Edward Jones vs. Betterment: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated June 18, 2024by Unbiased team

Find out the differences between Edward Jones and Betterment and why one may suit you better.

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Summary 

  • Betterment was awarded the best Robo Advisor of the year by Forbes Advisor (2023), The Ascent (2023), and Buy Side (2024). 

  • Edward Jones is the only major brokerage in the US with a managing partner who is a member of Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business (2023).  

  • Betterment is more for investors who prefer a hands-off approach, while Edward Jones caters to those who prefer one-on-one financial advisory services. 

Betterment vs. Edward Jones: what’s the difference?  

AspectBettermentEdward Jones
Pros Low-cost, automated Personalized advising
Transparent fees Long-term relationships
Tech-savvy, beginners Comprehensive planning
Cons Limited interaction Higher fees
Strategy Algorithm ETFs Custom plans
Fees $4/month, 0.25% AUM 0.75%-5.75%, 1.35%
1% crypto fee 1.35% advisory
0.65% premium Strategy fee
Service Online support Local advisors
Technology Tech-driven Traditional, tech
Adaptability Algorithm updates Personalized response
Customer Service Digital, self-service Dedicated advisors
Access Web, app Web, app
Monitor, transact Account tools

Betterment and Edward Jones offer financial advisory services, but their approaches differ. For instance, Betterment is primarily a digital platform where you manage your retirement planning or investments using its automated investment technology and algorithms. It appeals to tech-savvy clients and investors and offers low fees and easy accessibility.

On the other hand, Edward Jones's financial advisors operate from physical branches, focusing on personalized, face-to-face interactions. They also use traditional advisory methods and cater to clients seeking a more hands-on approach to financial well-being and investments. 

What are Edward Jones and Betterment’s specific investment strategies?  

Betterment's investment strategy relies on algorithms to create diversified portfolios of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tailored to individual risk tolerances and financial goals. This automated approach minimizes human error and keeps fees low, appealing to those seeking a hassle-free, hands-off investing experience. 

Edward Jones, however, employs personal advisors who develop customized investment plans based on in-depth consultations. Their hands-on approach emphasizes long-term advisor-client relationships, offering a human touch that may come with higher fees than Betterment's automated system. 

What fees can I expect from Betterment and Edward Jones?  

Betterment fees depend on the service; they are as follows:  

  • Investing: Investors pay $4 per month or 0.25% of assets under management (AUM) annually. 

  • Crypto: Crypto investors pay a 1% annual fee plus trading expenses. 

  • Cash reserve and checking: No fees 

  • Premium advisory services: Betterment clients seeking access to a certified financial planner (CFP) pay 0.65% annually, provided they invest at least $100,000.

Edward Jones's fees depend on your involvement in the investment process. If you have a more hands-on approach, the costs are lower. However, the fees will be higher if you choose a more hands-off approach. They are outlined below: 

  • Edward Jones Select Account: Commissions and sales fees ranging from 0.75% to 5.75%, and possible third-party internal expenses. 

  • Edward Jones Guided Solutions: An annual program fee starting at 1.35%, with lower tiers for specific investment types and amounts. Possible third-party internal expenses. 

  • Edward Jones Advisory Solutions: Annual program fee of 1.35%, with lower tiers for specific investment types and amounts. Annual Portfolio Strategy fee of 0.09 to 0.19%, depending on account type. Possible third-party internal expenses. 

Regardless of firm fees, investors should be aware of potential trading fees, commissions, inactivity fees, and other non-trading charges (e.g., transfer or wire) that may affect their investment total. 

Is Edward Jones or Betterment better? 

Determining who comes out on top when comparing Edward Jones vs Betterment is subjective. It depends on individual preferences regarding fees, services, and the level of human interaction required, and financial goals. However, each of the firms has pros and cons: 

Pros of Betterment 

Betterment is a fiduciary that offers low-cost, automated investing, making it ideal for tech-savvy investors and beginners. Its diversified portfolios and transparent fee structure are appealing.  

Cons of Betterment 

Unless you're on their premium plan, Betterment lacks personalized human interaction and the soft skills that some investors may value. 

Pros of Edward Jones 

Edward Jones offers face-to-face advisory services across the US, which foster long-term relationships and offer a human touch. Investors who favor traditional advisory methods may prefer Edward Jones's financial planning and guidance.  

Cons of Edward Jones 

Edward Jones' fees are higher and may be less cost-effective for smaller investors. 

Betterment or Edward Jones: which should I choose? 

Choosing between Betterment and Edward Jones depends on your circumstances, so you'd have to weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding. However, tech-savvy investors and beginners who seek a hands-off, low-cost investment approach with easy accessibility and transparent fees may prefer Betterment. 

On the other hand, you may choose Edward Jones financial advisors if you prioritize personalized, face-to-face advisory services and comprehensive financial planning. 

As well as fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing between Edward Jones and Betterment: 

How do Betterment and Edward Jones remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

Betterment remains competitive by leveraging technology to optimize investment strategies and enhance user experience. Meanwhile, Edward Jones' customer service is more personalized. They focus on comprehensive financial planning and adapt to changing market conditions by providing tailored support and guidance to clients. 

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Edward Jones customer service and support are typically better due to its personalized approach and dedicated advisors. However, Betterment offers online support and resources, catering to clients who prefer digital assistance and self-service options. 

Can I access my Edward Jones or Betterment accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Both Edward Jones and Betterment offer user-friendly websites and mobile apps, allowing clients to access their investment accounts conveniently. These platforms provide features for monitoring portfolio performance, making transactions, accessing educational resources, and receiving customer support on the go. 

Get expert financial advice  

Betterment and Edward Jones are financial advisory firms with different investment approaches, customer service, and fee structures. While Betterment offers low-cost investing, Edward Jones provides personalized advisory services. Both firms adapt to market changes, allowing investors to access their accounts via websites and mobile apps. The choice between the two will depend on individual needs and preferences. 

For personalized financial advice, let Unbiased match you with the best SEC-regulated financial advisor for your needs. 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Looking for a financial advisor?

We can connect you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor suited to meet your needs.