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Wealthfront / Automated Index Portfolios and DIY Stock Investing

Wealthfront offers recommended investments and low-cost portfolio management through its robo-advisor service, along with a DIY account for investing in individual stocks.

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Wealthfront review quick take: A low-cost robo-advisory service helping investors build wealth through automation and socially responsible investing.

What is Wealthfront?

Wealthfront is a pioneering robo-advisor that offers low-cost investment management through technology and automation. The brokerage offers managed portfolios based on your risk tolerance, current financial situation, and time horizon.

The company was founded in 2008 as an alternative to expensive investment management firms with large minimum investment requirements.

Your investments are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This coverage protects assets up to $500,000 (including $250,000 in claims for cash). It provides protection against the failure of a broker-dealer, not against a decline in the market value of your securities.

How Wealthfront Investing Works

Choose two ways to start investing:

1. Automated Investing

Wealthfront builds and manages a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds personalized for you. It’s the simplest way to invest. The Automated Investing Account makes it easy to build long-term wealth by managing risk, maximizing returns, and minimizing taxes.

Answer a few questions to get your recommended portfolio, which can consist of over 200 investments, up to 17 global asset classes, and 2 cryptocurrency trusts.

With Wealthfront Automated Investing, you can choose either classic or socially responsible and can also customize portfolios from hundreds of funds in categories like clean energy, tech, and crypto. And the robo-advisor will:

  • Handle all the trading, rebalancing, and management to help grow your wealth long-term.
  • Automatically diversifies deposits, reinvests dividends, and uses tax-efficient strategies.

2. Stock Investing

With Wealthfront Stock Investing, you can exercise more control, invest in individual stocks yourself, and get help with pre-built collections. It allows you to:

  • Buy and sell individual stocks and fractional shares with zero commissions and no advisory or management fees.
  • Discover stocks through investing themes and opportunities.
  • See a quick analysis of all the pros and cons of over 1,500 stocks.

Wealthfront Review

Key Features

  • Automation: The software makes trading decisions for you (Automated Investing).
  • Fully customizable: You can adjust your allocations and edit your portfolio.
  • Automatic rebalancing: Your portfolio is rebalanced when it drifts significantly from the target asset allocation strategy.
  • Tax-Loss Harvesting: Robo-advisor will find opportunities to turn market dips into tax savings to help boost your after-tax returns.
  • All-in-one app: Track your progress, link other accounts, and see your net worth.

Account Minimum

  • Automated Investing: A minimum deposit of $500 to open an account.
  • Stock Investing: Get started with $1.

Fees

  • Management fees: 0.25% a year for Automated Investing Account clients.
  • Trading fees: $0 for Stock Investing Account clients.

Additional fees may apply.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • User-friendly interface and onboarding
  • Low management fees
  • Tax-efficient strategies

Cons

  • No human financial advisors.

Who is it best for?

Wealthfront is best for beginners and cost-conscious investors who wish to make only a few financial decisions about their investments.

Wealthfront Invest Review

Wealthfront Review

Wealthfront is a legitimate company and not a scam. Overall, it’s a good option for those seeking a robust investing platform that provides guidance and recommendations without a hefty financial advisor fee.

The robo-advisor shines with its all-in-one design that merges investing, spending, and borrowing into a great app. They’ve worked hard to deliver on the promise of “investing that does the investing for you.” It’s appealing to new and experienced investors alike.

In our Wealthfront review, we learned it has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating with over 16,000 reviews in the App Store. Most reviews stated the peace of mind gained from the advice, recommended portfolio, and automation features. However, it has an average rating on Trustpilot with only 8 user reviews.

Wealthfront does not provide financial advice or planning. It’s all done within the app using algorithms and technology to assist you with investments. They do have Product Specialists who can help you navigate the software, but they do not provide financial advice. The company’s reason is that less human interaction allows for lower fees and better yields.

Wealthfront customer service is available via phone or email if you can’t find your answer in the Help Center. The company states, “general requests are typically answered within 24 business hours, but some requests require significant research that may delay our response to you.”

How to Start a Wealthfront Account

Minimum Requirements

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Valid Social Security Number
  • Legal resident of the United States

Step-by-Step to Open an Investing Account

The time needed: 5 minutes.

  1. Get started
    • Create an account through the website.
  2. Enter your information 
    • Provide your first and last name, social security number, and address.
    • Share your financial goals, why you’re investing, and your time horizon.
  3. Choose the account
    • Decide on whether you’re opening an Automated or Stock Investing account.
  4. Account verification
    • Identity is verified electronically. Otherwise, additional documents may be requested.

Wealthfront Alternatives

Alternatives to Wealthfront include Betterment, a robo-advisor, or a hybrid platform like M1 Finance. Other alternatives include Acorns and Stash Invest, which offer recommended portfolios and micro-investing.

Want more options? Shop the marketplace.

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