The Betterment Review for 2021: Robo-Adviosr App

By: Andrew McShane

The original Robo-Advisor has evolved their offers and features to remain the best. See what makes this Investing platform great for beginners or hands-off investors.

You are about to learn...

  • What is a Robo-Advisor
  • A Comprehensive Review of Betterment
  • If Betterment is Right for You

Over the past decade, we have seen incredible advancements in financial technology (fintech). Today, there are investing apps for every type of investor. In our Fundrise Review, we show how people can invest in real estate with the click of a button. In our Wefunder Review, we show how people can invest in startups. However, a lot of people still lack the time needed to devote to managing their investment portfolio. For those people, Robo-Advisors create a pathway to wealth through investing without the hands-on maintenance. One of the original and best Robo-Advisors on the market today is Betterment. We took a look at what makes Betterment so popular below, in Wealthplicity’s Betterment Review.

What is a Robo-Advisor?

Before we jump into the Betterment Review, let’s take a look at exactly what a Robo-Advisor is, how it differs from hands-on investing, and some of the benefits of using a-Robo Advisor.

Robo-Advisors are digital investing platforms that provide automated, hands-off investing services. Robo-Advisors are driven by algorithms that typically trade on ETF’s or Exchange Traded Funds and offer rebalancing services to ensure a user’s portfolio is properly weighted between asset class or security.

Robo-Advisors differ greatly from using a financial advisor. With a Robo-Advisor, you have the added benefit of leveraging index fund investing without the fees that a financial advisor would typically charge. Financial Advisor fees can add up quickly and are charged as a percentage of total portfolio, as well as commissions based on profits. Robo-Advisor fees typically charge an annual flat fee of up to .5% of the investor’s portfolio.

People who want to invest but simply do not have the time to manage their portfolio or want to pay someone high fees to do so would find Robo-Advising an attractive option.

Conversely, investors who use a Robo-Advisor are limited in their investing options. They can not choose individual stocks or even which index funds they want to invest in. Robo-Advisors are truly a hands-off investing strategy.

For the most part, Robo-Advisors have been a one-size-fits-all investing approach. However, recently platforms like Betterment have done a better job at collecting personal goal information from a user in order to customize a user’s investing style.

This is just one feature that we examine below in Wealthplicity’s Betterment Review

What is Betterment?

Created in 2008, Betterment is the original Robo-Advisor. Since then, dozens of Robo-Advisors have been launched into the market, but Betterment has done an excellent job evolving and adapting to the changing landscape of digital investing.

Betterment started out as a Robo-Advisor strictly as an investment platform. But in the past 5 years or so, Betterment unveiled new offerings, including checking accounts, high-yield savings accounts, and retirement goals.

They also began personalizing their automation, collecting a user’s goals ahead of any investing in order to create a more bespoke offering for their clients.

The Betterment Review

Betterment Investing Review

Our Rating:



The original Robo-Advisor, Betterment has evolved their features and technology to remain the best on the market. Great for beginner investors and those who want a one stop shop for managing their finances. Betterment features include high-yield savings, mobile checking, auto-balancing investments, tax-loss harvesting, and a solid rate of return.

best for:

beginner investors, hands-off investors

Get Betterment Pros & Cons


  • Hands-off investing with solid rate of return
  • High-Yield Savings Account
  • Good app usability
  • Auto-balancing of portfolios
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Good customer support, especially at premium package
  • No minimum investment required
  • Decent fees


  • Lack of access to different investment strategies
  • Some important info can be difficult to find (rate of return)

At Wealthplicity, we have rated and ranked some of the top investment apps on the market. For full list, please visit out “Best of Investing Resources Page”

For our reviews, we look at the most important criteria for the customer. We look to keep this criterion consistent across all reviews but may adjust based upon the industry or offers.

  1. Investor Fees – How much does it cost to use the platform and how complicated is the fee structure?
  2. Deals/Features– Are there a good number of deals or offers available? Does the investor have a wide variety of options available to them?
  3. Investor Requirements – Does the investor need to be accredited? What is the minimum investment required?
  4. Usability – How user friendly is the platform?
  5. Transparency – How hard is it to find critical information such as risk and the annual rate of return?

Who is Betterment Best for?

Betterment is a great option for beginners and investors who prefer a hands-off approach to their investing and money management.

Betterment has evolved to become a “one-stop-shop” for money management, where users can do their checking, manage their savings, and create an investing roadmap tuned to their personal goals.

Betterment would also be good for investors who heavily favor index funds as their primary investing strategy. It would not be good for investors looking to apply a plethora of strategies, such as options or real estate investing to manage their investments.

The Betterment Review: Overall Ranking Criteria

Betterment Fees

Betterment’s fee structure is fairly straight forward and relatively inexpensive.

Their Digital Plan costs just .25% per year (of your portfolio) and offers unlimited access to automated portfolio management, tax-efficient investing features, personalized dashboards and more.

If you upgrade to Betterment’s Premium Plan, the fee increases to .4% of your portfolio but allows you unlimited calls with their team of Certified Financial Planners.

There is also a disclaimer that if you manage your 401(k) through Betterment, you may be subjected to additional fees.

Betterment Features

Betterment offers more than your standard Robo-Advising platform, which is very attractive for users looking to manage their money in one place.

Features of Betterment Checking:

  • There are no ATM fees or overdraft fees
  • The checking account is FDIC-Insured up to $250k
  • Mobile friendly and can be used with platforms like Apple Pay or Google Pay
  • Offers Cash back rewards
  • Offers joint checking accounts

Features of The Betterment Cash Reserve (Savings Account):

  • Earn .40% APY compared to the .05% national average
  • No fees on transfers
  • Great features that allow you to bucket your savings based on your purchase or savings goals
betterment savings

Features of Betterment Investing:

  • Automated Portfolio Balancing
  • Tax Harvesting which allows you to limit tax liability on capital appreciation by selling an investment that has lost value
  • Customized portfolios based on your short-term and long-term financial goals
betterment investing

Features of Betterment Retirement:

  • Personalized IRA
  • 401(k) plans
  • Automated savings deposits
  • Personalized Retirement Income planning

Betterment Investor Requirements:

There are hardly any investor requirements. There is no accreditation needed and no minimum amount required to invest. You can be brand new to investing or ready for retirement and Betterment has an offer available to you.


I found Betterment’s Usability to be pretty seamless. For as much customization as they do to create personalized offerings, Betterment’s step-by-step process allows you to set up your account in a snap.

I paid close personal attention to the mobile app, and it is quite apparent that they put a lot of effort in ensuring a great mobile experience. This obviously makes a lot of sense, since money management, including, checking, savings, and investing has increasingly become mobile-first.

There is significant security involved which gives the user a feeling of safety when sharing such deep personal information, but it does not feel cumbersome when going through the steps.

Setting up and tracking your investments on the app is a clean process and there are not a lot of clicks required to get to the information you are seeking.

betterment cash reserve

Betterment Transparency:

Betterment has an extensive, well organized FAQ section that dives deep into a variety of subjects and provides great information and answers.

If I had one beef with Betterment, it was trying to find the performance results of their investing options. I had to do some serious digging to find the rate of returns of their portfolios. In addition, I had to actually log-in before I could see the results. Not sure why this would be so hidden on their site. Their results are impressive.

betterment investment returns

In Summary:

Betterment is an excellent Robo-Advisor. With portfolios that have beaten the market in the last couple of years, it is a great option for people who want to create wealth through investing but lack the time and expertise to manage their own portfolio.

Their added features such as a high yield savings account and mobile-first checking has created a one stop shop for those looking to manage all facets of their finances.

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