• Home
  • |
  • Blog
  • |
  • Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade-Expert View of Robo vs Investment Broker

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade-Expert View of Robo vs Investment Broker

Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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

TD Ameritrade Robo Advisors – Digital Advisor and Personalized Portfolio – are not accepting new customers. All interested robo-advisory clients are being referred to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium Robo-Advisors.

If you’re seeking the best in the biz trading platform, thinkorwim is available at TD Ameritrade. In fact, although Schwab and TD Ameritrade are merging, TD Ameritrade is still accepting new clients (who will later be migrated to Schwab).

Continue reading for a comparison of the Betterment robo-advisor vs TD Ameritrade self-directed trading features, pricing and products.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade

BettermentTD Ameritrade
OverviewA goals based automated investment advisor. ESG, smart beta, income and crypto are available. Self directed investment platform with Thinkorswim trading platform. Many asset and account types.
Minimum Investment AmountNo minimum investment amount required for Digital ($10 to begin investing). $100,000 minimum for Premium. No minimum required to open an account.
Fee StructureDigital-0.25% AUM for accounts worth more than $20,000 (or with $250 monthly Auto-deposit)
$4 per month for AUM below $20,000
Premium - 0.40% AUM
Crypto - !% AUM
Cash - Fee-free
Fee-free ETF and stock trading. Fee free real time quotes and Level II quotes.
Top FeaturesGoal-based ETF investment portfolio. Rebalancing. Tax-loss harvesting. SRI, smart beta, income and crypto portfolios. Human financial advisors for added fees. Discount self-directed investment broker with multiple asset types, trading platforms and education resources.
Free ServicesNo account fees for Cash Reserve and Checking.Educational resources available on the TD Ameritrade website. Free stock, ETF trading.
Contact & Investing AdviceBetterment Premium and planning packages have access to financial advisors, for added fee. Phone and email support, 7 days per week. 24/7 Phone
Online chat via Facebook and Twitter,
Branch office representatives."
Investment FundsLow-cost, commission-free ETFs. Includes value-based funds.Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, forex and futures
Accounts AvailableSingle & joint taxable brokerage. Roth, traditional, rollover & SEP IRA. Trust. Individual & joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP, SIMPLE & rollover IRAs. Coverdells. Trusts. Solo 401(k)s & Solo Roth 401(k)s. Corporate & business accounts. UGMA/UTMA.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Overview

What is Betterment?

Betterment is one of the legacy low-fee robo-advisors with the option for pure automated investment management or a hybrid, digital plus human advisor financial management (for additional fee).  This means that you get an investment portfolio that lines up with your goals, time horizon and risk level.

Betterment’s assets under management clock in at number three, after Vanguard and Schwab.

In our Betterment Review, we have named this platform one of the best robo-advisors for millennials, but you shouldn’t write it off if you’re outside that bracket. Betterment earns this distinction for a few important reasons: cost, options, minimums, and customization.

Betterment is a goals-based robo-advisor that helps investors clearly articulate and track individual objectives. Users can customize their goals and easily see if they’re on track to meet them. It’s extremely affordable, with low fees and no minimum investment requirement and only $10 to begin investing.

Additionally, Betterment investors have the option to pursue socially-responsible investments, which appeals to the many individuals who want to earn money while making a difference in their communities or society at large.

What is TD Ameritrade?

Recently acquired by Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade is one of major U.S. self-directed investment brokerage firms.

Those interested in the TD Ameritrade robo advisor, are directed to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

TD Ameritrade offers multiple assets for trading, 24/7 customer service by licensed financial consultants, the award-winning thinkorswim trading platform and robust interactive learning tools. The TD Ameritrade IRA promises speedy sign up through the online broker.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Top Features

Betterment Top Features

  • Access to low-fee financial advisors either through the Premium or individual financial planning packages.
  • Goals-based robo, with the ability to add multiple goals
  • Low fees
  • No minimum required (for Betterment Digital), just $10 to begin investing
  • Tax loss harvesting
  • Various strategy portfolios

TD Ameritrade Top Features

  • Access to stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures and forex.
  • Multiple account types. Open an IRA in 15 minutes.
  • Complementary goal planning with a financial consultant
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Branch offices
  • Thinkorswim trading platform
  • Robust educational resources and tools

Visit the Robo-Advisor Selection Wizard, answer 4 questions, and find out which robo-advisor is the right one for you.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade—Who Benefits?

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Financial Advisors

If you want access to a human financial planner, you could benefit from both: Betterment offers access to humans with both their Digital with planning packages and Premium accounts, for low fees. TD Ameritrade provides financial consultants for investment guidance and planning concerns.

The qualifications of the financial consultants between TD Ameritrade vs. Betterment is distinct.

  • All Betterment financial consultants are Certified Financial Planners, one of the most elite certifications for financial advisors.
  • TD Ameritrade financial advisors hold Series 7 and Series 66 licenses and might hold the CFP designation.

Presently, the Betterment robo-advisor and Ellevest are among the only digital investment managers that offer a la carte low-fee financial planning packages for their customers for low fees. This is a boon for investors who are about to reach a life milestone (retirement, marriage, or college, for example) and want to seek professional advice.

If you envision needing ongoing in investment and financial guidance , then you’re assured a Certified Financial Planner with Betterment Premium for a 0.40% AUM. For general financial questions, the TD Ameritrade consultants should be fine.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Fees and Investment Minimums

Investors at both Betterment and TD Ameritrade can open an account with no minimum. You’ll need $10 to begin investing at Betterment. As TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer fractional shares trading, you’ll obviously need to fund your TD Ameritrade account to begin investing. Betterment offers low fee investment management and TD Ameritrade offers fee-free stock and ETF trading with low-fee commissions on other assets.

