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I tested their approach by putting in a static amount of money in and not touching it for the last 4 years. I had a reasonably aggressive investment mix geared toward stocks with some bonds. The S&P was up quite a bit during that time. My returns with them were not-5% annualized-pretty marginal. Yes, they may have low fees but then that may not matter if they have low returns. Further when I attempted to roll out my IRA balance the process was beyond horrible. It took over 6 weeks of back and forth, back and forth! It was like we were back in the paper days, not electronic. By comparison, I did the same type of rollover with Fidelity and it took 3 days-all electronically-no phone calls, no e-mails whatsoever.
I don't have a 401k at work so I needed to do something to prepare for retirement. After a bit of research I thought Betterment was a good choice. A few months later, I decided that I need more advice than what I am currently receiving (plus my lack of knowledge). On March 25th, my new financial advisor submitted the paperwork to get my funds transferred to their company. I have received several emails saying my funds are being transferred, then a couple days later I get an email saying the transaction could not be processed. When I call to speak to a live person I get the "all is good" speech. Then again I get an email saying there's a problem. THIS HAS HAPPENED 4 TIMES! It has now been over a month and I still have not received my funds. If you decided to go with Betterment, prepare yourself for a lengthy withdrawal or transfer process.
I have had my Betterment account for the better part of 4 years. Today, with yet another stock market decline, I have learned this one very important fact: Betterment is not a robo advisor as we'd like to think. Here's what they actually do: They invest your money in a few ETFs, collect the dividends, and then sit on their hands and ride the waves of the stock market. They do absolutely nothing to protect what gains you may have earned. That is not a robo advisor. That's just a basic hedge fund. You and I can both do that but without the fees. They're trash and a complete scam. In 4 years, I am in the negative earnings category thanks to them doing nothing. That means all dividends earned are gone. And I've lost money to their fees. Again... A COMPLETE SCAM!
Like somebody said earlier, they are a mafia. You can easily join, but you won't leave. I submitted every single document they requested. They took over a month to do a simple transfer. I've dealt with other bigger brokerage companies doing the same transfers from my late husband's accounts and it was a smooth process. Not with Betterment. I had to jump hoops and go back and forth with them a million times for simple stuff. The kicker is when their "Estate" expert gave me a wrong information and tried to argue with me. I asked for agreement as to where she was getting her opinion/"robo" answer from, and as I thought, she did not have anything to back her "suggestion" which was wrong to my situation. I'm glad, I'm not their customer. Awful experience, stay away if you can.
I signed up for a promo for a t-shirt = never got it. I called and emailed. They lied. I signed up for airline miles. It took a LOT to get them! They promise, but don't deliver. Also not great results for 1/4 percent. I closed acct after a few months. Disappointing. Great website. GUI however.
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I've had two accounts invested with Betterment for more than a year. Both were mostly invested in stock ETFs and both generated returns far below their comparable benchmarks. The service is very easy to use and the website on a computer and mobile apps are well designed. But there are much better alternatives, including high yield money market accounts, that provide far superior returns.
Looks like Betterment has mafia style methods. I opened an IRA account with Betterment and they made it very easy for me to transfer my IRA account from TD. They said all I had to do is sign a paper to authorize the transfer and they would take care of everything else. But, they failed to disclose that my previous company (TD) may charge me a transfer fee!!! TD charged me $75 and Betterment didn’t even bother mentioning it before initiating the transfer! All they want is your money!!! Scam company!!!
They will take your money and make you transfer and then won’t give a damn about you! STAY AWAY!!! And, most companies reimburse accounts that get transferred to them (to avoid this concussion) but Betterment wouldn’t give a dollar! SCAM company!!!! Will never deal with them again and will take my money out of there!!!
My account was growing slowly earlier in the year (2018) and then the market took a nice upturn. As the Dow hit a record high I took a look and my account is down $800+ since May?!?! In this bull market I am losing money? My other accounts are both way up. I can’t imagine what Betterment is doing with my money so I am closing my account and moving on to someone else.
I have been with Betterment for almost a year and my annual returns are -1.1%, This is after factoring in $40 dollars of dividends I've earned and I'm still down -1.1%. I plan on having this account for a while so hopefully I see some turn around, I even changed my portfolio to very conservative so I could see some sort of return but nothing. I started my acorns account a year ago and have also switched it to a conservative portfolio and now have a 1.9% return. I wish I used Acorns for all of my accounts instead.
