Fintech is opening a whole new world of opportunities for investors.
New young startups are creating innovative and revolutionary ways to invest your funds, they are called Robo-Advisors.
Mobile platforms, offering a fully digital experience are proposing ultra user-friendly services with attractive ways to save money with minimum effort and cost.
It is now possible to get started investing your funds in a matter of minutes and a few clicks.
This article will review the 15 best Robo-Advisors for 2019, new apps that will change the way you think about investing.
1. Robinhood: great to get started trading stocks
Robinhood has made a bang in the investing world with its commission free trading model.
Natively mobile, very user-friendly, you can setup an account in minutes and get started trading stocks straight from your mobile.
It’s only available in the US for the time being.
Robinhood gives you the ability to buy stocks, ETFs, Options, Indexes and even some cryptos (Bitcoin + 6 others).
Be mindful that Robinhood is best for traders with small order sizes, either swing trading or Buy and hold.
I have written a full article on Stock Trading with Robinhood, you can check it out and learn a lot more from one of the fastest growing financial websites in the world today.
MAIN FEATURES :
- Commission-free trading
- Trade Stocks, ETFs, Indexes, Options and Cryptos
- No minimal deposit
- Only in the US for the moment
- Available on iOS, Android and PC
2. Acorns: invest your spare change
Acorns is a micro-saving site enabling you to build up savings by setting aside spare change or extra cash as you make purchases.
You can get started in a matter of minutes, and Acorns will round-up your purchase amounts made with a linked Credit or Debit Card.
So let’s say you buy something for $11.5 then Acorns will round it to $12 and invest $0.5 in your account.
That way, you slowly build up savings with very limited financial effort as you go. The invested sums will automatically go to low-cost ETFs proposed by Vanguard, BlackRock or other leading asset managers.
Basically, you will define the level of risk you are ready to accept.
There’s also a compounding visualization tool that will show you how your sums build up in the future.
Acorns offers a retirement account called Acorns Later, and it has a browser extension that will enable you to allocate spare change made on online purchases.
Acorns is a really great way to get started investing by overcoming the frequent feeling that you don’t have enough money to get started. It’s also the tool you need if you regularly struggle to save.
- Management fee: $1-$3/ month (depending on the account you choose)
- Promo : college students get 4 years free
- Account minimum: $0 to open account, $5 to start investing
3. Betterment: a great Robo-Advisor with no minimum deposit
Betterment is one the leading new online investment platforms, also called robo advisors.
When you get started at Betterment, you have to tell them what you’re saving for. Retirement, a vacation, college, etc…
The website will analyze your investor profile and your goals and will make recommendations tailored to your specific needs.
It will project and tell you how much you will invest over time and give you loads of simulations.
The mobile app is very user-friendly, and it will tell you exactly what mix of stocks, bonds or ETFs will be invested depending on the risk appetite and time horizon.
The whole idea is to put cutting edge tech at the disposal of investors while proposing an ultra-simple interface and investor experience.
Betterment is a fiduciary, which means it is bound to act in the best interest of its clients. It is the largest independent Robo-Advisor in the market.
- Account minimum: 0$ for Betterment Digital, $100,000 for Betterment Premium
- Management fee: from 0.25% (Digital) to 0.40$ (Premium)
- Promo : up to 1 year of free fees with a minimum deposit
4. Chime: one of the best new generation banks
Chime is a new generation bank account.
It is mainly mobile, with very low fees and you can get started in a matter of minutes.
Chime will provide you with a Visa Debit Card, a Spending Account and an optional Savings Account, all managed through the app.
There are no monthly or hidden fees and no required minimum balance to get started.
Chime allows you to setup an automatic savings functionality that will put sums aside for you automatically, by rounding up payments you make for example.
You can also decide to allocate 10% of your paycheck to savings.
- No monthly or hidden fees
- Minimum Balance: 0$
- No foreign transaction fees
- No transfer fees
- Over 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs (at zero fees)
5. Digit: save money via texting, another good micro-saving app
Like Acorns, Digit is an app that will help you save small sums of money over time.
You will earn 1% annual Savings Bonus on the amounts you have saved, and the app is available on iOS, Android and Apple Watch.
An interesting feature is the ability to use your Digit account by texting, via simple SMS messages.
Most operations are available that way : checking your balance, initiating withdrawals, saving extra money or even viewing upcoming bills.
Quite useful if your don’t have a computer handy.
The way Digit works is quite simple.
The service analyzes your day to day spending and income habits, it is linked to your bank account and will transfers small sums of money to your bank account.
Amounts you won’t notice, that’s the whole idea.
