Robo advisors are an easy way for you to engage in automated investing without having to make an appointment to see a person at your bank. Not all robo financial advisors are made equal, however. Choose wisely based on your desired features and knowledge about the financial world and online investment sites. Here is a look at the best robo advisors to help you make the right decision.

Ally Invest: Best Robo Advisor Overall

ALLY INVEST REVIEW

  • Best for: Active investors. Ally Invest is a great option for active traders who want to take a hands-on approach to managing their own portfolios.
  • Price: For Ally Invest’s Managed Portfolio program, it charges 0.30% of your investment for an annual advisory fee. Ally also has the option of broker trading, where each trade costs $4.95.
  • Features: Get access to all of the stock research and investing tips available at any brokerage, without the high cost of getting started. Ally Invest also offers a robust and intuitive user platform.
  • Customer service: There’s no wrong time to get in touch with Ally, since customer service is available online or via the phone, 24/7, though not quite 365.
Fees Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
0.30% annual advisory fee Forex, Futures, CDs, Stocks, Options, ETFs, Bonds, Mutual Funds $2,500 best credit repair

How Does Ally Invest Work?

Getting started with Ally Invest is quick and easy. Simply go onto the company website, fill out an online form and wait for an approval. Most new accounts are approved within a few minutes. Once you have an account opened, you need to fund your account and select your investments. If you want a managed portfolio, you will need to invest a minimum of $2,500. For self-managed investing, you can invest as much or as little as you like, and the transaction fee for stock trades is only $4.95.

What Makes Ally Invest Stand Out?

When shopping for a robo advisor to handle your investing, most platforms don’t offer much self-management. They let you select some basic parameters, and then the platform handles the actual investments. With Ally Invest, you can do both. You can self-manage your funds and participate in a managed account. That allows you to quickly see what investment strategy is doing the best in current market conditions.

Common Ally Invest Reviews

You’ll likely see a lot of positive reviews of Ally Invest, though you might not see as much about its managed account services. For many, Ally Invest is all about self-management, and it offers that service at a price that really can’t be beat. Even the managed services are priced competitively, but it is the industry leading $4.95 per trade and low caps on mutual funds that really make Ally Invest an industry price leader. Here is our own full Ally Invest review.

Is Ally Invest for Me?

If you want to start working on financial freedom, planning for your retirement or building your personal wealth, Ally Invest is a great place to get started. You can build a portfolio at relatively low cost, and as you grow your investment pool, eventually switch to a managed account. With Ally Invest, you can be as hands on or off as you like, so if you want more options when it comes to investing, Ally Invest should definitely make your list as a robo financial advisor.


Personal Capital: Best Robo Advisor for Experienced Investors

PERSONAL CAPITAL REVIEW

  • Best For: Experienced investors. High-value investors get the comprehensive services available through Personal Capital at a reasonable price.
  • Price: Annual advisory fees range from 0.49 percent to 0.89 percent, depending on the account balance.
  • Features: Accounts with a minimum of $200,000 enjoy the hands-on service of two account managers, while all account holders can use the available personal finance tools and account teams to manage their accounts.
  • Customer Service: Available through email or via phone. Personal Capital also has members-only contact methods, avoiding the clutter of a public line.
Price Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
0.49% to 0.89% percent annual advisory fee,
depending on the account balance
Traditional and Roth IRAs, Trust accounts,
Taxable Retirement accounts, 401k Plans
$25,000 best credit repair

How Does Personal Capital Work?

Personal Capital offers automated investing advice, but it works more like a traditional brokerage firm than many other robo investor platforms. A high minimum investment coupled with a comprehensive features list makes Personal Capital full service and full price. Get started by opening an account using the online tool or call customer service to walk you through your options. You can always sign up for the personal finance tools, even if you don’t start an investment account. If you want to set up the investment portion later, you can use the personal finance tools to help you set savings goals and improve your financial health prior to your first investment with Personal Capital.

What Makes Personal Capital Stand Out?

When making a robo advisor comparison, price is often the only real difference. With Personal Capital, features are what really make this personal finance product stand out. This robo investing platform goes beyond simply handling your investments and into real financial planning. You can link all of your accounts to your robo investor and monitor your financial health. A vast library of resources, continued access to human advice when needed and plenty of account options all help make Personal Capital the best option for those that can afford to open an account.

Common Personal Capital Reviews

Personal Capital is one of those companies that easily stand at the top of the field. Not only do industry experts routinely give this robo investor the thumbs up, but so do consumers. It enjoys a near 5-star rating on virtually every site where it is mentioned, and even the complaints are more like service suggestions.

Is Personal Capital for Me?