You will jump through hoops to get your money out... I tried to withdraw my funds, they want to insist on conference calling the bank to verify account ownership...over 25k in deposits from the account. How many people do you know that would deposit funds into someone else's brokerage account? Did I mention they recently got fined for how they handle their customers money? I agree with the person who made the comment that all they do is buy Vanguard funds... If that's all they do, then I'll just open an account with Vanguard and buy the funds directly from them for free; no trade fees. Shady... Shady... Shady...
Our company recently moved the 401K funds from Fidelity to Betterment and I wanted all my other funds in one place. I worked to move funds and they put my money in an account that I did not want. When I called they said it would take some time to transfer, I would need to fill out forms, AND then to speak to a 401K specialist. I would have to download the APP and communicate via the messenger link on the APP - ONLY on the app not the website (???). After doing this, the message I received was that someone would be in touch with me in 3 to 4 business days! Is this a pop-up shop investment company?? I immediately moved my money back to Fidelity!
I'm totally baffled with some of the poor reviews that I've seen here. I've used a few different investment firms, some of the usual suspects that have been decent such as Fidelity but Betterment is by far & away the best place for my money. I only wish Betterment was around 15 years ago. The growth I've experienced with my portfolio has been tremendous! The site is user friendly and the staff is extremely helpful and accessible. I normally don't recommend financial services to friends and family but I have sung the praises of Betterment to them without hesitation. It's comforting working with a company that puts the investor first.
I've been using Betterment for about three years and I've never had an issue with the company, website, or mobile app. I've put money in, taken money out, collected dividends, rolled over into IRAs, etc. In everything I've done with Betterment it's been utter simplicity. Deposits are made on schedule, with advance notice that a withdrawal is pending. When dividends are paid out, I also get a notification. All of my interactions, except during advice type phone calls I initiated, have been via the internet, with all payments being ACH style back to the original bank account. Not paperwork needed.
The mobile application makes it easy to track performance, even when you know you shouldn't be watching too closely (when markets move lower...). Investing is for the long term, so expecting instant gratification isn't what you'll get here, or anywhere you invest. Over my time with Betterment I've averaged over 25% in returns, that's better than some of my 401k's! That return was over time, not instant.
As to Betterment being a shill for Fidelity (as another review claims), I can attest that I have some of my funds in Fidelity as well as many other investment houses. It depends on fund performance, management costs, fund fees, and other factors. This is the advantage of so called robo-trading, as a fund moves out of alignment the computers purchase new shares with the better performing fund.
After reading some of these reviews I think most are based on ignorance or just flat out lies. You do not have to fill out paperwork to withdraw money from your account. It's web based. I started with a couple thousand dollars and experienced some minor losses and gains. But lately it's been kicking butt. My money is definitely doing better with Betterment than with a standard savings account at a bank averaging .5%. I'm averaging 12% so far with Betterment. Take some time to read reviews on other sites especially by financial professionals instead of people who have no clue what they are doing. :)
Attitude and Disrespect to A Disabled Person - I moved from Los Angeles to Miami and had to change banks due to my Social disability and my daughter. Betterment cared less and basically told me off multiple times. They banned me forever for having 2 banks. One was my daughter's (Discover) and the other was mine (Chase). I spoke to managers to find out why I was treated with such disrespect. I was talked down to as I was nobody. They honestly didn't care about my situation regarding my move and disability. I finally understood. Since I didn't make enough to invest they refused to deal with me. That is what was clear throughout the conversations. Don't go with this company. They are really rude. I had them on speaker and even my daughter, who is 5, noticed. An arrogance as if I was worthless because of my status.
I opened a Roth IRA with Betterment to try out the product. It was fairly seamless to sign up and deposit my 2017 year contribution. Then I ended up deciding to go with Schwab instead (more investment options and lower fees). The problem became getting the money OUT of Betterment. Betterment only offers PAPER transfers--that's right, you need to print out a sheet of paper, fill it out, and mail it to Betterment. They also don't accept amendments, so if anything is incorrect or not perfectly legible (as is often the case when dealing with multiple account numbers written out by hand) you need to redo the entire process.
For me, I had a typo on my form. The transfer had the wrong account number, even though it was an obvious mistake. They are now requiring me to fill out the entire form again. This is very uncommon with financial institutions, especially one that sells itself as the "tech forward" solution. It will now be over 2 months and multiple hours from starting this process until I am able to complete this transfer. They are entirely unapologetic and have said they aren't looking into making transfers more flexible.
