Betterment Financial Advisors: what are the pros and cons?

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Rachel Carey

Explore the advantages and disadvantages of using Betterment's financial advisory services, including the convenience, cost, investment options, and potential limitations.

Summary 

  • Betterment is a digital financial advisory platform that was founded in 2008. 

  • Betterment’s simplicity and low investment thresholds make it a popular choice for beginner investors. 

  • As of February 2024, it had over 850,000 users. 

  • For personalized and hands-on investment advice, Unbiased can quickly connect you with a financial advisor

Betterment: who are they? 

Betterment is an online financial advisory service founded in August 2008 by Jon Stein, a Columbia Business School MBA graduate, and Eli Broverman, a lawyer.  

The purpose of Betterment’s financial services platform is to simplify investment management for individuals. 

Betterment utilizes algorithms to provide its users with automated portfolio management, personalized advice, and goal-based investment strategies.  

The platform's interface is user-friendly and allows clients to do the following easily: 

  • Set up accounts. 

  • Make contributions. 

  • Track the progress towards their financial goals. 

With a focus on low fees and diversified investment options, Betterment’s advisors cater to novice investors and those who prefer and seek hands-off portfolio management. 

What does Betterment do? 

Betterment is a financial services firm that provides individuals with automated financial advice and investment management. Clients can create personalized investment portfolios based on their goals, risk tolerance, and desired time horizon through its easy-to-use platform. 

The firm uses advanced algorithms to manage portfolios and optimize investment strategies efficiently. Additionally, the firm offers features, including tax-loss harvesting and retirement planning tools, to help clients maximize their returns and achieve their financial objectives. 

Despite being a well-established digital platform, Betterment Advisors is suited to every type of investor, especially those who prefer a more personalized and human approach. 

What are the pros and cons of Betterment? 

Betterment Financial Services offers several advantages and drawbacks for investors considering its services: 

Pros 

  • Accessibility: Betterment's profile is user-friendly and makes investing accessible to people with varying levels of investment expertise. 

  • Automated services: The firm's platform uses algorithms to manage investment portfolios. It also offers automated rebalancing and tax-efficient strategies, saving effort and time for investors. 

  • Low fees: Betterment's fees are competitive compared to traditional financial advisors. It is also transparent regarding pricing structures and has no hidden costs. 

  • Diversification: Clients can benefit from diversified portfolios that comprise a mix of asset classes, thereby reducing overall risk exposure. 

  • Goal-based: Betterment investing is goal-based. It allows investors to set specific financial goals and tailor investment strategies accordingly, which promotes disciplined saving and wealth accumulation. 

Cons 

  • Limited customization: Even though Betterment offers some personalization and customization, investors have limited control over individual security selection or asset allocation. 

  • Lack of human interaction: The purely digital platform does not provide face-to-face interactions with Betterment advisors, which may deter some investors. 

  • Potential for overreliance on algorithms: Relying solely on algorithms may overlook individual circumstances and some market nuances, which could lead to suboptimal investment decisions in certain situations. 

  • Platform dependence: Investors who rely solely on Betterment may face inconveniences and disruptions due to technical issues. 

Betterment financial services 

Betterment financial services encompass a multitude of offerings on its user-friendly platform.  

Clients can easily set up accounts, track progress toward their financial goals, and access diversified investment options to help them succeed in the long term.  

Here are some of the offerings included on Betterment's platform:  

  • Automated investment management 

  • Retirement planning 

  • Goal-based investing 

  • Socially responsible investment (SRI) options  

  • Crypto investing 

  • Automated rebalancing 

  • Cash and cheque accounts 

  • The option to speak to an advisor online 

  • Financial advice and resources 

Betterment fees 

Betterment's fees are tiered, with investment management fees starting at 0.25% annually or $4 monthly, depending on the account balance.  

There are no additional trading fees, transaction fees, or rebalancing fees. 

Betterment offers a premium service - Betterment Premium - with an annual flat fee of 0.4% (the original 0.25% + 0.15%). This fee includes unlimited access to certified financial planners (CFPs).  

Betterment's transparent fees cover all aspects of portfolio management and advisory services provided by the Betterment platform. 

Betterment technology 

Betterment uses cutting-edge technology to provide its clients with advanced investment management solutions. It uses client input data (e.g., financial preferences and goals and risk appetite) to determine how to allocate investor assets. 

Compared to its competitors, Betterment's technology stands out for its user-friendly interface, seamless integration of financial planning tools, and robust algorithms that constantly adapt to market conditions. 

Betterment security: is it secure? 

Betterment's security includes implementing rigorous measures to safeguard its clients' assets and personal information.  

It utilizes bank-level encryption protocols to protect data transmission and storage.  

Additionally, it uses multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to accounts. 

Betterment also partners with industry-leading financial institutions that adhere to stringent regulatory standards.  

Compared to its competitors, Betterment's security measures are at the forefront of the industry; they continuously update and enhance protocols to mitigate emerging threats and secure their clients' assets and information. 

Betterment customer service 

Overall, Betterment's customer service is regarded as responsive and helpful.  

Clients on the basic version can reach support representatives via email, live chat, or telephonically during business hours, while Premium subscribers can access CFPs. 

The platform also provides extensive resources and FAQs to address common issues. Overall, Betterment strives to offer timely and informative assistance to address client concerns and inquiries promptly.  

Get professional financial advice 

Betterment stands out as a digital financial advisory platform that has a transparent fee structure, excellent security, and a range of services. However, Betterment advisors are only accessible via the firm’s digital platform.  

Those seeking personalized, expert financial advice may prefer to consult a financial advisor directly to guide them through the intricacies of investing.  

Unbiased can match you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor best suited to your needs.  

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.