Robo Advisor ReviewsWealthfront

How to Sign Up for Wealthfront – The Path Financial Advisor Drill Down

*Please read affiliate disclosure below.

Wealthfront Review-How to Sign Up – Part 2 

To get your investing on track, this how to sign up for Wealthfront Review article takes you through an online interview with the Path Financial Advisor and on to the actual sign up.

In Part 1 -‘Should I Use Wealthfront?’, you received an overview of the Wealthfront platform, distinguishing features including their direct investing options to minimize taxes, new Path financial planning tool and a picture of their fee structure.

In Wealthfront Review-Part 2 – ‘How to Sign Up for Wealthfront’ you’re introduced to the Path automated financial advisor who drills into your investment preferences to set up a personal investment portfolio.

In Wealthfront Review-Part 3 – Discover the returns you might expect, the Wealthfront ETF’s and a detailed explanation of the differentiating features of the platform.  The final analysis integrates all the key components of the Wealthfront platform and gives you the confidence to answer the question, ‘Is Wealthfront worth it for you?’

Wealthfront’s ‘pre portfolio set-up’ options are impressive. It’s as if you’re speaking to a real financial advisor, without leaving the house. The Path financial advisor covers all the investment related questions.

Ultimately, an investment portfolio should be as personalized as possible and take into account your situation, risk tolerance, net worth and more. Wealthfront does an excellent job covering the financial planner questions, without talking to a human! In the takeaway, you’ll discover where Wealthfront nailed it and what could be improved.

How to Sign Up for Wealthfront – A Step-by-Step Walk Through

“More than 90% of portfolios aren’t invested the right way for the long term. Is yours?” ~Wealthfront.com

We went through the entire Path financial advisor questions so you understand the process before signing up for Wealthfront as your robo-advisor.

Read along as Brad, a 34-year-old single guy, responds to the Path financial advisor questions and signs up for Wealthfront.

Wealthfront Review-Path Financial Planner-How to sign up for Wealthfront

Wealthfront Sign Up Asks – What is Your Primary Reason for Investing?

1. Before you can sign up you’re asked to choose your primary investment goal:

  • General savings
  • Retirement
  • College Savings
  • Other

Brad selects Retirement.

2. Next, the Path Financial Advisor asks; What are you looking for in a financial advisor?

  • I’d like to create a diversified investment portfolio.
  • I’d like to save money on my taxes.
  • I’d like someone to completely manage my investments so that I don’t have to.
  • I’d like to match or beat the performance of the markets.

Brad checked each choice and received a short explanation describing how the Wealthfront Path Financial Advisor helps achieve every goal.

3. This question is simple; What is your current age?

Brad is age 34. Wealthfront is targeted towards the 30 to 40-year-old millennial.

4. Next, comes the salary question; What is your annual pre-tax income?

Brad earns $80,000.

5. The tax question follows; Which of the following best describes your household?

  • Single income, no dependents
  • Single income, at least one dependent
  • Dual income, no dependents
  • Dual income, at least one dependent
  • Retired or financially independent

Brad selects single income, no dependents.

6. Path must find out Brad’s net worth; What is the total value of your cash and liquid investments? e.g. savings, CDs, mutual funds, IRAs, 401(k)s, stocks etc.

Brad’s 401(k) and savings account add up to $26,000.

7. The Path Financial Advisor wants to know your investment preferences and asks; When deciding how to invest your money, which do you care about more?

  • Maximizing gains
  • Minimizing losses
  • Both equally

Brad wants both equally – to maximize gains and minimize losses. 

8. Finally, the risk comfort or tolerance section – The global stock market is often volatile. If your entire investment portfolio lost 10% of its value in a month during a market decline, what would you do?

  • Sell all of your investments
  • Sell some
  • Keep all
  • Buy more

Brad is a smart guy and understands that investment market values go up and down. He’s also in the investment markets for the long term. Thus, he indicates that he’d buy more after a 10% market drop. 

That’s it for the initial, pre-sign up questions!

Wealthfront then shows a customized asset allocation investment plan immediately and sends a friendly email encouraging you to open an account as well as a link to a whitepaper.

