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12 Best Robo-Advisors of January 2020

Andrea CoombesJanuary 23, 2020

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

Wealthfront

Wealthfront

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

on Wealthfront's website


Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

Why we like it

Wealthfront has built client trust by offering free management on the first $5,000 — with NerdWallet’s promotion — but the company’s stock-level tax-loss harvesting service really shines, adding as much as 2% to annual investment performance for eligible accounts.

Pros

  • First $5,000 managed free (NerdWallet promotion).

  • Low ETF expense ratios.

  • Daily tax-loss harvesting.

  • Automatic rebalancing.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

  • No large-balance discounts.

Read Full Review
Betterment

on Betterment's website

Betterment

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

  • No account minimum.

  • Fractional shares limit uninvested cash.

  • Robust goal-based tools.

Cons

  • No direct indexing.

Read Full Review
Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

Ellevest

Ellevest

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

on Ellevest's website


Promotion

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

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 advisory fees (ranging from 0.25% - 0.5% of assets) and unlimited access to financial advisors (Premium clients can talk to CFPs), Ellevest is an appealing choice for investors of any gender.

Pros

  • Low account minimum and fees.

  • Goal-focused investing approach.

  • Portfolio mix that factors women’s needs.

Cons

  • Few accounts supported.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review
SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

SoFi Automated Investing

SoFi Automated Investing

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on SoFi Wealth's website


Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

SoFi Automated Investing is great for beginning, cost-conscious investors who favor a hands-off approach. Plus, as a customer, you could be eligible for bonuses on other SoFi products.

Pros

  • Broad range of low-cost investments.

  • Free management.

  • Automatic rebalancing.

  • Customer support.

  • Access to certified financial planners.

Cons

  • Limited account types.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review
Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

on Ally Invest's website

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

Fees

0.0%

with Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio; 0.3% otherwise

Account Minimum

$100

Promotion

None

on Ally Invest's website


Promotion

None

Why we like it

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is best suited to retirement accounts or loyal Ally customers who want to house a managed account, a trading account and their bank accounts under one roof. The lack of tax-loss harvesting will be an issue for investors with taxable brokerage accounts.

Pros

  • Solid investment selection.

  • Integration for Ally bank and brokerage clients.

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review

Summary of Best Robo-Advisors of January 2020

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Wealthfront Logo

Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

Betterment Logo

Betterment

on Betterment's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Betterment's website

Ellevest Logo

Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

$0

on Ellevest's website

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios Logo

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$5,000

Read review
SoFi Automated Investing Logo

SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Wealth's website

E*Trade Core Portfolios Logo

E*Trade Core Portfolios

on E*Trade's website

0.30%

management fee

Up to $3,000

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on E*Trade's website

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Logo

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

on Ally Invest's website

0.0%

with Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio; 0.3% otherwise

None

$100

on Ally Invest's website

Fidelity Go Logo

Fidelity Go

0.35%

management fee

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

Read review
Wealthsimple Logo

Wealthsimple

0.40% - 0.50%

management fee

$10,000

amount of assets managed for free for one year

$0

Read review
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® Logo

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios®

0%

management fee

None

no promotion currently offered

$5,000

Read review
SigFig Logo

SigFig

0.25%

management fee

First $10,000

managed free

$2,000

Read review
Axos Invest Logo

Axos Invest

0%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read review
BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Wealthfront Logo

Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

Betterment Logo

Betterment

on Betterment's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$0

on Betterment's website

Ellevest Logo

Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

0.25%

management fee

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

$0

on Ellevest's website

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios Logo

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$5,000

Read review
SoFi Automated Investing Logo

SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Wealth's website

E*Trade Core Portfolios Logo

E*Trade Core Portfolios

on E*Trade's website

0.30%

management fee

Up to $3,000

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on E*Trade's website

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Logo

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

on Ally Invest's website

0.0%

with Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio; 0.3% otherwise

None

$100

on Ally Invest's website

Fidelity Go Logo

Fidelity Go

0.35%

management fee

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

Read review
Wealthsimple Logo

Wealthsimple

0.40% - 0.50%

management fee

$10,000

amount of assets managed for free for one year

$0

Read review
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® Logo

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios®

0%

management fee

None

no promotion currently offered

$5,000

Read review
SigFig Logo

SigFig

0.25%

management fee

First $10,000

managed free

$2,000

Read review
Axos Invest Logo

Axos Invest

0%

management fee

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read review

Last updated on January 23, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Frequently asked questions

Robo-advisors automate investment management by using computer algorithms to build you a portfolio and manage your assets based on your goals and your tolerance for risk. Since portfolio management is handled by software rather than a human financial advisor, robo-advisors charge lower fees, which can translate to higher long-term returns for investors.

Robo-advisors use advanced software to handle many of the tasks that used to require expensive experts to manage. Services range from automatic rebalancing to tax optimization, and require little to no human interaction. A robo-advisor might be a good fit if you prefer to be largely hands-off with your investments and you don’t have the kind of complex financial situation that requires a direct relationship with a human financial advisor.

That said, many providers offer access to human advisors available for questions related to account management or long-term investment planning — though these services may cost more.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Management fees. This is what you’ll pay annually to have an account at a robo-advisor.
  • Expense ratios. These are like management fees, only they’re paid not to the robo-advisor, but to the investments the robo-advisor uses. Mutual funds, index funds and exchange-traded funds all charge this annual fee to cover the costs of running the fund.
  • Account types. Investment accounts fall into two general categories: Retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s, that offer tax advantages while adhering to certain rules; and taxable accounts, where there are no specific tax advantages but also no limits on contributions or distributions.
  • Investments. Most robo-advisors use low-cost index funds and ETFs.
  • Rebalancing. Portfolios are fluid, and market fluctuations can cause the mix of investments you hold to get out of sync with your goals. Rebalancing brings that allocation back to its original mix.
  • Access to human advisors. Many robo-advisors have merged computer-driven portfolio management with access to human financial advisors. Some services offer a dedicated advisor to individual clients; others offer only email or online chat with a team of advisors.