If you have $25,000 ready to invest, Personal Capital is an excellent option. The holistic approach to financial health and investing lets you build a long-term plan with your robo financial advisor. That can help you find more money to invest, plan for major purchases and find ways to minimize the tax burden on your investment income. If you don’t have much experience investing or want to start out with a smaller deposit, Personal Capital is not the place to get started.


FutureAdvisor: Best Robo Advisor for Beginners

FUTUREADVISOR REVIEW
  • Best For: FutureAdvisor expertly serves the needs of low-key, hands-off investors at every risk tolerance level. Individuals interested in gradually boosting their account balances using long-term, diversified investments will benefit most from this company’s metered approach.
  • Price: FutureAdvisor charges just 0.125 percent of the managed account totals on a quarterly basis, which equals a total annual fee of 0.5 percent. Trading fees and account closing costs may apply. All of the fees are deducted from taxable accounts first to minimize yearly tax liabilities.
  • Features: The diversified accounts managed by FutureAdvisor may include traditional, Roth, SEP and rollover IRAs, plus taxable individual and joint accounts outside the retirement realm. The employed diversification and tax strategies help minimize risk and expenses to boost the growth of these accounts over the years.
  • Other highlights: FutureAdvisor currently offers new clients three months of free premium access to give individuals time to gauge the benefits of the company’s direct management services. Information about investment account recommendations, 401(k) management and retirement planning remain free for base level accounts.
  • Customer Service: The award-winning team at FutureAdvisor offers comprehensive support and guidance by phone, email and live chat. Team members and software programs provide 24/7 monitoring and balancing of all managed accounts.
Fees Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
0.5% Annual Rate At least 12 asset classes, including ETFs, options and stocks, are used to diversify managed accounts $10,000 futureadvisor review

How Does FutureAdvisor Work?

With FutureAdvisor, you receive ongoing monitoring services and automatic balancing adjustments for all of your investment accounts. The adjustments are made to match your expectations for risk tolerance and account growth.

Upon signing up for this service, you enter in your stats, including age, yearly income, preferred retirement age and risk tolerance level, for use in the generation of an appropriate personalized management plan for your accounts. After creating your investment profile, you can add all of your current retirement and non-retirement accounts to your managed portfolio. The company expertly manages IRAs of all kinds, including Roth, traditional, rollover and SEP accounts. In addition, you can add your non-retirement individual and joint taxable accounts to the list of managed entities.

You also have the option to open new accounts with help from the team of financial advisors. You must deposit an initial balance of at least $10,000 to obtain this service. You can make additional small deposits after creating your account, but these funds will need to hit $500 to become a part of your investment portfolio.


Wealthfront: Best Robo Advisor for Price

WEALTHFRONT REVIEW

  • Best For: Minimal fees. Anyone interested in investing without paying hidden fees.
  • Price: Wealthfront makes pricing easy to understand at a simple, 0.25 percent annual advisory fee. There are no transaction fees, trading commissions or other costs associated with the service.
  • Features: Using a sophisticated tax-loss system, Wealthfront can add up to 2 percent to annual performance numbers, making it among the best robo advisors for tax-loss harvesting.
  • Customer Service: You can contact Wealthfront via the phone, email or an online contact form.
Price Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
0.25% annual advisory fee Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, 401K Rollover,
Investment Accounts, 529 College Savings
$500 best credit repair

How Does Wealthfront Work?

Get started with Wealthfront by linking all of your financial accounts with your Wealthfront platform. This allows the robo advisor to analyze your spending and make recommendations about your financial future. You can set up some parameters and let the platform do the rest.

What Makes Wealthfront Stand Out?

There are many different robo advisors out there, but what puts Wealthfront at the top of the list as one of the best robo advisors is a very affordable fee structure combined with college savings. Management for 529 College Savings accounts is rare when you’re looking at managed investments accounts. It’s a big convenience to have a single platform that can handle it all from your retirement planning to savings designed to put your kids through college.

Common Wealthfront Reviews

Wealthfront routinely gets 4- and 5-star reviews from finance experts, in large part because of its affordable fee structure and comprehensive platform. Where other robo advisors only tackle investment management, Wealthfront takes a more holistic view of your finances and helps manage all of your money, not just the dollars you allocate to an investment account. Here is Wealthfront review with a comparison to competitor Betterment.

Is Wealthfront for Me?

Given that there are no charges for investing with Wealthfront for the first $10,000, this platform is a great choice for anyone interested in investing. There’s no risk to try the service, and if you like it, you can always transfer more of your investments to this robo advisor.


