With the markets going up like there is no tomorrow one starts to wonder if it can keep going up. While we don’t all have time to actively trade all day passive investing through robo-advisors has become very popular. While comparing all the main players out there today a few really stood out. For individual companies Wealthfront, Betterment, and Wisebanyan have take the top honors. From the traditional brokerage account there is Charles Schwab, Fideltity Go, Vanguard but I will just focus on Charles Schwab.
The plan was to open an account with those companies and see how they fair and choose one to move forward with. All accounts will be set up with joint owners with agressive investing profiles.
First up is one of the largest private robo-advisors called Wealthfront. Sign up took about 5-10 minutes. You are asked what accounts you have, your risk profile, and how you would like to fund the account. It was rather painless and the looks pretty straightforward. It will take a day to fund the account so we will need to stop back later.
Sign up was guided in sections. You could stop at any time and pick up later. There was an option to look at all accounts and get the full picture. There were less so setup was closer to 5 minutes. There were some options that seemed to be missed during setup like spouse information which I added later under settings. It does ask if i want to sign up for a joint account in a banner prompt but it says I have one already under settings which is a little confusing. Once following the setting a joint account settings a new account is created which is a little confusing again and unneeded. There is an option called retire-guide which looks at your existing 401k and gives suggestions.
When it it comes to questions Schwab takes the cake. While it took more time I am ok with this approach if it understands my goals and gets a better financial picture. There seemed to be more options and information given depending on your choices. For joint accounts, they do require each person to create their own account. By the end of setting it up it was a little confusing on if the information was accurate. Trying to rectify this and logging out to test led me to call into tech support quite late. The nice thing was there was someone to answer the call at this wee hour of the night. They were helpful although a little brief and to the point but spoke clear english. The hold time was maybe 4 minutes. They were able to help reset the password but were unsure of the login for the Intelligent (robo-advisor) accounts without doing some digging. In the end, i was up and running in about 10 minutes. When trying to add a bank account and verifying it failed many many times but eventually went through. This was not the case for Betterment or Wealthfront, which worked on the first turn.