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Robo-advisors

9 best robo-advisors to manage your portfolio

Mongta Studio / Shutterstock

Fact Checked: Leslie Kennedy

🗓️

Updated: December 15, 2023

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Robo-advisors are a low-cost way to invest in a diversified portfolio that’s automatically managed for you. Sophisticated algorithms ensure your portfolio is designed to meet your needs and investments remain on track as the market fluctuates. Since the process is largely automated, robo-advisor fees tend to be much lower than the typical, human financial planner.

Of course, not all robo-advisors are created equal. You want to find an automated investing app that’s affordable, has a low minimum to get started and offers the types of funds and automated strategies that align with your goals. To make the decision easier, we’ve compared some of the top robo-advisors and robo investor options, based on their fees, features, user experience, account types, ease of use, available assets, tools and more.

Best robo-advisors by category

  • Acorns - Best robo-advisor for new investors
  • Betterment - Best robo-advisor for highly customized portfolios
  • Ally - Best robo-advisor for free account management
  • Ellevest - Best investing robot for women investors
  • E*TRADE - Best robo-advisor for live customer support
  • Fidelity - Best robo-investor for financial coaching
  • SoFi - Best robo-advisor for free account management and perks
  • Vanguard - Best for goal planning with access to actively managed funds
  • Wealthfront - Best robo trading app for robust offerings
Best for
Robo-advisor
Amount minimum
Fees
Assets
New investors
$0
$3/month personal, $5 personal plus,  $9 for premium family
ETFs (up to 5% in a Bitcoin-linked ETF)
Free account management
$100
$0 for cash-enhanced portfolio, 0.30% annually market-focused portfolio 
ETFs
Highly customized portfolios
$0 to open account. $10 to start investing
$4/month or 0.25% annually
ETFs, cryptocurrency 
Women investors 
$0, some portfolios have minimums
$1/month, $5/month for Plus, $9/month for Executive
ETFs, mutual funds
Live customer support
$500
0.30% annually
ETFs
Financial coaching
$0 to open account, $10 to invest
0.35%/year for balances  +$25,000
Mutual funds, stock
Free account management and perks
$1
None
ETFs
Goal planning with access to actively managed funds
$3,000
Up to 0.20% for all-index investment options or 0.25% for active/index mix
ETFs, mutual funds, collective investment trusts
Robust offerings
$500
0.25% annually
ETFs
4.5

Best robo-advisor for new investors: Acorns

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $3/month personal, $5 personal plus, or $9 for premium family
Assets: ETFs (including up to 5% in a Bitcoin-linked ETF)
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, education

Why we like Acorns

Newbie investors who don’t have a lot of cash to get started will appreciate Acorn’s approach to investing.

Acorns rounds up purchases you make with any linked credit or debit card to the nearest dollar and then invests the difference into a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Users also have the option to set recurring automated investments, which is great for getting into the habit of investing small amounts of money regularly. You can also earn $20 by setting up recurring investments.

Acorns offers various automated investing portfolios to match your risk tolerance and financial goals, ranging from conservative, to aggressive. Your base portfolio is automatically rebalanced as needed and any dividends earned are reinvested.

Additionally, the "investing robot" app has some great financial education and savings tools to help you make informed decisions and improve their overall financial wellbeing.

Plus, the easy, instinctual app design makes it a breeze to use and understand your investments. Acorns is also one of our top picks for best investing apps overall.

More: Read our Acorns review

Acorns

Pros

Pros

  • Automatically invests spare change

  • No account minimums

  • Simple, intuitive interface

Cons

Cons

  • Fees can be high for smaller portfolios

4.5

Best robo-advisor for highly customized portfolios: Betterment

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0 to open account. $10 to start investing
Fees: $4 monthly or 0.25% annually
Assets: ETFs, cryptocurrency
Accounts: Taxable, retirement

Why we like Betterment

Betterment gives you some great flexibility with expert-built and custom curated portfolios using either low-cost ETFs or cryptocurrencies. 

Beginners can choose from 10 portfolio options, including ones that focus on innovative technology, social impact and decentralized finance. And if you’re a more experienced investor, you can select a flexible portfolio that allows you to adjust individual asset class weights based on your preferences.

Account setup is simple and once your deposits are received, they’re automatically invested in the market. Betterment’s algorithms continually monitor and manage your portfolio, rebalancing as needed.

You can set up your own deposit schedule, and automate your contributions for seamless investing, which starts with a little as $10.

When it comes to tax time, the automated tools can help maximize your returns. This includes a preview to see how much you may have to pay before withdrawing.

Additionally, if you have a portfolio balance of at least $100,000, you can upgrade to a premium robo-advisor account and gain access to unlimited financial guidance from a CFP. This feature costs an additional 0.15% annually. 

Paid non-client of Betterment. Views may not be representative, see more reviews at the App Store and Google Play Store. Learn more about this relationship.

