Betterment Vs. Vanguard Vs. Wealthsimple Comparison

Betterment vs Vanguard vs Wealthsimple

Robo-advisors, with their increasingly sophisticated algorithms and hands-off investment options, are growing in popularity. One of the biggest selling points of the robo-advisor is its ability to take something as complex as investing and simplify it so that even beginning investors feel well-supported and confident.

Many robo-advisors are flexible enough that investors can have a DIY, hands-on experience with their portfolios or can sit back and let the robo algorithms generate a portfolio. The three robo-advisors we’re looking at today – Betterment vs. Vanguard vs. Wealthsimple – are all great for people who want some human support for financial questions; they also offer more customizability for those who want it.

What is Betterment?

Launched in 2010, Betterment is one of the earliest robo-advisors. Betterment manages around $16 billion assets; this places it squarely in 3rd place for robo-advisors with the most assets under management—Vanguard, which we will cover soon, ranks 1st.

We appreciate the opportunity for all Betterment users, regardless of service-level, to text with financial advisors.

Betterment clients have access to all the robo-advisor staple services—tax-loss harvesting, account rebalancing, and diversified portfolios—as well as some more premium services, like access to human financial planners. Betterment EveryDay gives users access to high yield savings and cash management too.

Check out the Betterment site now. 

What is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services?

The Vanguard robo-advisor is a member of the Vanguard Financial powerhouse and home of the first index fund. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, hereafter Vanguard, manages over $112 billion assets, making it the largest robo-advisor around.

Vanguard makes heavy use of human financial advisors. Investors will start out working with a financial planner, and will have access to either a team of financial planners or a dedicated advisor over the lifetime of their relationship with Vanguard.

Although, Vanguards minimum investment amount of $50,000 is high for new investors.

What is Wealthsimple?

Wealthsimple, a Canadian-based robo-advisor, has been around since 2017. This robo-advisor is constantly improving its services and offerings; they also have over $4 billion in assets under management!

Some of Wealthsimple’s largest selling points include the company’s commitment to ensuring everyone has a chance to invest—from socially-responsible to Halal investment options—and the human financial planners which are available at all account levels.

Wealthsimple vs. Betterment vs. Vanguard—Top Features

  Wealthsimple Betterment Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Overview Automated investment management robo-advisor platform, covering everything from portfolio allocation to automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvesting, SRI and Halal investing. Goals-based digital investment manager with access to financial advisors and cash management. A personally craftd robo-advisor investment portfolio guided by a human financial advisor.
Minimum Investment Amount Wealthsimple Basic: $0
Wealthsimple Black: $100,000
Wealthsimple Generation: $500,000
No minimum for Betterment Digital. $100,000 minimum for Betterment Premium. $50,000 minimum
Fee Structure Basic: 0.50% AUM
Black: 0.40% AUM
Generation: 0.40% AUM
Digital-0.25% AUM up to $2 million; 0.15% fee over $2 million
Premium-0.40% AUM up to $2 million; 0.30% fee over $2 million.
Sliding Fees:
0.30% AUM on assets up to $5 million
0.20% AUM on assets between $5-10 million
0.10% AUM on assets between $10-25 million
0.05% AUM on assets over $25 million
Top Features Human finacial advisor advice. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), and Halal investing consistent with Islamic principles. Typical rebalancing and tax efficient investing. VIP airport lounge access for Wealthsimple Black & Generation clients. 
High yield Wealthsimple Save and roundup.
Digital and hybrid investment management (with financial advisor access) options. All investors can text with financial advisors. Socially-Responsible Investing, income and smart beta portfolios available. Tax loss harvesting available. The human financial advisor drives the entire process. Together, you & the advisor create a customized investment plan. You can be as involved as little or as much as you'd like with your investments. The advisor monitors the plan. Rebalances your portfolio when needed.
Free Services First $15,000 is managed for free, with signups through Robo-advisor  Free portfolio review. N/A
Contact & Investing Advice Phone or text, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Email 24/7.

Phone consultations with Financial Advisors for all clients during normal business hours. Additional personalized services for Wealtlhsimple Black and Generation clients.
Phone support M-F. Email support 7 days per week.
Financial advisor access through text for all clients. Premium clients can speak with Certified Financial Planners. Specialty financial planning packages also available with CFPs.
Available by phone Monday - Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm EST

Human financial advisor guides the process. Helps build portfolio with low fee funds & serves as investing coach.
Accounts below $500,000 get team of advisors & those above $500,000 get a dedicated personal financial advisor.
Investment Funds Diversified index funds from 10 different asset classes on regular portfolios, with six in the SRI portfolio; the Halal portfolio includes the stocks of 50 different companies. Low fee exchange traded funds from diverse asset classes. Low fee stock & bond mutual funds and ETFs selected from among the scores of Vanguard funds.
Accounts Available Individual and joint taxable accounts; trusts; traditional, Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs. Single and joint taxable brokerage. Roth, traditional, rollover and SEP IRA. Trust. Individual & joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP, Simple & rollover IRAs. Trusts. 
Promotions First $15,000 is managed for free, with signups through Robo-advisor  N/A N/A
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Disclosure: I have an account with Betterment.

Disclaimer: I am a former portfolio manager, former university finance instructor, and successful investor committed to sharing my personal finance ...

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