Fidelity vs Vanguard Robo-Advisors – Which is Best for You?

fidelity vs vanguard logos

Both Fidelity and Vanguard offer two robo-advisor choices each – an all digital and a hybrid model with financial advisors and digital investment management.

Fidelity Go is the all digital offer while Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice offers financial coaching and computerized management.

Vanguard’s robo-advisors – Digital Advisor and Personal Advisor Services also serve clients seeking no frills digital investment management as well as those seeking a hybrid plan with advisors.

*This article contains affiliate links to help pay for this website. That said, our reviews are held to the highest standards of honesty.

Fidelity and Vanguard are two of the biggest finance and investment firms. That said, you’ll find enough distinctions between their robo investing offers to make your decision clear.

Both of these robo-advisors come with reasonable account management fees, though their minimum investment requirements might surprise you.

With a growing number of digital investment managers, narrowing down your choice can be a challenge. Here, you’ll get comparisons between each platform, first the plain vanilla all-digital services, and next, the hybrids with digital plus financial advisors.

What are the Vanguard Robo Advisors?

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a large human-supported robo-advisor, with over $161 billion assets under management in their robo-advisor alone! This hybrid robo-advisor is part of the Vanguard family, the financial giant with a myriad of financial products and services. This robo-advisor uses human financial advisors to support the investment process.

The Vanguard Digital Advisor is among the most basic robos on the market. The plan includes only four Vanguard index funds, and has a retirement planning focus. Although, the 0.15% management fee is reasonable.

Consider that SoFI Automated Investing and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios each offer fee-free investment management and greater diversification for their platforms.

 Vanguard Digital AdvisorVanguard Personal Advisor Services
OverviewComputerized investment investment advisor.Hybrid human financial planners and digital investment management.
Minimum Investment Amount$3,000$50,000
Fee StructureDigital Advisor-0.15% of AUM0.30% AUM on assets up to $5 million
0.20% AUM on assets between $5-10 million
0.10% AUM on assets between $10-25 million
0.05% AUM on assets over $25 million.
Top FeaturesLow-fee Vanguard ETFs. Retirement planning focus. Considers all investments.
Rebalancing.
Personal Advisor-Human financial advisor drives the entire process. Together, you and the advisor create a customized investment plan.
Free ServicesExtensive educational resourcesExtensive educational resources
Contact & Investing AdvicePhone M - F 8:00 am to 7:00 pm EST
No financial advisors for Digital clients.
Phone M - F 8:00 am to 7:00 pm EST
Human financial advisor guides the process.
Investment Funds4 Vanguard stock and bond funds
Diversified mix of low fee stock and bond funds
Accounts AvailableIndividual & joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP, Simple & rollover IRAs. Trusts. Individual & joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP, Simple & rollover IRAs. Trusts. 

What is Fidelity Go and Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice?

You may already be familiar with Fidelity Investments, the large brokerage firm that boasts many financial products such as wealth management services, mutual funds, and retirement services. Fidelity Go is the company’s robo-advisor – a low-fee automated investment manager that gives clients access to the range of Fidelity investments without a hefty price tag.

Fidelity Go accounts are managed by a team of Fidelity professionals with computerized algorithms, though they don’t offer one-on-one consultations with financial planners.

The Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice combines both digital investment advice with human advisor coaching.

 Fidelity GoPersonalized Planning and Advice
OverviewBasic digital investment managerHybrid - Digital with human advisor investment manager
Minimum Investment AmountZero$25,000
Fee Structure0-$10,000 free
$10,000-$49,999-$3 per month
Over $50,000-0.35% of AUM
0.50% AUM
Free ServicesFirst $10,000 managed for free. Mobile app and educational resources.Mobile app and educational resources.
Contact & Investing AdvicePhone-24/7 trained customer servcice reps. Secure email. Chat.
Phone-24/7 trained customer servcice reps. Secure email. Chat.
Investment FundsFee-free stock and bond mutual fundsDiversified mix of stock and bond funds. (not specified publicly)
Accounts AvailableIndividual & joint taxable investment accounts; Traditional, Roth & rollover IRAsIndividual & joint taxable investment accounts; Traditional, Roth & rollover IRAs

So, it makes sense to compare the the digital offers separately from the the hybrid models.

We’ll break it down simply.

First decide if you would like an all-digital platform.

Here’s a secret that applies to investing with an all digital platform at a big financial firm. Even though neither Fidelity nor Vanguards’ basic robos offer financial advisors within the platform, their customer service reps are well trained and can frequently answer basic financial questions.