Betterment Fees and Minimums


  • $4.00 per month for accounts worth less than $20,000
  • 0.25% AUM for accounts worth more than $20,000 or with $250 per month auto deposit.

Premium: 0.40% AUM


  • 1.0% AUM per month – plus trading fees for Digital clients
  • 1.15% AUM – plus trading for Premium clients

Financial Advice Packages

Prices range from $299 to $399 per financial advice package

Cash accounts (through partner banks) do not charge management fees.

TD Ameritrade Fees and Minimums

  • Fee-free stock and ETF comissions
  • No transaction fee mutual funds available. Other mutual fund commissions range from $49.95 to $74.95
  • Options – $0.65 per contract
  • Fixed income commissions on net yield basis-factored into the price. Treasuries are commission free.
  • Futures – $2.25 per contract
  • Forex – Fee is reflected in bid/ask spread

Read: Robo-advisor’s with the human touch,

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Investment Options

Betterment Investment Portfolio Options

Betterment offers diversified investment portfolios based upon your goals, age and risk tolerance level.

Betterment portfolio options:

  • Core – Diversified stock and bond ETFs spanning the U.S. and international investments.
  • Innovative Technology – Diversified, higher risk portfolio focused on growth companies such as clean energy, semi concuctors, robots, virtual reality, block chain and more.
  • 3 ESG Portfolios – Broad, Climate and Social Impact
  • Goldman Sachs Smart Beta Portfolios – This approach is good for investors who want to attempt to beat the market and are willing to take on a bit higher risk.
  • BlackRock Target Income Portfolios – These bond portfolios are designed for conservative investors seeking cash flow.
  • Cash Reserve – High yield cash account offered through partner banks with $2 million FDIC insurance ($4 million for joint accounts)
  • 4 Crypto Portfolios – Sustainable, Metaverse, Decentralized Finance and Universe

Investors can use these new portfolios in lieu of or beside Betterment’s traditional options.

TD Ameritrade Investment Options

TD Ameritrade offers most of the major asset class investments. In total, there are 1,000’s of investment options at TD Ameritrade. Those seeking managed portfolios will visit the Schwab platform.

TD Ameritrade investments:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Forex (70 currency pairs)
  • Futures
  • Options
  • High yield cash
  • Brokered certificates of deposit

Bonus; M1 Finance VS. Betterment – Which Robo-Advisor is Best For Me?

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – Tax Impact

Betterment attends to tax consequences in both taxable and retirement accounts.

They place assets in accounts that will minimize tax payments.

Betterment offers tax-loss harvesting for taxable accounts.

TD Ameritrade offers various IRA accounts, municipal bonds and municipal bond funds for taxable accounts. Financial consultants can help linvestors with tax planning.

Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade – The Takeaway

Betterment is a sound choice for investors seeking a variety of low fee managed portfolios. As the largest stand alone robo-advisor, Betterment is appropriate for beginner to advanced investors seeking a variety of goal based managed portfolios.

Betterment is not a self-directed investment platform like TD Ameritrade.

If you’re seeking a combination robo-advisor with self-directed trading you might consider SoFi or M1 Finance.

Other Betterment alternatives with greater access to individual stocks and ETFs include:

M1 Finance

TD Ameritrade offers the breath of investments, education and support that any self-directed investor would need.

If you’re a trader and seeking the best trading platform, then TD Ameritrade with thinkorswim is worth a look. If you don’t need the thinkorswim platform, you might open a self-directed account a Charles Schwab, as the two companies will be merged within the upcoming year or so.

Read the complete Betterment Review

Direct Access: Betterment Website

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.

*Betterment is not a licensed tax advisor. Tax Loss Harvesting+ (TLH+) is not suitable for all investors. Read more at https://www.betterment.com/legal/tax-loss-harvesting and consider your personal circumstances before deciding whether to utilize Betterment’s TLH+ feature. Investing involves risk. Performance not guaranteed.

**Cash Reserve is only available to clients of Betterment LLC, which is not a bank, and cash transfers to program banks are conducted through the clients’ brokerage accounts at Betterment Securities. For Cash Reserve (“CR”), Betterment LLC only receives compensation from our program banks; Betterment LLC and Betterment Securities do not charge fees on your CR balance. Checking accounts and the Betterment Visa Debit Card provided and issued by nbkc bank, Member FDIC. Checking made available through Betterment Financial LLC. Neither Betterment Financial LLC, nor any of their affiliates, is a bank. Betterment Financial LLC reimburses ATM fees and the Visa® 1% foreign transaction fee worldwide, everywhere Visa is accepted.

Related Posts

Empower (formerly Personal Capital) vs. Mint vs. Quicken Review – Which Financial App is Best

Empower (formerly Personal Capital) vs. Mint vs. Quicken Review – Which Financial App is Best

Simplifi vs Mint – Which Budgeting Platform Is Best in 2023?

Simplifi vs Mint – Which Budgeting Platform Is Best in 2023?

Empower (Personal Capital) vs Mint – There’s a Clear Winner

Empower (Personal Capital) vs Mint – There’s a Clear Winner

Empower vs. Betterment Robo-Advisor Comparison

Empower vs. Betterment Robo-Advisor Comparison

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS brings decades of finance and investing experience to Robo-advisor Pros. She is a former investment portfolio manager and taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Barbara Friedberg's published work includes Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management (Greenwood Press), Invest and Beat the Pros-Create and Manage a Successful Investment Portfolio and How to Get Rich; Without Winning the Lottery. Follow her on twitter