More: Read our Betterment review

Betterment

Pros

Pros

  • Low advisory fees

  • No minimum balance

  • Many portfolio options to fit various investment priorities and goals

  • Tax-loss harvesting

Cons

Cons

  • Higher fees and minimums for Premium plan

4

Best automated investing app for free account management: Ally

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $100
Fees: $0 for cash-enhanced portfolio, 0.30% annually for market-focused portfolio
Assets: ETFs
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, custodial

Why we like Ally

Ally Invest is a robo-advisor service offered by Ally Financial. It offers four types of portfolios  that focus on your needs and goals:

  • Core: A highly diversified portfolio designed for hands-off investors. You can select your risk level and let it invest your funds.
  • Income: A conservative risk profile that offers higher dividend yields.
  • Tax-optimized: For investors who make after-tax contributions to an investment account.
  • Socially responsible: Gives greater focus to investments in companies with strong environmental, social, or governance qualities

We like that portfolios are designed by a team of humans, and then managed and monitored daily using Ally’s smart technology. 

Investors can choose between two pricing tiers. The cash-enhanced option is free as long as you maintain 30% of your funds in cash, which may not work for all investors, as a good chunk of your money isn’t in the market. It does, however, earn interest. 

The market-focused portfolio charges a 0.30% annual advisory fee, but holds less than 2% of funds in cash. 

Like other robo-advisors, portfolios are rebalanced as needed at no extra cost. Plus, you can update your portfolio goals any time as your needs change. 

In addition to its robo-advisory service, Ally Invest offers self-directed investment options, such as individual stocks and bonds, if you want to go beyond ETFs. They also have a range of tools and resources to help you make informed investment decisions.

More: Read our Ally Invest review

Ally

Pros

Pros

  • Low minimum

  • Free account management with 30% cash buffer

  • Socially responsible investment options

Cons

Cons

  • Free option requires large cash buffer

  • Cash is not FDIC-protected

4

Best robo-advisor for women investors: Ellevest

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0, but some portfolios do have minimums to invest
Management fee: $1/month for Essential, $5/month for Plus, $9/month for Executive
Assets: ETFs, mutual funds
Accounts: Taxable, retirement

Why we like Ellevest

Ellevest stands out as the first gender-aware investing platform. While open to all investors, it focuses on the challenges that women investors face, such as lower lifetime earnings and longer lifespans, on average.

After answering some questions about your lifestyle and financials objectives, Ellevest puts together a personalised investment plan. Their goal-oriented approach ensures your plan includes a risk-optimised mix of stock, bond, and alternative investment funds.

There’s two types of portfolios:

  • Core portfolio: This robo trading option is designed to help you reach your financial goals through diversification, personalization, tax minimization strategies and more.
  • Impact portfolio: This option focuses on socially responsible investing, with more than half of your portfolio invested in ETFs and mutual funds that help advance women on boards and senior leadership teams. 

Additionally, Ellevest offers two tiers of membership. The Plus option provides a diversified portfolio with automatic rebalancing, tax optimization and retirement planning. The Executive level provides up to five goal-specific accounts and portfolios, plus discounts for one-on-one  financial advice.

The financial advice and coaching are a valuable bonus, with one-on-one sessions available to help with retirement planning, budgeting, home buying strategy and more life goals.

More: Read our Ellevest review

Ellevest

Pros

Pros

  • No account minimum, though some portfolios have minimums to invest

  • Automated investing options that are gender-focused

Cons

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting

  • Higher tier pricing may not match value of benefits used

4

Best robo-advisor for live customer support: E*TRADE

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $500
Fees: 0.30% annually
Assets: ETFs
Accounts available: Taxable, retirement

Why we like E*TRADE

E*TRADE designed its Core Portfolios on the premise that automated investing should be as easy as possible. To get started, you answer a few questions about your financial goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Then E*TRADE recommends a diversified portfolio that matches your risk tolerance and financial objectives. 

From there you have the option to further customize your portfolio with strategies such as socially responsible investing and smart beta ETFs. 

Users with taxable accounts also get access to a portfolio of tax-sensitive ETFs. That being said, they don’t offer tax-loss harvesting.

And unlike many robo-advisors, E*TRADE customers can contact a dedicated team of specialists to answer any questions at no additional cost. Investment advisor reps are just a call away seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST, while additional customer service reps are online 24/7. 

Beginner investors should also take advantage of the up to date and extensive educational materials available in this robo trading app.

More: Read our E*TRADE review

E*TRADE

Pros

Pros

  • Strong customer service

  • Low cost

Cons

Cons

  • Higher account minimum

  • No tax-loss harvesting

4

Best robo investor for financial coaching: Fidelity

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0 to open account, $10 to invest
Fee: 0.35% a year for balances over $25,000
Assets available: Mutual funds, stock
Accounts available: Taxable, retirement

Why we like Fidelity

Fidelity Go is the robo-advisor arm of Fidelity Investments, which makes it easy to add on if you already have an account with them. 