I opened a retirement and a wealth builder account with Betterment on September 15 when DIJ was at 18,034 and SP at 2,125 and I closed both the accounts on November 16 when DIJ is at 18, 850 and SP at 2175. Both indices went up 2-4% during the time frame but my deposits lost more than 1.5%. Looking at what the Betterment claims as the robo-investing in a diversified portfolio. Can anyone explain as to how the value of a diversified portfolio is going down when the market has gone significantly up! How can one expect it to do it better in the long-term. On the contrary, Charles Schwab's Intelligent Portfolio seem to reflect the market. I would advise investors to keep a close watch on their portfolio.
Betterment seems to perform two functions, they are a phishing site to collect personal information which they refuse to delete and a front for Vanguard funds. It is amazing that the best investments emanate from Vanguard and Schwab. The investments they propose would indicate they get a commission from the seller and a fee from their client. My opinion - a bunch of lowlifes.
Agents were very thorough and efficiently walked me through the process. I was very pleased with the results and have lower payments now. There's a broad level of customization options available to create a portfolio that works and fits with just about every income. I was pleased with this product. There were no additional fees that I recall, unless they were hidden within the monthly installment. Overall, the cost was a bit high, but fair, considering what you get out of it. It took some time to get used to the interface, but once I was acclimated to it, I was working it like a professional. It's very nice to have a product you can use yourself, rather than paying an individual to do it for you.
They care and give great quality customer service. It was easy and very helpful. I had no problems and it gave me great pleasure and they put me at ease for my request. The customization options were great and easy to choose from. Had a great variety of options. I will use them again in the future and will continue. The fees were not that much and it was convenient and very easy to understand. There were no problems and there wasn't any hesitation into my decisions. I was at great ease using this because I felt confident in my decisions and knew I would not change my mind and will come back again.
The customer service was great. Any time I called having a question with anything, the workers were always very friendly and helpful with answering my questions. The customization options are great. I like that they offer many and that I was able to choose which one was the closest to matching me and what I could afford at the time. I don't really like the additional fees. I have been fined a few times for things and I just think the fees are expensive and I do not agree with them. I would say the ease of use is great. I have not had any major issues with visiting the website or speaking to someone by phone. Overall I am very pleased.
I didn't use customer service much but it is very much evident that they are extremely customer focused by being completely user friendly and easy to contact. The customization options are great. They seemed to have thought of everything when it comes to what a custom experience should be like. I was able to move things around to fit my personal needs. I am not a fan of additional fees but the additional fees that are offered are satisfactory and make sense. In a perfect world everything would be free but that isn't so logical. The ease of use is very good. Navigating the services it offers and other areas within are very much self explanatory, which I admire since I favor being able to figure things out on my own.
I lost 20% of my money. Their strategies are all wrong. It's not worth it even for the reduced fees. You may save a few hundreds in fees but lose a lot in principal. Don't invest. They have no FDIC insurance and regulation. It's a Ponzi scheme. You can lose all your money. It's better with a bank wealth management, they are regulated and insured.
I have been putting some money into this company. It seems like every month I see a loss. I understand the market stinks but is anyone managing this? I would make more money in a traditional savings account. Good thing I only have been putting in trial money.
Betterment expert review by Barbara Friedberg
Betterment is an automated investment service that helps consumers set and reach investment goals. The Betterment portfolios offer globally diversified investment portfolios with the greatest returns for the lowest risk levels. They offer retirement and traditional investment brokerage accounts.
Easy sign-up process: The sign-up takes an average of five minutes and begins with three simple questions; age, retired or not, and annual income.
Goal based investing: The investor selects/prioritizes one or all three goals; safety net, retirement and/or general investing. Every choice concludes with links to additional information.
Optimized portfolio: The company optimizes their exchange traded fund (ETF) investment portfolios based upon modern portfolio research and offers the greatest returns for the investors indicated risk tolerance level.
Low fees: Consumers can start with as little as a $100 monthly auto-deposit. The fee structure begins at 0.35 percent for the auto-deposit of $100 per month until the account value reaches $10,000. The AUM fee drops to 0.25 percent for accounts valued between $10,001 and $99,999. All accounts over $100,000 pay 0.15 percent management fee.
Special highlights: The RetirementGuide Calculator tool indicates how much the user must save to meet their retirement spending goals. The SmartDeposit feature automatically transfers excess bank account funds into the Betterment account.
