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Betterment vs Vanguard vs Wealthsimple

Lisa MacColl is a writer, investor and former compliance consultant in the group retirement and individual wealth management fields. Lisa has written about personal finance for 14 years and currently writes about investing and investment providers for Wealthsimple. Lisa's past work has been published in Canadian Money Saver, Advisor’s Edge, CBC, and CreditCards.ca. She was a nominee for the 2015 Oktoberfest Women of the Year, Professional Category. Lisa holds an M.A. and B.A. from the Wilfrid Laurier University.

We believe that making smart choices with your money shouldn't be hard. To help you choose, we compared Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment, and Weathsimple Invest. Then we created this handy comparison for you to show how we stack up in terms of key features, accounts and pricing.

Your trust is important to us. That's why we always do our best to be fair and provide complete and accurate information. We also do our best to provide up-to-date information. You should understand that Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment or Wealthsimple may change their product features or fees at any time. To complete your homework, we recommend visiting our competitor's site to continue your research.

About Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment and Wealthsimple Invest

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is one of the world's oldest financial firms whose first fund, the Wellington Fund was launched in 1929. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is their robo-investment platform, which offers a full range of investment products including mutual funds and Exchange-Traded Funds. It has approximately $100 billion in assets under management.

Betterment is an online financial advisor that creates personalized investment portfolios and uses technology to lower taxes, rebalance portfolios and provide investment diversity. In business since 2010, Betterment is one of the original roboadvisors and has approximate $10 billion in assets under management.

Wealthsimple is an online investment manager that combines smart technology with expert financial advice. We allow you to put your money in a managed portfolio (Wealthsimple Invest) or put your money in a savings investment account (Wealthsimple Save). We've been in business since 2014, and have over $3 billion in assets under management.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs Betterment vs Wealthsimple Invest (automated investing)

See how Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment and Wealthsimple Invest compare to each other.

Vanguard Personal Advisor ServicesBettermentWealthsimple Invest
Overall Rating on Nerd Wallet3/55/54.5/5
Social Responsible InvestingYesYesYes
Halal InvestingNoNoYes
Minimum Balance To Start Investing$50,000NoneNo minimum
VIP Airport Lounge AccessNoNoYes (for Wealthsimple clients who invest over $100k)
Management Fees0.30% on assets under $5M, 0.20% on assets from $5M-$10M, 0.10% on assets from $10M-$25M and .05% for assets over $25M. There may also be an account service fee of $20 for mutual fund only or brokerage accounts with less than $10K in assets who chose mail delivery. Accounts with over $10K or who choose electronic delivery of statements and fund updates do not pay the fee.Two levels: 0.25% on the digital plan and 0.40% on their premium plan. Fee-based financial advisor services start at $199.0.50% on $0-$100k and 0.40% for amounts over $100k.
Dividend ReinvestingYesYesYes
Auto DepositingYesYesYes
Transfer Fees (to another financial institution)NoNoNo
Inactivity FeesNoNoNo
Financial Planning/Portfolio ReviewYes (included if you invest over $50k).Yes (access to a CFP available for an additional fee starting from $199. Unlimited access to a CFP or when you invest $100K and enroll in the premium plan.)Yes (unlimited access included in all plans for no additional fee)
RebalancingYesYesYes
Human SupportYesYesYes

Not all investment providers are created equal. In just five minutes you can get started with a personalized portfolio that makes your money work harder for you — start investing with Wealthsimple.

Comparison of accounts offered (automated investing)

Here's a list of the accounts that Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment and Wealthsimple Invest offer in the US.

AccountVanguard Personal Advisor ServicesBettermentWealthsimple Invest
JointYesYesYes
Roth IRAYesYesYes
Traditional IRAYesYesYes
Rollover IRAYesYesYes
SEP IRAYesYesYes
Simple IRAYesNoNo
TrustsYesYesYes
Non-retirement accountsYesYesYes

The bottom line

Betterment and Wealthsimple Invest offer no minimum to open an account and start investing. If you want to invest with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, you will need a minimum of $50,000. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, Betterment and Wealthsimple Invest all offer no additional fees on transfers or account inactivity or for rebalancing and auto-depositing. All three offer a portfolio review, human support and socially responsible investing but their fee structure or the minimum amount needed to get this free of charge varies.