Like other robo-advisors on the list, you’ll share a few details about yourself and Fidelity will suggest an automated investing strategy. Your investments will be automatically managed according to your goals. 

What makes it stand out is the low cost for beginner investors. There’s no fees whatsoever if your portfolio balance is under $25,000.  Once you cross that threshold, there’s 0.35% annual fee.

Once you hit that threshold, you unlock Fidelity’s coaching services. These include access to the Personalized Planning & Advice coaching team and unlimited 30-minute phone calls. These calls aren’t limited to your investments, they’ll chat with you about retirement planning, managing debt and even help with budgeting.

Even if you don’t have a cool $25,000 to invest right now, all customers have access to Fidelity’s online planning and educational tools, which are robust. The information is kept up to date, and comes in various investing levels and formats, like videos, podcasts and classes.

Fidelity Go accounts hold a combination of Fidelity Flex mutual funds, which are made up of domestic and foreign stocks, bonds and short term investments. Investors have access to 14 different portfolios, with no fees, that are recommended based on your goals, risk tolerance and investment timeline. 

Fidelity Go automatically rebalances your portfolio when it falls outside your risk level, and offers monthly and yearly progress updates on your goals.

More: Read our Fidelity review

Fidelity

Pros

Pros

  • No fee for balances under $25,000

  • Low minimum

  • Robust financial coaching available to higher balance customers

Cons

Cons

  • Higher portfolio balance requires fee

  • Investments limited to Fidelity Flex mutual funds

4.5

Best for free account management and perks: SoFi

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $1
Fees: None
Assets: ETFs
Accounts: Taxable, retirement

Why we like SoFi

If you’re looking for a truly low-cost investing experience, SoFi is definitely worth it. There are no account management fees for Automated Investing accounts, which holds a mix ETFs matched to your automated investing strategy. There’s are 10 portfolio options built around your investing goals and risk tolerance, however there isn’t a socially responsible investing option, in case that is important.

A huge perk is direct access to a credentialed Investment Specialists via phone or chat. Plus there’s the ability to schedule a meeting with a certified financial planner if you have more complex questions or need help developing a personalized financial plan. These meetings are unlimited so you can call and adjust your plan as life changes.

Investing with SoFi also lets you access member benefits, including rate discounts on loans, career services and exclusive events at no additional cost.

Whether your goal is saving for a home down payment, retirement or just a rainy day, SoFi has the tools and access to professionals to help you make a plan to tackle it. 

Portfolios are automatically rebalanced every quarter to ensure you stay on track. However, there’s no tax loss harvesting offered, which is offered by many other robo-advisors.

More: Read our SoFi review

SoFi

Pros

Pros

  • Low account minimum

  • No management fees

  • Free access to financial planners

Cons

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting

  • No socially responsible investment options

4.5

Best robo investor for goal planning with access to actively managed funds: Vanguard

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $3,000
Fees: Up to 0.20% for all-index investment options or 0.25% for active/index mix
Assets: ETFs, mutual funds, collective investment trusts
Accounts available: Taxable, retirement

Why we like Vanguard

Vanguard’s Digital Advisor takes a holistic approach to funding your goals, knowing that you likely have a lot of things you are saving for at once.

Once you enroll in one of Vanguard Digital Advisor’s taxable brokerage accounts, you get the option to add non-retirement goals to your profile. Your assets then are pooled across all your accounts in order to meet your long-term goals. These resources can be shifted where needed and adjusted automatically; if your investments have drifted more than 5% off target, Vanguard will automatically rebalance your portfolio.

Portfolios can be made up of mutual funds, ETFs and more — the exact mix is determined during the onboarding process, when you take an assessment. Based on risk tolerance, actively managed funds may be added to your portfolio as well.

Tax-loss harvesting is also available, but Vanguard advises that the platform will decide if the service makes sense for your financial situation

New investors will appreciate the low-fees as well as access to budgeting and debt repayment tools to help with goal planning. The platform is easy to understand different savings and spending scenarios, as well as visualize your journey towards your financial goals.

More: Read our Vanguard Digital Advisor review

Vanguard

Pros

Pros

  • No advisory fee for the first 90 days

  • Low management fees

  • Tax-loss harvesting being phased in

Cons

Cons

  • High account minimum

  • Limited portfolio customization

4.5

Best automated investing app for robust offerings: Wealthfront

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $500
Fees: 0.25% annually
Assets: ETFs
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, education

Why we like Wealthfront

Wealthfront stands out from the pack with its low management fee, personalized portfolios and tax-optimization.