Next, we’ll examine the similarities and differences between Fidelity Go and Vanguard Digital Advisors, the basic services.

Top Robo-Advisors

Robo AdvisorManagement FeeInvestment Minimum
m1 finance image
M1 Finance
None$100Sign up
Betterment logo0.25% of AUM (free managment promo)NoneSign up
wealthfront review logo
Wealthfront
0.25% of AUM ($5,000 managed for free)$500Sign up
None$1.00Sign up
ellevest logo$1-$9 per month NoneSign up
schwab intelligent portfolios logoBasic-None Premium-$30/month ($300 set up fee)$5,000Sign up

Fidelity Go vs Vanguard Digital Advisors

Fees and Minimums

Winner: For small investors, Fidelity Go is best with zero minimum and free management up to $10,000. Above $10,000, Vanguard’s fees are lower.

The minimum winner is Fidelity.

Fidelity

Fidelity Go is good for small investors with free investment management up to $10,000 and no minimum amount to get started.

As the assets grow, fees become more of an issue:

  • $0-$9,999 free
  • $10,000-$49,999 – $3 per month
  • Over $50,000 – 0.35% of AUM
  • Fidelity Go doesn’t have a minimum investment amount requirement, although you’ll need at least $10 to get started.

Vanguard

Vanguard Digital Advisors requires $3,000 to get started.

The investment management fee is 0.15% of AUM. After the first $10,000 invested, the 0.15% AUM fee is significantly lower than the Fidelity Go pricing.

An $11,000 investment with Vanguard Digital would cost $16.50 per year, versus $36 annually at Fidelity Go.

Although Schwab Intelligent Advisors and SoFi Automated Investing robos dosn’t charge management fees, for any account size. (But Schwab has a $5,000 minimum).

While the combined robo-advisor and stock and fund investing platform, M1 Finance doesn’t charge management fees and has a $100 minimum.

Investment Funds

Winner: Fidelity Go

Fidelity

Fidelity Go investor portfolios include approximately seven diversified funds. We like that muni bonds are available for taxable accounts. This platform also includes a mid- and small-cap fund for extra diversification.

There is no comparison between the two when it comes to investments, Fidelity Go offers broader diversification.

SectorFidelity Investment FundTicker Symbol
U.S. Large-Cap StocksFidelity Flex 500 IndexFDFIX
U.S. Mid-Cap StocksFidelity Flex Mid-Cap Index FundFLAPX
U.S. Small-Cap StocksFidelity Flex Small-Cap Index FundFLXSX
Foreign StocksFidelity Flex International Index FundFITFX
Municipal BondsFidelity Flex Municipal Income FundFUENX
Short-Term Municipal BondsFidelity Flex Cons. Income Municipal Bond FundFUEMX
Short-Term CashFidelity Government Cash ReservesFDRXX

Vanguard

Vanguard offers four diversified index funds:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF
  • Vanguard International Stock Market Index ETF
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF
  • Vanguard International Bond Market Index ETF

This is a well diversified list of low fee index funds and is more than adequate. Although, investors seeking municipal bonds or small- and medium-cap stock funds, would be better served at Fidelity.

Features

Winner: Fidelity Go

Both platforms offer periodic rebalancing, a mainstay of all robo-advisors. This means that when the investors asset allocation or mix deviates from their initial preferences, the platform buys or sells specific assets to return the investment percentages to the users specifications.

While, neither platform offers tax-loss harvesting.

Fidelity Go

Like most robo investing, users answer a few questions related to their goals and risk tolerance. Then a diversified investment portfolio is presented, designed to meet those goals.

The platform offers:

  • Investments and portolios selected by Fidelity investment professionals who monitor the financial markets and adjust the strategy, when needed.
  • Zero-fee Fidelity flex funds and low management fees keep costs low, allowing more client dollars to go directly into the investment markets.
  • Target Tracking – Investors choose a dollar amount for the portfolio to reach by a certain date. Next, Fidelity Go calculates the possibility of reaching the goal. If it seems as though he or she won’t reach the goal, they will offer alternatives, to help reach the goal.
  • Annual strategic review – This check-in ensures that your asset allocation matches up with your goals.

Vanguard

Vanguard Digital is very basic and at present is focused on investing for retirement. (More features are expected in the future.) The user also answers a few basic planning and risk questions, to drive the portfolio construction.

Then Vanguard creates a recommended platform, in line with the investors timeline and risk tolerance. There will be various percentages of each of the four funds.

