Ally Invest Versus Betterment

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Ally Invest offers its customers high-quality managed portfolios along with reasonable management fees. Considering this product is a reincarnation of Tradeking’s Advisor product, it is no surprise that Ally Invest is becoming one of the more popular robo advisor products out there.

The user interface at Ally Invest is competitive with the more well-known brokerage websites, and it posts consistent top marks in customer satisfaction rankings. But although high rankings are certainly important, the best feature offered by Ally Invest is its pricing: Ally Invest’s fees are the among the lowest.

If you’re seeking an investment platform that is simple to use and allows you to execute your own straightforward investment strategies, it will be well worth your time to explore Ally Invest.

If you are a first-time or relatively new investor and could benefit from a bit more guidance from professionals, you may not be as pleased with Ally Invest as with a firm that offers more management services.

How Does Ally Invest Work?

Opening an account with Ally Invest is simple and takes only about 10 minutes. You must have a U.S. address to sign up. You can fund your account in different ways, including wire transfers, electronic transfers direct from your bank or even old-fashioned checks. Once your funds have cleared, you can begin using the service right away.

Ally Invest is a free platform available to anyone who opens an account. Users gain access to such features as real-time streaming and quotes and fully customizable dashboards.

Ally Invest may not include a lot of the bells and whistles that other sites offer, but it does give you the ability to begin trading straight out of the gate. If you’re a beginner, you can utilize managed options or dive in to learn the trading game using the tools and resources offered. There’s also a forum where you can interact with other traders.

What Makes Ally Invest Stand Out?

Ally Invest stands out because it is relatively new to the robo advisor field, although it is basically a reincarnation of the Tradeking platform, so it does have some history behind its offerings. Ally Invest also offers a relatively low annual management fee on managed portfolios, which is especially good for those with high investment amounts in their managed portfolios.

Ally Invest also offers a robust trading community that can be a tremendous source of information and support for a neophyte investor. Ally Invest offers not only the standard research tools, but also a large FAQ section and pages of “beginner guides” to help new investors become familiar with the ins and outs of investing in different venues.

Common Reviews of Ally Invest

Most reviews of Ally Invest tend toward the positive. One of the most commonly mentioned positive aspects of Ally Invest is its customer service, which is available by phone 24/7. The company’s online chat feature is also popular with its users. If you’re a client traveling outside the U.S., there is even an international number available. There are no brick-and-mortar locations for Ally Invest, however.

Ally Invest does provide quite an extensive list of additional “service fees” on its website, including IRA Closure fees and IRA transfer fees. These are available for customers to review but may not always be clear on the front end of a transaction. It pays to read the fine print on the website before committing to any transactions.

Some reviews criticize the website for not being “flashy” or colorful, and the research database for not being searchable, but these are minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things, particularly in light of the low fees. The bottom line is that Ally Invest can hold its own when compared to its competitors, and it will be well worth your  time to investigate the company when considering an online brokerage.

Can I Get Deals on the Ally Invest Site?

Ally Invest is offering a promotional bargain for those who switch from another company. You can get up to $150 in transfer fees reimbursed when you open an Ally Invest account and transfer your trading business.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Versus Reviews. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

One question you may be asking yourself right now is, “How does Betterment work for my financial betterment?”

That depends largely on who you are. If you are someone who cannot keep up with the dynamism of share markets or does not understand them, Betterment is for you. Not only does it invest per your asset preference — or take the lead if you have none — for lucrative dividends, it takes into account your tax-loss harvesting.

If you are someone who keeps up with the investment market, then the opinion of an expert financial adviser can reaffirm an instinct that you may have, especially since Betterment currently manages more than $7 billion in assets for more than 250,000 clients.

Another factor that raises the bar for Betterment is its security. Increased data security for all your accounts is provided by a 256-bit SSL encryption and SIPC insurance coverage, where everything in your account is protected up to $500,000 in the case of fraud or mismanagement.

It’s also easy to reach Betterment. It offers caller support from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. EST. On Saturday and Sunday, you can reach Betterment from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. EST. It also has email support, and live chat is provided 24/7, so customers never face problems alone.

How Does Betterment Work?

Signing up for Betterment is free, easy and only takes about five minutes. You have to respond to a couple of short questions regarding your investment needs. Once you have made the choices, and your personal checking account has been linked up, you can transfer money to and from your Betterment account whenever you want.

Once money is in the account, Betterment automatically purchases exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The purchases are made based on the way you’ve defined your asset allocations. Your investments are liquid, and selling the investments is extremely easy. Betterment performs the sell trades for all its customers. Dividends earned are automatically reinvested for the customers. Any portfolio that is off by more than 5% is automatically rebalanced.

Once you have an account with Betterment, you should familiarize yourself with its unique features to fully reap the rewards.

What Makes Betterment Stand Out?

Betterment’s team of human financial experts ready and willing to aid clients makes it a formidable entity among robo-advisers. Their accolades and their expertise garnered as alumni of Harvard University, Columbia University and the London School of Economics make this investment committee a trustworthy body to handle your hard-earned money.

To further emphasize how Betterment goes the extra mile to look after its clients, look at who the ideal clients for the service are: hands-off and retirement investors, users with perpetually low balances, people who want automatic rebalancing, and those who like goal-based tools.

Students, who typically have low bank balances, could opt for this service, thereby inculcating the investment culture early on. Even those who have retired get the most comprehensive guide to a good portfolio investment. From comparing current levels of savings to the desired levels of spending during retirement, important questions can be answered. Irrespective of age or income, Betterment has something unique to offer everyone.

Common Reviews of Betterment

According to the Consumer Affairs website, Betterment scored a 3 out of 5 stars. Clients seemed happy with the customer service and the website’s ease of use, but didn’t seem to like the fees charged by Betterment.

One customer wrote, “The customer service was great. Any time I called having a question with anything, the workers were always very friendly and helpful with answering my questions. The customization options are great. I like that they offer many and that I was able to choose which one was the closest to matching me and what I could afford at the time. I don’t really like the additional fees. I have been fined a few times for things and I just think the fees are expensive and I do not agree with them. I would say the ease of use is great. I have not had any major issues with visiting the website or speaking to someone by phone. Overall I am very pleased.”

Another customer said, “I didn’t use customer service much but it is very much evident that they are extremely customer focused by being completely user friendly and easy to contact. The customization options are great. They seemed to have thought of everything when it comes to what a custom experience should be like. I was able to move things around to fit my personal needs. I am not a fan of additional fees but the additional fees that are offered are satisfactory and make sense. In a perfect world everything would be free but that isn’t so logical. The ease of use is very good. Navigating the services it offers and other areas within are very much self explanatory, which I admire since I favor being able to figure things out on my own.”

As for the negative reviews, people tended to complain when they lost money. One customer said, “Looking at what the Betterment claims as the robo-investing in a diversified portfolio. Can anyone explain as to how the value of a diversified portfolio is going down when the market has gone significantly up! How can one expect it to do it better in the long term. On the contrary, Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio seems to reflect the market. I would advise investors to keep a close watch on their portfolio.”

Can I Get Deals on Betterment’s Website?

Yes, you can. There is a promotional deal with up to six months of free management with a minimum deposit, in addition to a very generous referral program. For investors with a lower income, the pricing structure is incentive enough to opt for this robo-adviser.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Versus Reviews. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.