Portfolio features: Wealthfront offers portfolio rebalancing, tax efficient exchange traded portfolios and tax-loss harvesting.
No outside accounts: All assets are held by the Betterment portfolio custodian and must be transferred to the firm.
Best for: New and experienced investors seeking low fee, diversified and automated investment management.
Betterment questions and answers
- What’s the most common misconception consumers have about your industry?
- Most people have the misconception that investing has to be complicated and confusing. It makes sense that people would feel that way because, historically, traditional financial services have not offered elegant and easy-to-use platforms for managing investments. Now, utilizing intuitive design and automated tools, Betterment has created a smarter investing experience that has been designed to help provide customers with the best-expected net investor returns for retirement planning, building wealth, and other savings goals.
- How has your industry changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
- Automated investment services, which offer sophisticated ways to simplify and automate your portfolio and investing strategy, are engineering an inevitable transformation of the entire financial landscape. Why? New technology helps disrupt and streamline stale, inefficient models, rewarding customers with better, smarter solutions.
The creation and popularity of index-tracking ETFs have been essential to our success as an automated investment service, as is cloud-computing, like Amazon Web Services. ETFs allow us to put together incredibly low-cost, liquid portfolios and improve tax efficiency—while cloud-computing allows our engineers to build, model, and test new trading platforms in cost- and time-efficient ways.
All of these benefits are then passed on to customers through lower costs, optimized investment vehicles, and a seamless user experience. This is the new era for investing that improves the way all Americans can grow their money—and increases the likelihood that they will not only reach their financial goals, but also be happier because they can spend more time doing the things they enjoy.
- What problem is Betterment trying to solve?
- At Betterment, we’re helping people answer the question: “What should I do with my money?” Our pursuit is to create the perfect automated investing service, helping people to better manage, protect, and grow their wealth through smarter technology. We are building on prior innovation and applying technology in new ways to change the way people manage their money so they ultimately have better outcomes. We start from a place of alignment with the customer and then ask, “How can we use technology to improve his or her experience?” Through smart technology, design and customer experience, we work with individuals to better address their investing needs.
- What sets Betterment apart from the competition
- Betterment is unique in that it handles every part of the investment process, allowing us to provide a better experience for customers.
- What needs Betterment fulfill, and how do you fulfill those needs better than your competition?
- Betterment offers a smarter investing experience.
Better Returns: The Betterment portfolio is designed to achieve optimal returns at every level of risk. Through diversification, automated rebalancing, better behavior, and lower fees, Betterment customers can expect 4.30% higher returns than a typical DIY investor.
Customized Portfolio Allocations: Each investment portfolio is designed to get customers optimal investor returns. Our goal-based investing framework and advice algorithm let customers know if they are on track to reach their investment goals, like retirement or a safety net fund.
Automation and Passive Investing: We recommend a globally diversified, passive portfolio of 12 asset classes, tailored for our customers’ risk and time horizon. Years of research and Nobel Prize-winning Modern Portfolio Theory are the foundation of our investment method.
Tax-Efficient Investing: We are built from the ground up to handle every dollar of our customers’ money tax‑efficiently.
Retirement Income: We use technology, investment expertise, and a fresh take on withdrawal methodology to provide sustainable cash flow while our customers enjoy retirement.
Trust Accounts: Betterment customers can create multiple goals—such as growing wealth, saving for education, or distributing income—tailored to each beneficiary.
- How does Betterment measure success?
- To measure the success of our company, we track a variety of metrics but especially look at assets under management, the number of customers using Betterment, and customer satisfaction.
- What is something you wish every consumer knew about Betterment?
- It’s easy to get started with Betterment, and our customer experience team is here to serve you 7 days a week.
- Has your business received any rewards or recognition for its products or services that your customers would like to know about?
- Betterment is a CNBC Disruptor 50 and Webby award winner and has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, NBC, and Lifehacker, among other news outlets.
- How has Betterment grown or evolved?
- Betterment is the largest, fastest-growing automated investing service, with more than 50,000 customers and more than $1 billion in assets under management. We’ve doubled our customer base in the last year alone (learn more at https://www.betterment.com/)
We have also implemented a variety of new features:
Tax Loss Harvesting+, TaxMin, and Tax Impact Preview
Improved Portfolio with Municipal Bonds
Better Mobile Apps (with touch ID and portfolio view)
Betterment Company Information
- Company Name:
- 61 W. 23rd Street, 5th Floor
- New York
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (888) 428‑9482