BEST OF

9 Best Robo-Advisors for Socially Conscious Investors of May 2021

These robo-advisors build socially conscious portfolios and manage them for you, so you can invest ethically without the effort.

Alana BensonFebruary 16, 2021
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If you want to start investing but would prefer for your investment dollars to do some good in the world, you may want to consider working with a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors use computer algorithms to build and manage an investment portfolio for you, taking into account your investment time frame and risk tolerance. The below robo-advisors offer socially conscious portfolios, allowing you to not only invest in your future but in the future of the planet and society.

» New to this? Read up on the basics of socially responsible investing

Most of these robo-advisors choose their assets using the principles of ESG investing. ESG is a way to measure a company or investment’s environmental, social and governance impact. Research firms and advisors often use ESG scores as a way to grade sustainable investments.

The bottom line: These robo-advisors can help you start investing in a socially conscious portfolio for no additional charge.

Summary of Best Robo-Advisors for Socially Conscious Investors of May 2021

E*TRADE Core Portfolios

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE Core Portfolios

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE Core Portfolios

Fees

0.30%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

If you’re after a robo-advisor portfolio with actively managed mutual funds, E*TRADE is a strong option. Otherwise, you may be able to get more for less from a competitor, particularly if you hold a high balance in a taxable account.

Pros

  • Extensive investor tools and educational resources.

  • Strong customer service.

  • Low investment-expense ratios.

  • Specialty portfolio options.

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review
Betterment

on Betterment's website

Betterment

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Betterment

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

on Betterment's website


Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

Why we like it

Betterment has maintained its status as the largest independent robo-advisor for a reason: The company offers a powerful combination of goal-based tools, affordable management fees and no account minimum.

Pros

  • Multiple portfolio options and customization.

  • No account minimum and low fees.

  • Fractional shares mean all your cash is invested.

  • Robust goal-based tools.

Cons

  • No direct indexing.

Read Full Review
Stash

on Stash's website

Stash

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Stash

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $510 in credit to invest

with qualifying deposit into taxable account (see terms)

on Stash's website


Promotion

Up to $510 in credit to invest

with qualifying deposit into taxable account (see terms)

Why we like it

Stash offers educational assistance that can save you money in the long run, by teaching you how to manage your portfolio. But once you’ve learned the basics, you may find you’re unlikely to get much more in exchange for Stash’s ongoing monthly fee.

Pros

  • Educational content and support.

  • Fractional shares.

  • Values-based investment offerings.

Cons

  • Smart Portfolios don't offer tax-loss harvesting.

  • High ETF expense ratios.

Read Full Review
Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

Ellevest

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Ellevest

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

on Ellevest's website


Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

Why we like it

This advisor markets itself to women and takes a goal-focused approach that factors in women’s lower incomes, lifetime earnings and longer lifespans. With its $0 account minimum, competitive membership fee and a la carte access to CFPs and coaches, Ellevest is an appealing choice for investors of any gender.

Pros

  • No account minimum.

  • Goal-focused investing approach.

  • Portfolio mix that factors women’s needs.

  • A la carte sessions with coaches and CFPs.

Cons

  • IRA access for Plus and Executive members only.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Last updated on February 16, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers and robo-advisors by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS

We collect data directly from providers, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

RATING FACTORS

Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.

Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.

FACTOR WEIGHTINGS

The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

Provider categories include: Best Brokers for Stock Trading, Best Brokers for Beginners, Best Brokers for Day Trading, Best Brokers for Options Trading, Best Discount Brokers, Best Brokers for Free Trading, Best Investment Apps, Best Brokers for Penny Stocks, Best IRA Brokers, Best Robo-Advisors, Best Financial Advisors, Best Real Estate Platforms, Best Brokers for ETFs and Best Brokers for Mutual Funds.

INFORMATION UPDATES

Writers and editors conduct our broker and robo-advisor reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.

THE REVIEW TEAM

The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.

The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users. For more information, see NerdWallet’s editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions