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1. Start your investment plan

To begin, click on the “SIGN UP” button at the top right corner of the home page. (Depending on the link you use to reach the Betterment website, the page may be different.) A pair of sentences, requiring completion, looks like this:

Sign up with Betterment
Sign up with Betterment

The screen may also add an additional question: “I am _______________(new/not new) to investing.”

Fill in the blanks, then click “Continue.”

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2. Select your first goal to begin

Betterment: Select your first goal
Betterment: Select your first goal

On this screen, Betterment will provide a suggested annual retirement income, as well as the stock allocation (the stock/bond split) that will get you to your goal. It will also give you the following options:

  • Regular taxable account, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or SEP IRA
  • The option to select this goal
  • “Read more,” which will give you a deeper analysis of the projection of your goal
  • The choice to view more options

3. Review your retirement goal

Betterment: Review your retirement goal
Betterment: Review your retirement goal

This screen will restate your goals and provide you with a list of Betterment features, including:

  • Diverse portfolio of ETFs
  • Low fees
  • Smart rebalancing
  • Personalized advice
  • Extreme tax efficiency
  • Tax Loss Harvesting

Clicking on any of the features listed will provide you with a detailed explanation of the feature and how it can benefit you.

Clicking on the “Details” button on this screen — located under the portfolio allocation — will give you the following:

Betterment: Portfolio asset location
Betterment: Portfolio asset location

Here you will be provided with a detailed analysis of the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that will make up your allocation, as well as the percentage of your portfolio that will be held in each.

To move the process forward, you will need to click “Continue to sign up.”

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4. Basic Information

Betterment: Enter your name, email address, and password
Betterment: Enter your name, email address, and password

On this screen you will be asked to provide your first name, middle initial, last name and email address and then to select a password of eight characters or more.

You then click “Continue” to move on to the next screen.

5. Contact information

Betterment: Enter your contact information
Betterment: Enter your contact information

Here you will supply your complete address, your phone number and how you heard about Betterment.

Complete the information requested, then click “Continue.”

6. Identity Verification

Betterment: Enter your identity verification information
Betterment: Enter your identity verification information

On this screen you will enter your Social Security number, your date of birth and your gender.

Then click “Continue.”

7. Financial background

Betterment: Financial background information
Betterment: Financial background information

This screen will request your employment status, your household income and estimated investable assets.

Once completed, click on “Continue.”

8. Regulatory questions

Betterment: Regulatory questions
Betterment: Regulatory questions

This includes a list of the following questions:

  • Are you employed by or associated with a broker dealer? (Yes, No)
  • Are you a 10% shareholder, director or policy maker of a publicly traded company? (Yes, No)
  • Have you been notified by the IRS that you are currently subject to backup withholding? (Yes, No)

Once you've answered the questions, click on “Continue.”

9. Account security

Betterment: Account security questions
Betterment: Account security questions

Here you'll set up your account security by answering two questions. Once finished, you check the box indicating that you have read the terms, then click “Create My Account.”

10. You're in!

Once your account has been established, you'll be prompted to add a bank account to fund your account. You can choose a major bank from the drop-down list or add one that isn't listed. You will then be required to provide your bank username and your bank PIN.

Once connected to your bank, you can enter the amount of your initial deposit. When you click “Deposit,” you will then be prompted to confirm your deposit.

From there you will be brought to your “Personal Account Overview” screen, which will reflect the amount of your initial deposit, as well as the account allocation.

From this screen you will also be able to create your “Auto Deposit Setting,” which will enable you to establish regular, periodic deposits from your checking account to your Betterment account, in the amount that you specify. You can then click “Set Auto Deposit,” and you're on your way!

When written out as we’ve done here, the signup process seems more complicated than it really is. But it will take only about 10 minutes, start to finish, and you’ll be all set to enjoy the benefits of professional investment management for a fraction of what it will cost for the same services through a traditional investment manager.


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Kevin Mercadante Freelance Contributor

Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com.


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.