Brad’s initial plan was diversified across these asset classes:

  • 35% US Stocks
  • 24% International Stocks
  • 18% Emerging Markets Stocks (from less developed foreign countries)
  • 9% Dividend-Paying Stocks
  • 5% Natural Resources Stocks
  • 9% Municipal Bonds

The Wealthfront Recommended Asset Allocation

Based upon Brad’s responses to the Path questions, Wealthfront recommended a diversified portfolio with an 8.5 risk grade. The aggressive plan is diversified with 86% of the portfolio invested in domestic and international stocks, 5% in the natural resources ETF and 9% in a municipal bond ETF. With only 9% invested in fixed bond investments, this is a risky portfolio. Yet, the asset allocation fits with Brad’s many years until retirement and his temperament to weather a stock market drop without panic.

If you’re curious about what each of the asset classes means and which ETFs are included in each category, just click on the related bar. For example, click on the Dividend Stocks bar and you’ll get a brief explanation of the rationale for this asset class.

For example, click on the Dividend Stocks bar and you’ll get a brief explanation of the rationale for this asset class.

Dividend stocks are generally large-cap companies with a history of increasing their payouts. These companies generally pay higher dividends than government bonds, provide an income stream along with capital appreciation potential. The pop out also lists three potential ETFs, along with the ticker symbol, expense ratio and rationale for including in the portfolio.

Click on any of the other bar columns for clear-cut explanations of the specific asset class.

Brad was satisfied with his asset allocation and the explanations.

Brad was ready to proceed

The Wealthfront Sign up Includes More Questions From the Path Financial Advisor

After inputting his name, email address and password, Brad signs in. Remember, no money has yet been invested!

Then Path continues its due diligence by explaining that the financial advisor must ask a few more questions. Brad’s answers are listed after each question:

1. Tax filing status – Single

2. Do you participate in a work retirement plan? – Yes

3. Do you generate any income from self-employment? – No

4. Do you currently have any investment accounts at other brokerages? – No

Based on Brad’s answers, the Path financial advisor recommends opening a Personal Account and also mentions the Roth IRA account as another possibility.

Then he’s introduced to the Direct indexing plan described in part 1 of this review.

Finally, he inputs his U.S. contact information, before funding the account.

Pros and Cons of How to Sign Up, Initial Questionnaire and  Portfolio Evaluation

Wealthfront Sign Up – Pros:

The Path financial advisor questions were specific, thorough and covered the topics that a human financial advisor would consider. This feature gives you clear-cut guidance on how much to save to meet your goals and how potential life events might impact retirement plans.

The recommended asset allocation was diversified and fit in with the responses to the risk questions.

The pop out descriptions of each asset class were detailed and the fee explanation was important, as most investors don’t consider underlying ETF fees and benefit from learning this information.

Wealthfront Sign Up – Cons:

If you’re looking to talk to a human about your financial plans, then the digital advisor may not suffice and you might want to check out Betterment Plus, Betterment Premium or Personal Capital.

Not unique to Wealthfront, projections are risky because they are based on back-tested data and may or may not be accurate.

The Final ‘How to Sign Up For Wealthfront Takeaway’

The answer to ‘How to sign up for Wealthfront?’ is simple. Respond to the questions and prompts. You’ll find the sign-up process seamless. The asset allocation recommendation was sensible and the risk grade seemed in line with the responses to the investigative questions.

For a comprehensive Wealthfront Review read all of the articles:

In Part 1-learn ‘Why should I invest in Wealthfront?” The first segment of the 3-part review drills into Wealthfront’s methodology, fees, and differentiating features. We make it easy for you to look under the hood of the Wealthfront robo-advisor platform.

In Part 2- ‘How to Sign Up for Wealthfront’  you’re introduced to the Path automated financial advisor who drills into your investment preferences to set up a personal investment portfolio.

In Part 3 – Is Wealthfront Worth it? discover the returns you might expect, the ETFs Wealthfront invests in and a detailed explanation of the differentiating features of the platform.  The final analysis integrates all the key components of the Wealthfront platform and gives you the confidence to answer the question, ‘Is Wealthfront Worth it for you?’

Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

Updated; May 1, 2017

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Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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