- The Good
- Suitable for both new and experienced investors
- Low minimum deposit
- Attractive fee structure
- The Bad
- Limited phone support
- No fractional shares
- Limited investing options
Wealthfront is a finance company that offers an affordable fee structure and a low minimum deposit, and is suitable for every type of investor that prefers a “hands-off” approach to investing. Wealthfront falls short on phone support, which is only on weekdays, and the fact they don’t buy fractional shares, meaning sometimes your entire deposit is not invested at once.
- Annual Fee
- 0.25% of investment
Wealthfront’s approach to diversified portfolio management allows it to remove common fees like commission and account maintenance fees. Instead, you pay one flat fee at $0.25%. Furthermore, your first $10,000 is managed for free.
- Traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs
- Taxable (individual and joint)
- Non-profit accounts
- 529 college savings plans
Wealthfront offers a wide range of accounts under its management. It is easy to open any one of these accounts with the company’s user-friendly website, which automates everything.
Wealthfront mostly focuses on ETFs, as well as stocks and bonds to diversify your portfolio. The goal is for low risk and high return, the outcome every investor wants.
- First $10,000 managed free
- Referral rewards
- Automated portfolio rebalancing
- Daily tax-loss harvesting
- Direct indexing
- Tailored transfers
- Financial planning
- 529 college planning
- Selling plan
- Customized portfolio
The features offered by Wealthfront are numerous and all fall under its annual fee of 0.25%, except for the first $10,000 deposited. Compared to competitors, its features are on point, except for the free management incentive — Wealthfront seems to be the only company to offer this perk.
- Minimum Deposit
The minimum deposit to invest with Wealthfront is $500, but remember, there is no charge on the first $10,000 you invest. So Wealthfront is basically free to use until your account hits $10,000 or above.
Wealthfront: User Reviews
Wealthfront is growing fast. Based in California’s Silicon Valley, they reached $1 billion in assets in only two and a half years. As an SEC registered investment advisor, Wealthfront offers automated investment management through their easy-to-use software. They adhere to the “Modern Portfolio Theory,” just as most of their competitors do, which means they strive to give customers a personalized and diversified investment portfolio designed according to each customer’s individual risk tolerance.
Today, Wealthfront manages over $4 billion in assets and offers direct indexing, a service that uses individual securities to single out tax-loss harvesting opportunities on balances over $100,000, saving customers a lot of money.
Overall, Wealthfront offers an easy way to invest, especially if you’re looking for someone else to handle the investing decisions for you and automatically manage your portfolio without the high commission fees charged by traditional financial institutions.
How Does Wealthfront Work?
To begin investing with Wealthfront, click the “invest now” button at the top right-hand corner of the home page. This will take you to a short questionnaire that asks about your age, the basis of your portfolio, your annual income, your liquid assets and more questions that focus on risk tolerance.
Wealthfront then takes your answers and shows you what kind of portfolio would work best for you. You don’t have to commit to see this breakdown. In fact, Wealthfront knows you’ll be so impressed by what they come up with, they use this as a marketing tool to get you to commit — but not until after they build trust.
From here, Wealthfront automatically manages your portfolio while you sit back and watch it grow, and all for free up to $10,000 or $15,000.
What Makes Wealthfront Stand Out?
For starters, the “no fee up to $10,000” really makes Wealthfront stand out. Besides this, Wealthfront offers Path, a software that allows for both investment management and financial planning right on your phone. You never have to call anyone at Wealthfront if you really don’t want to.
College planning is another unique feature that sets Wealthfront apart from the competition, and it can also be found in their Path software. Path actually helps assess which colleges and universities are right for you through a personalized assessment. And to save for college, Wealthfront offers a 529 College Savings Plan.
For accounts with balances of $100,000 or more, Wealthfront offers tax-optimized direct indexing. According to WealthFront, “This is an easy way to replace the U.S. stock investment pieces of a diversified portfolio while permitting for an enhanced form of Tax-Loss Harvesting and lowering investment costs.” WealthFront uses its software to search for individual tax-loss harvesting opportunities. From here, the savings on taxes can be reinvested.
Wealthfront’s referral program really stands out. By inviting friends and family to sign up and fund an account at Wealthfront, you can get an additional $5,000 added to the first $10,000 that Wealthfront manages for free. Your entire free amount managed would then be a total of $15,000 if only one person funded the account. This is something not offered by WealthFront’s competitors.
Finally, the low minimum balance of $500 makes Wealthfront perfect for everyone — from students just starting out to the most savvy of investors. When compared to many of Wealthfront’s competitors, some of which require a minimum deposit of $10,000 to $100,000 to invest with their online platform, you can see that Wealthfront is designed to give everyone access to online automated portfolio management.
Common Reviews of Wealthfront
According to the Consumer Affairs website, Wealthfront scored four out of five stars. The customers had positive experiences with customer service and also didn’t mind paying fees for the quality service offered by Wealthfront. One customer said,
“The service is pretty accurate and I received pretty much what I expected from this company. I would highly recommend it to family and friends who are looking for investments. They are very helpful. They help me understand what I am getting myself into financially and are there to help answer any questions that I have about their services. The additional fees really aren’t that big of a deal for the service that I received from them. They are worth paying more for and I would expect to pay more for better services. Very easy to use with the help that I received. Before them, I had no idea what I was doing. Now I am better at what I am doing.”
Another customer said, “Whenever I have questions that need to be answered on the phone I always receive high quality service. They are very nice and polite. They have always been able to answer all of my questions in a timely manners. The customization options are quite nice. I am able to choose just the services that I need without any extra stuff I don’t. I feel like I get a personalized high quality service. The fees are very low considering the type of service that they provide. Compared to other providers they are quite competitive. I have always been very happy with all of the costs associated with my account. The service is very intuitive and easy to use. Everything works just the way you would want it to. I have encountered no major difficulties and find it to be a very pleasant service to use.”
Another positive review reads, “When I first heard about Wealthfront a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if it would be a service that I could recommend. After doing my due diligence, however, I believe they’re a great service that would be beneficial for a lot of people. They’ve got an easy to use site, a tax efficient investment strategy and automatic re-allocation and dividend reinvestment to boot.”
On the other hand, there were some negative reviews that said the customer service was just OK. Other customers said that if you have a high balance, you can find competitors who offer cheaper fees. One stated, “If you have a large account, really anything over $100,000, you have cheaper options. Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better, but you could get many of the same features from a few competitors.”
Other than that, the reviews were all positive and many customers said they would recommend Wealthfront to friends and family.