Robo-advisor vs. human advisor: which should I use?

1 min readLast updated May 30, 2024by Unbiased team

Unpack the intricacies of robo-advisors vs. human advisors to understand which option best suits your financial goals.

Summary 

  • Robo-advisors provide investment guidance and portfolio management using algorithms and automation. 

  • Human advisors offer personalized, comprehensive financial guidance beyond investment management. 

  • When comparing robo advisors vs human advisors,  human advisors will always offer more tailored advice backed by real-life expertise.  

  • Let Unbiased connect you with a financial advisor to tailor your investments to meet your financial goals.  

What are robo-advisors? 

Robo-advisors are digital platforms that utilize algorithms and automation to provide investment guidance and portfolio management services. Essentially, they harness the power of technology to analyze your financial situation, risk tolerance, and investment goals and allocate your assets accordingly, all without human intervention. 

Robo-advisors streamline the investment process and offer convenience and accessibility to individuals at various stages of their financial journey. Their low fees and minimal account requirements appeal to those getting started on their investing journey with relatively simple needs, as well as those seeking a hands-off approach to investing.  

However, it's essential to recognize that while robo-advisors may be efficient and cost-effective, they lack the personalized touch and nuanced insights of human advisors, and they are in no way a replacement. 

How do robo-advisors compare to human advisors? 

When comparing robo advisors vs human advisors, human advisors provide a tailored experience, taking into account your unique financial circumstances, goals, and risk tolerance. They offer invaluable expertise, drawing on their knowledge of the market, economic trends, and tax implications to craft customized strategies that align with your financial goals. 

Human advisors truly shine in their ability to offer holistic financial guidance beyond just investment management. They serve as trusted confidants, offering support and education on a wide range of financial matters. 

While robo-advisors rely on data-driven algorithms to make investment decisions, human advisors bring a human touch to the equation. They possess the empathy and intuition to understand your motivations, fears, and aspirations, thereby fostering a deeper connection and sense of trust. 

Robo-advisors vs. human advisors: which is best for you? 

Determining whether a robo advisor vs a human advisor is the right fit for you hinges on various factors, including your financial resources, goals, and preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as each option offers distinct advantages and drawbacks. 

  • Cost 

Robo-advisors typically charge a percentage of assets managed, which can range from 0.25% to 0.50% annually. In contrast, human advisors may charge a similar percentage-based fee on assets under management, but they may also offer alternative fee structures, such as hourly rates or flat fees for specific services. 

Robo-advisors often tout lower fees compared to human advisors, primarily due to their automated, streamlined approach to investment management. However, it's essential to consider the value proposition. Human advisors offer personalized guidance, expertise, and a comprehensive suite of services that extend beyond investment management, potentially justifying their higher fees for those seeking a holistic financial approach.

  • Range of services 

Robo-advisors primarily focus on investment management, offering automated portfolio allocation and rebalancing services. While this streamlined approach may suffice for some individuals, it may fall short for those with complex financial needs or seeking comprehensive financial planning guidance. 

Human advisors offer a broader range of services, including retirement planning, estate planning, tax optimization, insurance analysis, and more. They take a holistic approach to financial planning, addressing various aspects of your financial life to help you achieve your long-term goals and aspirations. 

  • Ease of start-up & maintenance 

In terms of ease of start-up and maintenance, robo-advisors often take the lead. These digital platforms offer a seamless onboarding process, allowing you to create an account, answer a few questions about your financial goals and risk tolerance, and start investing within minutes and from the comfort of your home. 

While human advisors offer a more personalized experience, they may usually require a more involved onboarding process, including initial consultations, paperwork, and ongoing communication. However, many human advisory firms have adapted to modern technologies, offering digital platforms and mobile apps to enhance the client experience and streamline administrative tasks. 

  • Benefits 

Robo-advisors excel in automation, providing efficiency and convenience for investors seeking a hands-off approach to managing their finances. They leverage technology to automate tedious tasks such as portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting, allowing investors to focus on their broader financial goals. 

That being said, human financial advisors offer a level of personalized service and expertise that robo-advisors simply can't replicate. They forge meaningful relationships with clients and provide tailored guidance across a wide spectrum of financial needs.  

Clients gain more than just financial advice from a human advisor—they gain a trusted partner who offers proactive support, reassurance, and customized strategies to navigate life's financial complexities.  

By choosing a human advisor, individuals benefit from a holistic approach to financial planning that takes into account their unique circumstances and aspirations, setting them on a path toward long-term financial success. 

  • Risks 

For all their sophisticated algorithms and risk management systems, robo-advisors are not immune to market volatility and unforeseen events. Investors should be mindful of potential risks such as algorithmic errors, technological glitches, and cybersecurity threats that could impact their investment outcomes. 

While offering personalized guidance and expertise, human advisors are not without risks either. Clients should carefully vet their advisors, ensuring they possess the necessary credentials, experience, and fiduciary duty to act in their best interests. Human advisors may also be subject to biases, conflicts of interest, and human error. 

Get expert financial advice 

When choosing between robo-advisors and human advisors, it’s evident that robo-advisors offer convenience and automation. However, human advisors provide a level of personalized service and expertise that remains unmatched. From tailored guidance to proactive support, human advisors offer a holistic approach to financial planning that considers each client's unique circumstances and aspirations.  

While technology can streamline processes, financial advice from an experienced real-life advisor remains invaluable. It ensures clients receive the support and guidance they need to achieve their long-term financial goals. 

Let Unbiased match you with a trusted financial advisor who can offer tailored advice that’s backed by proper expertise.  

 

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.