questions about your risk score – how willing you are to take risks and whether you are consistent with your risk preferences.

Pros
Cons
Wealthfrotn is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. No advice from human planners.
Your Wealthfront investments are SIPC-protected. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage.
Weallthfront doesn’t store your account password.
Referral program.
Free automated financial planning services (homeownership, early retirement, time off for travel, college)
Stock-level Tax-Loss Harvesting (Direct Indexing) available for taxable accounts between $100,000 and $500,000

Wealthfront Robo Advisor - Screenshot

(Image Source: Wealthfront)

Wealthfront Fees

Wealthfront charges a 0.25% annual fee for investment accounts. The fund fee ranges from 0.06% to 0.13%.

There are no fees for:

  • Opening an account
  • Closing an account
  • Trading/commission
  • Account transfer.

Support 

With the Wealthfront robo investment advisor, you get just that — software services. You won’t be able to contact financial advisors if you have any inquiries regarding your portfolio.

However, you can contact tech support via phone or email.

Our Verdict 

Wealthfront is probably one of the best robo advisors for hands-off investors — or those that don’t require advice from human professionals.

You will get a simple robo-advisory service with a relatively low account minimum and annual fee. Wealthfront is also one of the few robo advisors that support 529 college savings plans.

SoFi Invest Robo Advisor
SoFi Invest Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Beginner Investors

Visit Website
  • Management fee (annual fee) – no management fee
  • Account minimum – no account minimum
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Individual and joint non-retirement accounts, Roth, traditional, SEP and rollover IRAs.
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – No
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – A bonus for opening a taxable account (not a retirement account)

Overview

Social Finance Invest is a California-based personal company. They offer various financial services, including student loan refinancing, mortgages, investing, etc.

With SoFi, you can either be an active investor or use their free financial robo advisor services.

What type of investment is best for you?

Getting Started with SoFi Invest

To create an account with SoFi Invest, you need to be a US resident. You will have to provide personal information such as employment status, address, phone number, social security number. Then, you need to set your preferences. Your account will be verified in one business day.

Pros
Cons
SoFi Invest is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. No tax-loss harvesting.
Your SoFi Invest investments are protected by SIPC. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. Limited account types.
Two-Factor Authentication
No account minimum
Low fund fees
Unlimited investment advice.

SoFi Invest Fees

There are no management fees for using the SoFi automated investing platform. The fund fees range from 0.03% to 0.08%, which makes SoFi Invest the perfect low cost automated investing solution for investors with limited assets.

Support 

You can contact credentialed advisors via chat, phone or email.

Our Verdict 

No account minimum and no annual fee — what’s not to like? If you are looking for the best free robo advisors, SoFi Invest should be on your list. While SoFi supports only a few account types and has limited features, it makes up for it by being affordable. Safe to say, it is one of the best robo advisors for beginners.

And speaking of beginners, SoFi Invest has a limited record for robo investment returns, as it is fairly new on the market. So, if you are looking for a well-established company, then SoFi is not for you.

SigFig Robo Advisor
SigFig Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Investors that require human advice

Visit Website
  • Management fee (annual fee) – first $10,000 free, 0.25%
  • Account minimum – $2,000
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – individual and joint non-retirement accounts, Roth, traditional, SEP and rollover IRAs, trust, custodial and corporate accounts.
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – first $10,000 are managed for free

Overview

SigFig (formerly Wikinvest) is an investment portal, founded by Parker Conrad and Michael Sha in 2006. The company provides investment services at an affordable cost.

SigFig Robo Advisor - Portfolio

Start now and let the robo advisors work for you

Getting Started with SigFig

Before you start robo investing with SigFig, you need to provide the following information:

  • I am _  years old and I want to invest for the  _ term.
  • My household income is $_  of which I save _.
  • My liquid assets are worth $_ and my risk tolerance is _.

You will then be recommended a growth portfolio and you can start investing.

Pros
Cons
The first $10,000 is managed for free. $2,000 minimum investment.
SigFig is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. No cash management or savings account.
Your SigFig investments are SIPC-protected. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. 401(k) and 529 plans are not supported.
Free access to advisors.
Encrypted data.

SigFig Fees

The first $10,000 you invest will be managed for free. After that, there is a 0.25% annual management fee. The fund fees have an average expense ratio of between 0.07% and 0.15%.