How much you pay in fees can eat up your bottom line, and it pays to understand what you receive in exchange for the fee you pay. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services has a sliding scale of fees starting at .30% for balances under $5M. They provide you access to a financial advisor when you invest over $50k. Betterment's digital plan has a .25% fee. That includes access to a financial expert. If you want in-depth advice you need to buy an advice package and that starts at an extra $199 or if you have over $100K to invest and are willing to pay fees of .40%, you can enroll in their premium plan. This comes with access to a Certified Financial Planner. Wealthsimple Invest fees start at .5% and drop to 0.4% if you invest more than 100k. Wealthsimple Invest fees include access to a financial advisor for no additional fees.

When it comes to education and advice Wealthsimple Invest provides educational content in the form of articles and courses. Betterment has a resources centre that provides articles to help their clients become better investors. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services also offers investor resources and educational articles.

In an independent review conducted by NerdWallet, Betterment scored 5/5, Wealthsimple scored 4.5/5 and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services scored 3/5 stars.

Wealthsimple offers state-of-the-art technology, low fees and the kind of personalized, friendly service you might have not thought imaginable from an automated investing provider — start investing now.

What to consider when choosing an investment provider

Comparing investment providers doesn't have to be hard. Here's some advice to get you started:

Pay attention to account minimums

Choose a provider that makes sense for what you can invest now - and in the future. Some investment providers require you to deposit as much as $100,000 to get started. And, in some cases you could face nasty penalties for dropping below the account minimum - or be forced to close your account.

Watch out for hidden fees

Nothing eats away at long-term gains quite like fees. And we're talking about more than just management fees (though they're important, too). Account transfers and trading fees can also add up. The best investment providers are upfront with what it costs to invest with them.

Look out for human support

When you need to make sense of a mysterious number in your monthly statement, nothing compares to talking to a fellow human. In the competition to offer the lowest possible management fees, some investment providers are quick to cut customer support. Before you commit to a provider, see what support is available - you never know when you'll want it.

Find out if you have access to a financial advisor

No two people are alike - and neither are their financial situations. But investment platforms vary in terms of how much access you get to professional advice. Keep an eye out for providers that offer access to a financial advisor. There are only a few who offer advice when you need it, regardless of how much money you have in your account.

Understand how much freedom you have

Relationships end - even when you're investing for the long term. Before you commit, find out what happens if you need to withdraw your funds or want to move on to a new investment platform - and whether there are any penalties involved.

Not your average investment provider. Say hello to human financial advice and personalized portfolios with no account minimums or hidden fees — start investing now.

Why choose Wealthsimple

We do the work for you

Using well Wealthsimple is, well, simple. In just a few minutes, we'll build you a custom portfolio that makes sense for your risk tolerance and investment timelines. And we'll do the maintenance for you, with automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvesting. All you have to do to get started is answer a few simple questions. And then you can sit back and tell all your friends how smart you were with your money.

No account minimums or hidden fees

You can get started with Wealthsimple with as little as $1. Our fees are also really, really low. We charge 0.5% on $0-$100k and 0.4% on anything above $100k. Plus, you can make a withdrawal any time you want. So you can always count on your money being there when you need it. Start investing now.

Personal touch

Our financial advisors are fiduciaries, which is a fancy way of saying that they have a legal obligation to provide financial advice that's in your best interest - not ours. They're standing by to answer your questions and provide support whenever you need it. All you have to go is drop us a line by phone, email or even Skype. Get started.

More than 100,000 people love using Wealthsimple

See the reviews for yourself:

  • 1.5k ratings in the Apple app store

  • 2019 Top Robo Advisor (NerdWallet)

  • 5 Stars - Simple.Thrifty.Living

Ready to give Wealthsimple a shot?

Put your money to work in a smart portfolio, designed to help you get closer to your financial goals. Start investing now and get access to our state-of-the-art technology, low fees, and access to advice from real humans whenever you need it.

Methodology

The information on this page was compiled by Wealthsimple in April 2019. In order to uncover this information, we looked at Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Betterment's websites, press releases and third-party sites. The information collected relates to features, accounts and pricing. The information is provided for comparison purposes only, as at the time of publication. The comparison is only intended for US investors.

Last Updated May 3, 2019

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