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Getting Started With a Robo-advisor
The following are some of the best services for newbies, but this list is far from comprehensive. Trying to make a decision between services such as Stash vs PlayBook is confusing for the beginner, so research each service thoroughly.
A well-known name in the world of robo-advisors, Wealthfront has consistently been rated as one of the best platforms for new investors in general. For the new investor, tools and services for managing investments can be found here. Its greatest asset is its ability to fully automate the process of investing money. There are no withdrawal or trade commission fees, but new users must keep a $500 minimum balance in their accounts. There is also a small 0.25% fee for most accounts.
For long-term goal planning, Wealthfront tends to be the best platform due to its wide range of options and goal setting services, as well as digital financial planning tools and progress trackers. On the other hand, fractional trading is not supported, there is no live human adviser available, and the chat and customer service options are somewhat limited.
Become an Insider
Stash is yet another robo-advisor service designed to help novice investors learn about the ins and outs of investing. There are millions of people who do not have bank accounts because of financial difficulties or a poor credit rating, which is why CEO Brandon Krieg founded the service. Depending on the account type, there is no minimum balance requirement to sign up for Stash, and the monthly fee ranges from $1 to $9. It is the best platform for new investors and account holders who want to educate themselves on the process. Premade portfolios are also available, including one that focuses on socially responsible investments. It is the only robo-adviser with a guidance and education system like this, and it also provides access to fractional shares. In contrast, there is no account management, no tax loss harvesting or tax services, and no human brokers or financial advisors.
Acorns is a novel service that operates in a manner that makes sense, but has not really been done before. Acorns allows account holders to link a bank account or credit card account, at which point when purchases are made on the account, Acorns rounds up the purchase to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. It is designed to take control (and potential mistakes) out of the hands of the investor, and increase investment accounts incrementally. It automatically invests spare change that would otherwise go in a change jar, and offers cashback at certain retailers. There’s also quite a bit of content available for those looking to educate themselves. On the downside, it tends to have higher fees on small account balances compared to its competitors.
Playbook is a somewhat different service than many of the other robo-advisors out there. Many of these types of services are catered towards individuals who aren’t making a lot of money and might not have much extra to spare on investing. Playbook, on the other hand, markets its services to those making over $100,000 a year. It focuses on optimizing taxes and automatically putting extra money in various places that ensure that investing is compounding. It allows the account holder to look for tax advantages in ways they had not previously thought of. Some of these include 401(k) plans, IRAs, and Roth IRAs. The $19 monthly fee for the service is pennies for most account holders, and it provides opportunities for individuals to reduce their taxes on a higher salary.On the other hand, it does not offer much in the way of education, compared to some other services like Wealthfront, and live assistance is somewhat lacking.
For those who know they need to do more to improve their finances but aren’t sure where to begin, robo-advisors can be a great help. If you make less than $100K a year, it won’t be difficult to choose between Stash vs PlayBook, but if you are getting started, choosing between Stash vs Wealthfront or Stash vs Acorns might take more effort. Only a small sample of the many services available are included in this review; however, some of them provide features that some investors may find useful. As a result, Acorns may be a better option for those who frequently forget to monitor their portfolios. But if you’re looking to learn more about your finances in order to better manage your money, Stash might be the better choice.
1. Do I need to use the mobile application for each of these services?
Playbook does not actually have an application yet, while the others do. All four services are accessible online through a web browser, although the mobile applications appeal to users of all the services as they are easier to use and more convenient.
2. What are the age requirements for these services?
To open an account, all of the services require the account holder to be over the age of 18. However, Wealthfront allows for some custodial accounts for those under 18.
3. What is the difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA?
With a traditional IRA, you contribute to the account before or after tax dollars, and the money is tax deferred until it is withdrawn. With a Roth IRA, you contribute after-tax dollars, and the account grows tax-free and allows for penalty-free withdrawals.
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