Support 

You can schedule an appointment to talk with SigFig’s financial advisors or you can contact them via email, phone or chat.

Our Verdict 

The minimum amount required to start robo investing with SigFig is $2,000, on the flip side, your first $10,000 will be managed for free.

It is obvious that SigFig isn’t for investors with little to no funds. But if you are willing to commit the required sum, you will get unlimited access to financial advisors which is a big plus and not something that all robo advisory platforms offer.

Personal Capital Robo Advisor
Personal Capital Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

High net worth investors

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  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.89% for the first $1 million
  • Account minimum – $100,000
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Non-retirement accounts, Roth, traditional, rollover and SEP IRAs, Trusts, Cash accounts
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – No

Overview

Personal Capital is an online financial advisor and one of the best wealth management firms on the market. The company was founded in 2009 and is based in Redwood Shores, California. They have over $12.3 billion of assets under management (AUM).

Personal Capital Robo Advisor - Board

(Image: Personal Capital)

Getting started with Personal Capital

According to their official website, to get started with Personal Capital:

  • You need to answer a few questions to help them evaluate your financial situation.
  • Their Investment Team will develop your personal financial strategy.
  • If you choose to continue, they will open an account for you.
  • They start monitoring and rebalancing your portfolio while implementing tax-loss harvesting strategies.
Pros
Cons
Strict internal access controls High management fees
Encrypted data $100,000 account minimum
Two-Factor Authentication
Tax-loss harvesting
Personal Capital is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest.
Your personal capital investments are protected by SIPC. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage.

Personal Capital Fees

Personal Capital charges a 0.89% fee for $1 million.

The more assets you have, the lower the fees:

  • First $1 million: 0.89%
  • First $3 million: 0.79%
  • Next $2 million: 0.69%
  • Next $5 million: 0.59%
  • Over $10 million: 0.49%

Support

Personal Capital advisors are available by phone, chat, email or web conference.

Those with a balance of up to $200,000 have access to a team of financial advisers, while those with over $200,000 will be assigned two dedicated financial advisors. Lastly, clients with a balance of $1 million get one-on-one support.

Our Verdict 

With an account minimum of $100,000, Personal Capital is the best robo advisor for high net worth investors. Their management fees are also the lowest for those millions in their account.

They have one of the top robo advisors and the only downside that our Personal Capital review uncovered is the high account minimum required.

  • Management fee (annual fee) – no management fees, except for Premium
  • Account minimum – $5,000, $25,000 for Premium
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Taxable, Joint, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Trusts, Custodial
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes (for an account with more than $50,000 in assets)
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – Referral Program

Overview

The Charles Schwab Corporation is a financial services company based in California. Their automated investment platform was launched in 2015.

While they have a required minimum, the advisory fee is 0%, so we can say that they are one of the best free robo advisors.

How would you like to get started with the Schwab Intelligent robo advisor?

Getting Started with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

Before you start robo investing with the platform, you will need to answer the following questions/statements:

  • What is your goal for this account?
  • How will you use your withdrawal? For retirement or for other income needs (such as supplementing your income)?
  • What is your understanding of stocks, bonds, and ETFs?
  • When you hear “risk” related to your finances, what is the first thought that comes to mind?
  • Have you ever experienced a 20% or more decline in the value of your investments in one year?
  • If you were ever to experience a 20% decline or more in the value of your investments in one year, what would you do?
  • How would you describe your approach to making important financial decisions?
  • I plan to enroll $_ in Schwab Intelligent Income
  • I would like to begin my withdrawal: Within one year or more than one year
  • I’m _ years old, and I’d like to begin withdrawals at age _. I need the withdrawals to last through age _.
  • How much investment value fluctuation would you be comfortable with 1 year from now?
  • My goal is to withdraw $_ (pre-tax) monthly.
  • Which account type would you like to open?

You will then receive a portfolio recommendation and will be able to open your account.

Pros 
Cons
Your investments are SICP-protected. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. The account minimum is $5,000.
The platform is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. Only accounts with $50,000 have access to tax-loss harvesting services.
24/7 support (automated)
Two-Factor Authentication

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Fees

The platform offers free robo advisor software — this means that they charge no fees. The fund fees range from 0.3% to 0.65%.

