BEST OF

11 Best Robo-Advisors of August 2021

Alana BensonJul 27, 2021
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Robo-advisors are quickly becoming mainstream, which is good news for consumers who are looking for low-cost financial advice. The number of online advisors continues to swell, as does the range of services. Many now offer socially responsible investment portfolios, access to human financial advisors and comprehensive digital financial planning tools.

Bottom line: There’s now a low-cost advisor option for every type of investor. We’ve covered the best choices below.

Summary of Best Robo-Advisors of August 2021

Our picks for

Overall

SoFi Automated Investing
Learn more

on SoFi Invest's website

SoFi Automated Investing

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Automated Investing

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Learn more

on SoFi Invest'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
Betterment
Learn more

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

Learn more

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
Wealthfront
Learn more

on Wealthfront's website

Wealthfront

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Wealthfront

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

Learn more

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 — and the company’s stock-level tax-loss harvesting service really shines.

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
Vanguard Digital Advisor
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Vanguard Digital Advisor

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Vanguard Digital Advisor

Fees

0.15%

per year (approximately)

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Vanguard's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Vanguard Digital Advisor is an affordable robo-advisory service using several of Vanguard’s key ETFs to create a personalized retirement plan and portfolio for investors.

Pros

  • Access to Vanguard’s investing expertise and ETFs.

  • Low management fee relative to competitors.

  • Low investment expense ratios and no additional account fees.

Cons

  • Limited tools and account types as the program remains in pilot mode into 2021.

  • Limited portfolio options and customization.

  • No tax-loss harvesting for tax minimization.

Read Full Review
Stash
Learn more

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)

Learn more

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
Learn more

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"

Learn more

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

Our pick for

401(k) management

While Blooom is slightly different than the other robo-advisors on this list, the company deserves a mention for offering a unique and useful product: Blooom directly manages 401(k)s — a rare service among robo-advisors.

Blooom
Learn more

on Blooom's website

Blooom

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Blooom

Fees

$45 - $250

per year

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$10 off

with code REEETIRE

Learn more

on Blooom's website


Promotion

$10 off

with code REEETIRE

Why we like it

Blooom brings much-needed investment management to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s. Investors can also test drive the service with the company’s free analysis tool.

Pros

  • 401(k) management.

  • No account minimum.

  • Free analysis.

  • Access to financial advisors.

Cons

  • Limited risk tolerance assessment.

  • Aggressive asset allocation.

  • High costs for small account balances.

Read Full Review

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

Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

Last updated on July 27, 2021

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People often identify opening a savings account as their next money move.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

American Express® High Yield Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
American Express® High Yield Savings Account

APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Axos Bank® High Yield Savings

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Axos Bank® High Yield Savings

APY

0.61%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC

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.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Robo-Advisors of August 2021

Frequently asked questions