Betterment: Best Robo Advisor for Simplicity

BETTERMENT REVIEW

  • Best For: Beginners. Betterment is among the best robo advisors for beginners, offering a mix of hands-off and guided investment.
  • Price: As one of the most affordable investment options, Betterment offers management services for 0.25 percent in an annual advisory fee.
  • Features: Not only does Betterment include the standard options of investing using the company’s algorithm-generated recommendations, but users can also speak directly to investment professionals to get more information and manage their portfolio directly.
  • Customer Service: Betterment makes getting in touch quick and easy, with a posted company directory, call, live chat and email contact options and hours well outside of banking hours.
Fees Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
0.25% to 0.50% of investment annually Traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs, taxable retirement accounts,
401K rollover, trust management
$0 best robo advisor

How Does Betterment Work?

Work with Betterment advisors to decide on a goal and create a plan to help get you there. When you first open an account with Betterment, experts work with you to help you figure out your next steps. If you’re planning to buy a home or want to save for retirement, you can plan for these major life changes. Getting started is as easy as opening an account and making that first deposit.

What Makes Betterment Stand Out?

Many robo advisors minimize the importance of human advice. After all, the entire point of a robo advisor is to automate investment account management. At Betterment, you can get a bit of both automation and human advice. With three different membership tiers available, you can choose to pay more and get more personalized service. If having access to experts and someone to walk you through the complexities of investing is important to you, Betterment is one of the best robo advisors out there.

Common Betterment Reviews

Industry experts routinely hand out 5 stars for Betterment. Affordable, transparent pricing and a whole suite of features and customization options make Betterment a top option for finance experts, but expect to see some negative reviews from the investing public. When a fund doesn’t perform as well as expected or there is a short-term downturn, frustrated investors might write a negative review. There is no such thing as an investment that always goes up, so don’t expect to see constant jumps in your net worth. Instead, look for long-term trends in the upward direction. Here is our own in-depth Betterment review to give you more information about the service.

Is Betterment for Me?

If you are looking for a more hands-off investment platform and have a hefty balance to invest, Betterment might be the best place to get started. When you make a large investment, you enjoy free management for up to a year. That fee waiver makes trying Betterment a risk-free proposition. That means Betterment is an option for virtually everyone. If you’re planning to eventually retire or build a nest egg to fund activities and boost your income, this platform has great, goal-based planning features that can help.


Acorns: Best Robo Advisor App

ACORNS REVIEW

  • Best For: Investing with an app. Acorns is a great choice for those new to the investment landscape. It helps find the money to invest and handles the transactions, all without the need for direct management.
  • Price: If you’re not a college student (they get it free), the cost is $1 per month until your account balance reaches $5,000. After that, you will pay a 0.25 percent annual management fee on your robo investing.
  • Features: Acorns acts a lot like an old-fashioned piggy bank. When you make a purchase, instead of throwing your change into a jar, Acorns throws it into an investment account.
  • Customer Service: The early bird might get the worm, so Acorns offers some fairly early office hours, with customer service lines opening at 6 AM. When you need to get in touch with support, you can also contact Acorns via email, if Acorns’ 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule doesn’t sync up with yours.
Price Investing Options Minimum Investment STL Rating
$1/month up to $5,000, 0.25% annual advisory fee after Taxable individual account $5 best credit repair

How Does Acorns Work?

Getting started with Acorns robo investing is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is link your debit cards and checking account with your Acorns account. Once that’s done, you can set up a variety of methods to start funding your investments. With round-up services, you can have Acorns automatically transfer funds up to the next dollar amount, rounding up all of your purchases. If you don’t like the idea of automatic rounding, you can choose to manually select items for rounding, or opt out of rounding altogether.

Acorns also offers the option to set up automatic withdrawals to fund your investment account. With transfers as low as $5, you can add money weekly, biweekly or monthly.

What Makes Acorns Stand Out?

The round-up option is what sets Acorns apart from the competition. By automating investing, Acorns essentially automates the process of saving (and earning) money. Any savings you don’t need to think about are more likely to add up. This is part of the reason 401k plans do so well as an investment tool — the money comes out of your paycheck automatically. Acorns takes the same principle and applies it to more than just your retirement savings.

Common Acorns Reviews

One of the most common complaints about Acorns comes down to the lack of options. Acorns automates the investment process, but it also limits the types of accounts available and only offers a few fund options to choose from when robo investing.

Is Acorns for Me?

If you’re new to investing and just want to test the waters, Acorns can be a great way to get started. You’re only investing small change and usually buying fractions of shares. That adds up to a very small investment that can help you learn a lot. By watching the market and seeing how your Acorns account performs, you can eventually graduate to a more comprehensive investment management platform, though that doesn’t mean you should cancel your Acorns account. After all, automated transfers make it easy and relatively painless to grow your investment portfolio.