For the Premium account, there is an initial planning fee of $300 upon enrolling. There is also a $30 monthly advisory fee.

Support 

This is one of the few investment platforms that offer 24/7/365 customer support.

Clients with a Premium account get unlimited support from certified financial planners, as well as planning tools.

Our Verdict 

Schwab free robo advisors have no management fee and offer an affordable account minimum. We can say that it is one of the best robo advisors that are almost free.

The only downside is that only clients with a Premium account can get advice from human financial planners and the tax-loss harvesting service is only available to those with a minimum $50,000 balance.

Vanguard Robo Advisor
Vanguard Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

High account balances

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  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.30% on assets up to $5 million
  • Account minimum – $50,000
  • Fiduciary – Yes
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Roth and traditional IRAs, SEPs, SIMPLEs & i401(k)s, 529, individual and joint
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – Yes
  • Automatic rebalancing – Direct portfolio management offered
  • Promotion – No

Overview

Vanguard is an American company offering professional investment management services. The firm was founded in 1975 and is based in Pennsylvania. As of January 2020, they had $6.2 trillion in global assets under management.

Getting Started with Vanguard

Opening an account with Vanguard robo advisors is not as simple as with other platforms. That said, the effort is worth it, given their catalog of services for those that can afford the minimum balance. You will need to discuss your personal financial situation and goals with an advisor, who will create a custom portfolio for you.

Pros
Cons
Investment calculators & tools High account minimum
Vanguard is a fiduciary, which means that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients and avoid conflicts of interest. Account setup is a long process
Your Vanguard investments are SIPC-protected. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage.
Mobile app
Voice verification
Logon security code

Vanguard Fees

The annual Vanguard management fees are as follows:

  • 0.30% On assets up to $5 million
  • 0.20% On assets above $5 million and up to $10 million
  • 0.10% On assets above $10 million and up to $25 million
  • 0.05% On assets above $25 million

Support 

Vanguard clients get partnered with an advisor that creates a tailored financial plan. Users can also contact customer support.

Our Verdict 

The reason why Vanguard is one of the best robo advisors is the access to a lot of financial planning services available to customers, as well as fiduciaries and certified financial planners.

All of this comes at a price. The account minimum is $50,000.

Fidelity Robo Advisor
Fidelity Robo Advisor

BEST FOR

Hands-off investors

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  • Management fee (annual fee) – 0.35%
  • Account minimum – no account minimum
  • Fiduciary – No
  • Security – SIPC protected
  • Account types available – Individual and joint non-retirement accounts, Roth, traditional and rollover IRAs
  • Support – Yes
  • Tax-loss harvesting – No
  • Automatic rebalancing – Yes
  • Promotion – No

Overview

Fidelity Investments is a financial services corporation founded in 1946. As of December 31, 2019, Fidelity had more than 30 million brokerage accounts and more than $3 trillion managed assets. They offer affordable digital investing with their robo advisor Fidelity Go.

Getting Started with Fidelity

To open an account you must be a US resident and at least 18 years old.

You will need to provide the following info:

  • I was born in the year _.
  • This account if for _ (me or me and a partner)
  • I am investing for _
  • and my preferred account type is _ (tax-advantaged or taxable)
  • I have $_ to start and want to contribute_ each month.
  • My household’s total annual income before taxes is about _.
  • Where you would be most comfortable placing yourself on a risk tolerance scale from 1 to 10.

After you fill out the questionnaire, you will receive an investment growth strategy.

Pros
Cons
No account minimum No tax-loss harvesting
Your Fidelity investments are protected by SIPC. This means that if the brokerage firm fails, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation will provide the customers with up to $500,000 of coverage. 401(k) and 529 plans are not supported.
No fund fees
Monthly summary emails
The portfolio is monitored by humans

Fidelity Robo Advisor - Fidelity Go

(Image Source: Fidelity Go)

Fidelity Fees

Fidelity charges an annual advisory fee of 0.35%. There are no other commissions, trading fees, or fund fees.

Support 

Customer Support can be contacted via chat or phone.

Our Verdict

Fidelity Go is the best choice for those who don’t fully trust financial technology. The investment decisions are overseen by human advisors, so Fidelity is a sort of a hybrid robo advisor.

