Congratulations! If you are looking to save $100,000 or more, then you are well on your way to establishing financial independence and making serious progress towards your retirement.
You’ve probably already cleared the basic steps of a financial plan:
* Setting up a Rainy Day Fund
* Paying off your credit cards
* Setting up a Job Loss Fund
At this point, you have so many great options to
* Minimize taxes
* Take advantage of employer sponsored plans
But those options require you to understand some pretty complicated rules. The following applies to most people’s scenarios, but, if you have unique situations, then it’s time to start calling in a professional investment advisor.
Your first goal is to take advantage of any employer matching for a 401k or 403b. Take the free money!
The second goal is to use the tax-deferred account types like IRAs that reward you for saving. This is frankly where it complicated because of:
- Contribution Limits
- Income Limits
- Roth vs Traditional IRA
- 529 plan college savings funds
Before you consider investing $100,000 or more with a robo-advisor, it pays to spend some time understanding these types of accounts. FSRankings recommends Vanguard’s investor education on account types.
Once you are confident on the type of account you want to open up, you’d like to get a robo-advisor that:
- Supports multiple tax-deferred account types
- Has a track record
- Is building towards a sustainable level of assets under management
True to its younger target audience, Acorns is one to avoid at this stage because it just doesn’t support any tax-deferred account types like IRAs and Roth IRAs. Ditto for SigFig.
We’re keeping an eye on Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Fidelity Go, but as new products, it makes sense to let them build up a bit of a track record before going with them.
The other robo-advisors we’ve looked at just haven’t built up enough assets, so we worry about their long term viability. While your assets will be safe in the long-term due to SIPC insurance, there may be a hassle getting access to your assets if one of those smaller robo-advisors runs into trouble.
That really leaves us with Wealthfront and Betterment. Both are clearly ahead of the pack in terms of accounts, assets under management, advanced features such as tax-loss harvesting and direct investing, and supporting many account types.
However, Wealthfront takes the cake because Wealthfront has never kept consumers from withdrawing their money. Betterment restricted withdrawals for a period of time in 2016, even though Betterment’s FAQ said customers can withdraw their money at any time.
While there may be good reasons to try to convince an investor to not liquidate an account just because the market is going down, there are also good reasons an investor may need to access their money in spite of a down market, such as securing funds for a home purchase or covering an emergency.
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