After a quick quiz, Wealthfront builds you a personalized portfolio of diversified, low-cost index funds. You can curate specific interests such as social responsibility, then customized further according to your needs and goals.

Hundreds of funds are available in investing categories such as clean energy, healthcare, tech and crypto. Plus, Wealthfront offers tools that let you experiment with different fund choices to ensure they match your risk level.

Wealthfront also offers tax-loss harvesting, which it claims boosts clients’ after-tax returns by an average of 1.8%. This is especially useful for those with large portfolios in taxed accounts.

There is also a dedicated team of product specialists available by phone or email, all of whom are registered with FINRA and have financial designations ranging from CFP to CPA.

Additionally, Wealthfront offers a tool called Path, a fully mobile retirement planning experience that takes just five minutes to set up.

More: Read our Wealthfront review

Wealthfront

Pros

Pros

  • Low management fee

  • Tax-loss harvesting

Cons

Cons

  • No fractional shares, which could result in more cash sitting in your account

Robo-advisor FAQs

  • How do robo-advisors work?

    +

    A robo-advisor is an online platform that uses algorithms to automate the investment process. They can build you a customized portfolio based on your financial goals and risk tolerance, then automatically rebalance your portfolio as needed to ensure it stays on track. Not only are robo-advisors more cost-effective than their human counterparts, but aim to be more tax-efficient and minimize the overall risk of investing.

  • How do I choose a robo-advisor?

    +

    There are many factors to consider when choosing a robo-advisor. Some important considerations include the underlying investment approach of each robo-advisor and which one aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance; fees, which can vary greatly; and portfolio options, as some robo-advisors offer a limited number of choices while others offer a wide range of automated investing options. Customer support, user experience, reputation and security are also important to evaluate.

  • What are pros and cons of using a robo-advisor?

    +

    There are some major advantages to choosing a robo-advisor over a human financial advisor. For one, the fees are much lower. That’s because portfolio management is largely automated, which can be a benefit to investors who prefer a more hands-off approach. Robo-advisors are also generally accessible to a wider range of investors, including those with smaller investment portfolios.

    On the other hand, if you would like more control over your investment strategy, you might find that robo-advisors are lacking. They have more limited customization options, which may not be suitable for investors with specific investment goals or needs. Plus, some investors prefer the personal interaction and advice provided by a traditional financial advisor.

  • Are robo-advisors good for beginners?

    +

    Overall, robo-advisors can be a good option for beginner investors who are looking for a simple, convenient, and cost-effective way to invest. These platforms tend to be accessible to a wider range of investors, including those with smaller investment portfolios, limited investment knowledge and smaller budgets for advisory fees. They’re also designed to be user-friendly, with a simple sign-up process and an intuitive interface. Not to mention, Robo-advisors use sophisticated algorithms to create well-diversified portfolios, which can help beginner investors avoid common investing mistakes and achieve their financial goals.

  • How much do robo-advisors cost?

    +

    The cost of using a robo-advisor can vary depending on the platform and the type of account you have. Typically, however, robo-advisors charge a percentage of assets under management (AUM), which often ranges from 0.25% to 0.50% each year. Some of the best robo-advisors charge higher fees for more advanced or customized services, as well as certain advisory fees. Finally, you may also be charged fees by the underlying funds in your portfolio, known as expense ratios. These typically range from 0.2% to 0.75% of AUM, depending on the fund.

  • Does a robo-advisor replace a financial advisor?

    +

    A robo-advisor can serve as an alternative to a traditional financial advisor for some people, but it may not be a suitable replacement for everyone. It's important to carefully consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and personal preferences before making a decision one way or the other.

Methodology

Product rankings for the best robo-advisors are determined by the Moneywise editorial team and are based on factors and features that everyday users care about most. We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. The apps featured in this article were independently selected, but please be aware that some products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

Moneywise rates products and services on a sale of 1 to 5 stars, where 5 stars is the best rating possible. Ratings are rounded up to the nearest 0.5 of a star. 

Our rating system is based on the factors that mean the most to the everyday user. These factors include:

  • Account minimums
  • Account fees
  • Trading costs
  • Account types
  • Portfolio and asset types
  • Tools and educational materials
  • Customer support
  • App user experience

We collect data from providers' websites, by using the services and watching demonstrations as required. The data is analyzed and the result is a star rating. Each factor is weighted depending on the category in which the product is being evaluated, in order to ensure it meets the needs of different users like beginners or advanced users.

Our goal is to provide an independent review, and give you the information you need to make a decision on which service is best for you.

Casey Bond Freelance Contributor

Casey is an award-winning personal finance writer who has held roles as Money reporter at HuffPost, executive editor at Student Loan Hero, and editor-in-chief at GOBankingRates. Casey’s work has also appeared on Yahoo! Finance, Money.com, Fortune, MSN, Business Insider, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes Advisor, and more.

Disclaimer

The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.