There is no account minimum and the advisory fees are low. On the flip side, some services are lacking, such as tax-loss harvesting and human financial support. Nonetheless, Fidelity Go is still one of our top picks for best robo-advisors.

SpendMeNot Methodology

Now, let’s walk you through our review process.

First, we looked up the best robo advisors of 2019 and 2020, and made an extensive list of the most well known, talked about and reviewed robo advisors. Sorry for not including any underdogs!

Then, we went to the websites of each of them and made a list of the ones that stood out the most.

We also noted the key features and used them to eliminate some options.

The final list included different types of robo advisors. We made sure to include at least one robo advisor for investors with a higher balance and at least one free robo investment advisor.

We then considered the pros and cons of each option and ended up with an even shorter list.

And finally, we looked up their websites and contacted support just to see if they will reply in a timely manner.

Of course, it is hard to compare robo investment products for a general user.  Each investor has a different financial situation.

This is why we recommend that you use the following guide on choosing a robo advisor if you still aren’t sure which one to go with.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Robo Investing Advisor

Here is our guide on how to choose the top option for your needs:

1. Make a list of the top robo advisors for 2020.

Review sites usually have around 10 picks. Make a list and bookmark their official websites.

2. Check if the robo advisor supports your account type.

No point in researching further if it is not compatible with your account.

3. Check if the costs are within your budget.

Take a look at the management fees, account minimum, etc.

4. Check what is included in the costs.

You may think you are looking at free robo advisors, only to find that some basic services cost extra.

5. Find the FAQ section and any other info related to the service on their website.

If you are a beginner, struggling when it comes to understanding robo advisors, then it makes sense to look at all the information provided on the website. Is the FAQ section easy to find? Does it answer all of your questions?

6. Contact support.

We all have different expectations for customer support. Some investors don’t need a lot of handholding, while others feel more at ease when they can contact an employee to help resolve their issues and answer their questions. Try to contact the support of your top picks for robo-advisors. Make sure you are satisfied with the service before you commit your time and resources.

7. Make sure your data is secure.

What kind of security does the advisor offer? Is your data secure and encrypted? Would it be it easy for someone to access your account?

8. What is the process for closing your account?

You may start off by using one of the best free automated robo advisors and then want to switch to an alternative service. What are the steps you need to take? Is closing your account next to impossible? All of these things should be taken into consideration.

Conclusion

We’ve covered all the basics on how to choose a robo advisor — starting from how they work to how to figure out all the pros and cons of a specific product.

So, we’re hoping that this guide, along with our reviews of the best robo advisors will help you in your search for the best fit.

If not, then at least now you know how to review a product on your own.

Good luck investing!

FAQ

What Are Robo Advisors?

Robo advisors are software programs that provide algorithm-driven financial planning services.

With the investment process automated, they require little to no human supervision.

Since digital tools are used to manage the portfolio, the costs and fees associated with using robo advisors are generally lower. This makes them more affordable and accessible to the general public.

How Do Robo Advisors Work?

To use this type of digital platform, you need to open an account and fill out basic information about your financial goals and answer an online questionnaire about your risk tolerance and investing preferences.
Based on the information you provided, the robo advisor comes up with a portfolio recommendation. After your account is set up, you need to put in the minimum deposit — if there is one.

Whether you are using an automated or semi-automated service, you still need to check your account frequently. Do not hesitate to seek out professional advice for any questions or issues you may have.

How Can Robo Advisors Simplify Investments?

To start off, you can access and manage your account 24/7. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer or phone.

If you are brand-new to investing and not sure where to start, then robo advisors are perfect for you. They use advanced algorithms to build and monitor your portfolio based on individual goals and needs. You won’t need to schedule a lot of meetings or dedicate time to investing in individual stocks.

Some robo advisors do offer financial advice and support, whether included in the price or available for a separate fee. Either way, as the costs of managing the technology are low, so are the costs of using it.

Robo advisors also use algorithms that rebalance your portfolio to maintain and manage your risk preferences.

Is Robo Advisor a Good Investment?

Who can benefit from robo advisors? How to tell if robo advisors are right for you?

You should consider a robo advisor if you are:

A Beginner in Investing

Less confident investors may hesitate about investing their assets, so they can greatly benefit from the financial services offered by robo advisors.