- Management fee:2.99$ / month
- Promo: Try 100 days for free
- Account minimum: 0$
6. Qapital: saving made fun, with goals in mind
The idea behind Qapital is goal oriented saving.
You define a goal, something you would like to save for (an event, a car, a vacation, …) and qapital will define a saving plan with that goal in mind.
The concept is to round up daily purchase amounts, like similar innovative mobile banking apps.
There are three levels of accounts: Basic, Complete, Master.
The higher tiers give you access to services such as Payday Divvy (auto save a small sum at each paycheck), Spending Sweet Spot (a budget for your weekly expenses, including spending analysis) or Money Missions (for Master accounts, optimize your happiness through spending).
The app is available on iOS and Android.
- Management fee: $3 / month (Basic), $6 (Complete), $12 (Master)
- Minimum investment: $10
7. Ellevest: investing for women
Ellevest starts by reminding us that 86% of Investment Advisors are men. So they want to do things differently by being primarily targeted at women.
Ellevest will take into account women’s specific income levels, lifetime earnings curve and longer lifespan to offer a specifically gender-based investing platform.
There are three types of accounts at Ellevest :
- Digital: personalized investment portfolio, Ellevest Impact Portfolios, Automatic deposits, Automatic rebalancing, unlimited support from Concierge Team
- Premium : Digital features + access to a certified financial planner and executive coaches
- Private Wealth Management: only for qualified clients, offering private wealth management with values-based investing options
Impact Portfolios are a very interesting feature, allowing customers to allocate at least half of their portfolios to companies that promote the advancement of women => Investing by Women, In Women
- Management fee: 0.25$ yearly (Digital), 0.5% (Premium), variable based on assets under management for Private Wealth customers.
- Promo: cash bonus of up to $750 with qualifying deposit
- Account minimum: $0 (Digital), $50,000 (Premium), $1,000,000 (Private Wealth Management)
8. Personal Capital: leading financial tools and advice for high net-worth customers
Personal Capital is a leading website in the field of wealth management and innovative financial tools, with $8.5 billion assets under management and 19,000 customers.
It is truly one of the best apps to track and manage your money, with award winning tools, it is quickly becoming a very significant player of the Wealth Management industry.
Personal Capital is only open to US customers and targets $100,000 plus customers, with a combination of services from Robo-Advisors and human advisors.
If your account balance is above $200,000 you will be allocated two dedicated financial advisors.
Management fees are on the high end of the spectrum, sitting at 0.89% per year, but for accounts above $1 million there are lower rates.
The financial tools you will access include :
- Linking all your accounts to the Personal Capital interface (IRAs, 401ks, mortgages, loans, checking & savings) to get a 360 view of your money
- Complete Dashboard (see picture)
- Net worth
- Retirement Planner
- Fee Analyzer
- Education Planner
- A free consultation with an advisor
The interface is top-notch, with clear straightforward graphs, providing you with a real cockpit of your financial life.
- Management fee: from 0.49% to 0.89% per year
- Personalized investing with three tiers depending in your income
- Account minimum: 100,000$
9. Wealthsimple: investing on Autopilot
Simplicity comes first at Wealthsimple, where your money will be invested in a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds (ETFs).
Wealthsimple is best for hands-off investors who favor passive investing.
You just need to define your risk appetite and Wealthsimple does the rest.
There are three different account tiers:
- Basic: for deposits from $0-$100,000.
- Black: deposits above $100k
- Generation: deposits above $500k
Depending on your account level, you will access a growing range of products with diminishing fees:
- Wealthsimple Invest, Save or Trade
- Personalized portfolio
- Expert advice (personalized according to your tier)
- Dividend reinvestment
- Tax loss harvesting
You also have an option to invest in socially responsible initiatives, one of Wealthsimple’s signature offerings.
Other options allow you to invest your spare change (Roundup), extra cash (Overflow) and even go for Halal investing.
Wealthsimple has also recently introduced high interest savings and commission-free trading.
As you can see, Wealthsimple has a complete range of offerings, but keep an eye on the fees level and their impact in the long run which can be quite significant.
- Management fee: 0.4% to 0.5%
- Complete range of portfolios through ETFs
- Account minimum: 0$
10. Blooom: great for retirement investments (401ks,…)
As the number of Robo-Advisors increases in the market, there is a tendency towards specialization and segmentation.
The idea is to propose a series of funds eligible to most workplace retirement plans (401(k)s but also 403(b)s, 457s and 401(a)s).
Blooom has simplified things to the max, there is no account minimum and management fees are a flat $10 per month.
