What is a Robo Advisor?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 8, 2020

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Robo Advisors
September 18, 2017

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Paying an expert to manage your investment portfolio can take a deep cut out of your profits. Today, many people avoid high management fees by using robo advisors. Before you choose a robo advisor for your portfolio, you should learn a little about how they work and what features to expect.

Robo advisors were introduced to online investing in 2008 as a way for people to manage their portfolios without having to interact with investment professionals. Robo advisors use complex algorithms to help investors earn higher returns.

Since robo advisor software can examine countless data points, they often provide more accurate advice than the professionals who charge large sums for their expertise.

Robo advisors work well for individuals who want to invest relatively small amounts of money. Betterment, one of the most popular robo advisors, doesn’t have a minimum deposit amount. Minimum deposits for other robo advisors usually vary from $2,000 to $25,000.

You may also want to use a robo advisor to avoid high annual fees. Plenty of robo advisors do not charge annual fees. Those that do charge fees usually take less than 0.50 percent of your account balance.

Some investors worry that they shouldn’t take financial advice from software. If you feel that way, then you should choose a robo advisor that lets you speak with financial advisors. Keep in mind, however, that getting human advice may cost extra.

Robo advisors have been around for about a decade, so they have proven that they can manage portfolios successfully. Before you choose a robo advisor to manage your money, you should compare several options to make sure you select one that can help you reach your financial goals.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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