A Busy Professional

Not everyone has time to manage their investments and that’s okay. That is what robo advisors are for.

An Investor that Doesn’t Have a Lot of Assets or Can’t Afford a Financial Advisor

Robo advising is cheaper than traditional methods. So, if you don’t have enough money to hire someone, then you can use this lower-cost option. Advisory firms also typically require a higher initial investment compared to robo advisors.

Can You Trust Robo Advisors?

If you are skeptical about robo investing and don’t feel comfortable entrusting your money to an algorithm, here are some facts that may ease your mind.

In the USA, robo advisors are registered investment advisors and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

You can use this tool to check if they are registered:

Investment Adviser Search 

You can also check whether the robo advisor you have picked is registered with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

List of Members

This means that if the brokerage firm goes bankrupt, you will get up to $500,000 in coverage. While SIPC doesn’t protect you against market change, they do offer insurance for fraud and mismanagement.

Another thing to look out for is whether your financial data is encrypted and whether the robo advisor has two-step verification or other security measures.

How to Evaluate and Choose a Robo Advisor?

Here are some things to consider before choosing a robo advisor:

Management Fees

What fees do robo advisors charge?

In general, robo advisors charge an annual management fee ranging anywhere from 0.15% up to 1%. Check if there is a setup fee or any other type of charges. Some advisors may manage part of your assets for free.

Account Minimum Balance

If you don’t have a lot of money to start with, make sure to check if the robo advisor requires a minimum initial investment amount and what it is. Bear in mind that a higher minimum or heftier fees might mean more services.

Financial Services Offered

What type of investment services are offered? While some essentials such as automatic rebalancing or tax-loss harvesting are usually included in the initial fee, others might be offered for an additional cost. Will you need to pay extra for something you need? Taking a look at the services included in the price will help you calculate the final price tag.

Types of Accounts Managed

What type of account do you want for your assets? Taxable account, 401, Roth IRA? Make sure that the robo advisor supports the type of account you are comfortable with.

Person-Based Service Interaction

Some companies offer a hybrid service of sorts with a dedicated human advisor. You can check if this is included in the fee or if you need to pay more for this service.

What Are the Main Differences Among Robo-Advisor Companies?

These are as follows:

Minimum Deposit Amount Required

If you don’t have a lot of money upfront, you can find cheaper options with no minimum deposit or a low minimum required, such as $100 or $300.

Robo Advisor Fees

Some robo advisors have zero account management fees, some have a flat fee for all account sizes, others charge additional commissions.

Advice Options 

With some robo advisors, there is the possibility to contact human financial planners.

Account Types Available

Some of the available options would be Roth IRA IRA, 401, 529 plan, etc.

Financial Services Offered

In general, most of them offer portfolio rebalancing, though some extra services offered may be tax-loss harvesting, retirement planning, fee calculators, etc.

Investment Approach (Active or Passive Investing)

Most platforms offer passive investing — matching investment indexes. Robo advisers that use active investment management try to outperform the market.

Types of Investments Available

What do robo advisors invest in?

The most common type of investment available is the Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). Some give you the option to invest in individual stocks and bonds.

What Are the Key Benefits of Using Robo Advising?

With robo investing you get the following benefits:

Ease of Use

Robo advisors have simplified investing. You can do every step of the process online, from setting up and monitoring your account to contacting advisors.

Low-Cost High Quality Investing

Robo advisors manage your portfolio in a way that offers the greatest return with the lowest risk. Since the services they offer are automated, the costs are low. This makes them affordable and available to beginner investors.

Low Initial Investment

There is no need to risk all of your savings — you can start with a lower amount and go from there.

24/7 Access 

You can manage your investments in your free time, wherever you are.

Are There Downsides of Using Robo Advisors?

These are the disadvantages of robo advisors:

Not Fully Personalized

While you have to fill out a questionnaire to get a portfolio made for you, robo advisors aren’t as personalized and familiar with your goals and financial situation as human advisors and planners would be.

Haven’t Been Used in a Financial Crisis

The first robo advisors were launched in 2008, so it is not clear how they will perform if the market crashes.

They Don’t Offer Financial Advice

Investors sometimes panic and make rash decisions. Or they follow their gut feeling. Robo advisors cannot change your mind when you are about to make a risky decision.