Betterment Vs. Vanguard Vs. Wealthsimple Comparison

Betterment Top Features

  • Socially-Responsible investing options
  • Smart Beta portfolios
  • Access to human financial planners at all levels
  • Retirement savings calculator
  • High yield savings and cash management accounts

Vanguard Top Features

  • Access to human financial planners, including video chats with advisors
  • Investments are selected from dozens of Vanguard funds including actively managed funds
  • Sliding fees that benefit high-value portfolios

Wealthsimple Top Features

  • Halal and Socially-Responsible Investing options
  • Human Financial Planners available at all account levels; dedicated team of financial advisors available for Wealthsimple Generation accounts
  • Savings options, including high-yield savings accounts and spare change roundups

betterment dashboard

Betterment vs. Wealthsimple vs. Vanguard—Who Benefits?

For basic investment management, financial advisors, tax-loss harvesting, and reasonable fees, Betterment and Vanguard win with lower investment management fees. Although small investors should start with Betterment, as the Vanguard robo advisor requires a higher minimum investment amount.

For smaller investors, Betterment and Wealthsimple are good robo-advisors .

Those with large investment portfolios benefit from Vanguard, as the sliding fee scale reduces fees significantly for accounts valued over $5 million. Vanguard Personal Advisors also incorporates financial planners into the entire investment process and so is great for those investors seeking extensive advisor access.

Investors who follow Sharia Law will benefit from Wealthsimple. This robo-advisor is one of only a few on the market that supports Halal investment principles.

If you don’t need Halal-compliant investments, but are still looking to help make a difference in the world, the socially-responsible investments available through Betterment and Wealthsimple can help you do this. Both Betterment and Wealthsimple robo-advisors allow clients to make investments in companies that change the world in some way, such as going green or utilizing ethical employment practices.

Wealthsimple vs. Betterment vs. Vanguard—Fees and Minimums

Wealthsimple Fees and Minimums

Wealthsimple has three plan options, designed to meet the needs of varied investors. Depending on your needs, available minimum investment, and the sort of financial support you’re looking for, you can choose from:

  • Wealthsimple Basic. There is no minimum investment amount required. Investors will pay 0.50% AUM.
  • Wealthsimple Black. The minimum investment is $100,000. Investors will pay 0.40% AUM.
  • Wealthsimple Generation. A minimum investment of $500,000 is required. Investors will pay the same 0.40% AUM as Wealthfront Generation clients, but will gain more features, such as comprehensive financial planning.

Betterment Fees and Minimums

Like Wealthsimple, Betterment offers various account levels. This makes Betterment a viable option for investors regardless of their investing experience and net worth. Investors can choose from two plan levels and la carte investment packages:

  • Betterment Digital. There is no minimum investment required for Betterment Digital. Investors will pay account management fees of 0.25% AUM on accounts valued up to $2 million; accounts over this mark will pay 0.15% AUM.
  • Betterment Premium. This plan requires a minimum investment of $100,000, and charges 0.40% AUM. Fees drop to 0.30% AUM when accounts are valued at $2 million.
  • Financial Advice Packages. Investors can pay for individual financial advising sessions to discuss major lifetime milestones, such as planning for college, retirement, or buying a home. Prices begin at $199.

Vanguard Robo-Advisor Fees and Minimums

Vanguard requires a minimum investment of $50,000. Their fees are assessed on a sliding scale:

  • .30% AUM on assets up to $5 million
  • .20% AUM on assets between $5-10 million
  • .10% AUM on assets between $10-25 million
  • .05% AUM on assets over $25 million

This sliding scale makes Vanguard one of the lowest management fee robo-advisors on the market for high-asset investors.

Although, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium recently launched a subscription-based model that charges $30 per month, regardless of assets under management, plus a one time $300 set up fee. This lowers the fee to .12% AUM for assets of $300,000.

Betterment Digital wins the lowest fee award. At this level investors can text with financial advisors and purchase a la carte financial planning packages for targeted financial planning.

Betterment vs. Vanguard vs. Wealthsimple—Deep Dive

Human Financial Planners

Wealthsimple gives their clients access to human financial planners at all account levels. Wealthsimple Generation clients can expect more VIP treatment in this area, with a detailed financial plan included.

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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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