Blooom is a niche player, a great option if you’re looking to connect your company sponsored retirement account and get going in a matter of minutes.
- Management fee:10$ / month
- You can get a free analysis of your 401k
- Account minimum: 0$
11. Ally Invest: banking, lending and investing in one place
Ally Invest is a growing online broker proposing two types of tailor made accounts:
- Self-directed trading, for the hands-on investor
- Ally Invest Managed Portfolio, for automated investing fans
Forex trading and automated portfolio management are also available, something you won’t find in all online brokers.
The commissions are reasonable at $4.95 (for stocks and options trades) and decrease as your portfolio size grows.
- Commissions: $4.95
- Promo: $50-$3500 in cash bonus + free trades
- Account minimum: $0
12. Swell: the impact investing platform. Invest with a purpose
Investing with Swell is all about giving a purpose to your strategy, investing in companies that solve the biggest problems on the planet. The platform offers a number of portfolios for the eco-friendly and planet conscious :
- Impact 400: invest in the most impactful companies across all stock markets
- Zero waste: companies investing in recycling and repurposing
- Healthy Living: nutritious foods and health and fitness centers
- Green tech: electric cars, LED lights, limit your impact on the energy infrastructure
- Renewable energy: wind turbines, solar panels,..
- Clean water: companies conserving water or cleaning it
- Disease eradication: biotechs and pharmaceuticals trying to make an impact
Studies have proven that over time, returns of Impact Investing match or outperform the market.
- Management fee: 0.75% annual fee
- No trading fees
- No price tiers or expense ratios
- Account minimum: $50
13. Stash: the micro-investing app
Stash wants to open investing opportunities to everyone, starting with as little as $5.
The app is extremely simple, guiding you to the right ETF portfolios via a simple choice of investment themes and a measure of your risk appetite.
Themes include the environment, technology, clean & green, dividends, health, ….
Stash offers fractional shares, so you can invest as little as $5 on any portfolio.
If you want funds to be regularly allocated to your portfolios from your bank account, you can use the Auto Stash function.
Constant learning is also encouraged with regular tips and articles accessible straight from the app.
Stash is great app for new investors who need guidance on selecting the best investments or opt for theme-based investing.
- Management fee: $1 / month ($2 for IRAs), 0.25% for accounts above $5,000.
- Promo: first month free, free retirement account if you’re younger than 25
- Account minimum: $5
14. Wealthfront: a complete offering to Invest, Save and Borrow
Wealthfront offers a full range of services for hands off investors, it one of the most highly regarded app with its planning tools, automated portfolios and advanced tax optimization strategies.
Today the service has more than $11 billion Assets under Management.
You can use Wealthfront’s planning tools for free even if you don’t have a Wealthfront account, hence giving you an opportunity to see what’s possible by simply linking your bank account.
Wealthfront is definitely one of the leading online advisors, with a team of highly regarded professionals such as Burton Malkiel, its Chief Investment Officer.
Mr Malkiel is senior economist at Princeton University and author of the investing classic « A Random Walk down Wall Street ».
- Management fee: 0.25%, some free services
- Account minimum: $500
15. SoFi: great if you want to refinance a student loan
SoFi wants to help you get ahead of your financial life.
Borrowing, saving, spending, or investing are all possible using SoFi.
If you want a loan, a number of options are opened to you: student loan refinancing, medical resident refinancing, dental resident refinancing, mortgages, mortgages refinancing, personal loans and more.
Investing with SoFi comes with no fees, and you can go with either automated investing or active investing if you want to be more hands-on.
Like all of the companies featured above, SoFi is purely digital, which is why it can be aggressive on tariffs.
- Management fee: $0
- Account minimum: $100 one time or recurring $20 deposit
You’ve come to the end of this review.
New websites and services keep coming, but basically most of them have some very similar characteristics.
A fully digital experience, primarily mobile, low fees and low entry barriers in terms of minimum account size.
So how can you make a choice? Well, go back to your goals.
What are you looking for ?
Do you want to get started start stock trading, or are you looking for a loan? Are you struggling to put a few dollars on the side or do you want to build your 401k ?
Maybe you want to invest with an impact, or you need a complete financial offering.
There’s a Robo-Advisor or an app specialized in every single of these areas. Remember, with minimal requirements to setup an account and start investing, you can easily decide to give any of the services a go and see if it fits your needs.
Try them out and tell us how you feel about them. And if there’s a service you know and would like to talk about just drop us a comment below, I’ll be happy to review it.
Disclaimer: some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase
I hope this review will be helpful. If you want to thank me, buy me a coffee 😉