The platform is a secondary offering to the more comprehensive Personal Advisor Services.

Vanguard Digital or Fidelity Go-Which is the Better Robo Advisor?

Each of the platforms is okay. But there are better all-digital robo advisors available.

Between these two, we prefer Fidelity Go due to the broader diversified funds and features. Although Vanguard is well regarded, the Fidelity platform is more comprehensive. If users need other services, like individual stock investing, research, screening and educational information, we prefer Fidelity.

That said, there are free robo-advisors available. And for an all digital robo, we like Wealthfront or Betterment as well, since robo investing is their primary business.

Next, we’ll explore the hybrid robo advisor offerings at Fidelity and Vanguard.

Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

The digital advice trend is leaning toward the hybrid robo-advisor model, that combines digital investment management and access to human financial planners.

Most of the big financial firms are offering these blended investment services. Vanguard is the largest as measured by AUM, yet there’s more to the investment manager choice than size.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs. Fidelity Personalized Planning – Top Features

 Vanguard Personal Advisor ServicesFidelity Personalized Planning
OverviewHybrid human financial planners and digital investment management.Financial coaching and multi-goal digital investing.
Minimum Investment Amount$50,000$25,000.
Fee Structure0.30% AUM on assets up to $5 million 0.20% AUM on assets between $5-10 million 0.10% AUM on assets between $10-25 million 0.05% AUM on assets over $25 million.0.50%
Top FeaturesThe human financial advisor drives the entire process. Together, you and the advisor create a customized investment plan.Financial coaching and access to broad Fidelity products and services.
Contact & Investing AdvicePhone M – F 8:00 am to 7:00 pm EST. Scheduled visits with financial advisor.Phone 24/7 trained financial consultants. Live chat, secure email. Scheduled visits with financial coach.
Investment FundsLow fee stock & bond mutual funds and ETFs selected from among the scores of Vanguard funds.Diversified mix of fee-free Fidelity Flex mutual funds from stock and bond asset classes.
Accounts AvailableIndividual and joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP, Simple & rollover IRAs. Trusts.Single and joint taxable investment accounts. Roth, traditional, and rollover IRAs.

Fidelity Personalized Planning vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Fees and Minimums

Winner: It’s a tie. The minimum is lower at Fidelity and the fee is lower at Vanguard.

Fidelity

Fidelity is great for smaller investors seeking a hybrid model with a $25,000 minium.

Although, the 0.50% AUM fee is slightly higher than at Vanguard.

Vanguard

Vanguard requires $50,000 to begin investing with the Personal Advisor platform. Although, investors can include other Vanguard account balances to meet the $50,000 minimum requirement.

However, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services also offers a tiered fee structure, which makes it more appealing for wealthy investors. The fee structure is as follows:

  • 0.30% AUM for accounts up to $5 million
  • 0.20% AUM on accounts valued between $5-10 million
  • 0.10% AUM on accounts valued between $10-25 million
  • 0.05% AUM on accounts valued over $25 million

The 0.30% fee is quite competitive for the hybrid model.

Features and Strategy

Winner: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Fidelity

The Fidelity hybrid robo advisor is a digital investment manager with access to financial coaches as well as a wide range of financial planning tools and resources.

The process starts with an online quetionnaire where the investor chooses a primary goal; retirement, future goal, or big purchase (like a house). The goal must be at least 3 years away.

The questionaire asks for basic info including current age, income, expected retirement age and whether the client has a partner or not. Other questions include initial contribution and monthly contribution amount. Next the platform creates an asset allocation proposal:

This model is created for someone with a 6 (out of 10) risk tolerance score.

There’s also a graph outlining the likelihood of reaching the goal, including best, moderate, and worst case scenarios.

After the account is opened and funded, the client can schedule a coaching call. Although customer service representatives are available to discuss any questions or concerns, before opening the account.

Coaching sessions can be scheduled at any time.

The portfolio is professionally managed, monitored and rebalanced when necessary.

The platform doesn’t mention tax-loss harvesting.

Any additional festures, such as cash management, educational resources including research reports and fund screening are available through the Fidelity platform.

The 30 minute coaching sessions will focus on specific investing and finance questions. These sessions are supplemented with the Fidelity online planning tools and educational resources.

The Fidelity service doesn’t charge commissions and is compensated based upon aum.

We would prefer if potential clients could speak with a financial coach before funding the account.

Vanguard

The Vanguard Personal Advisor Services begins with a conversation between the investor and the financial planner. Together they craft a financial plan.

The portfolio typically includes Vanguard stock and bond ETFs and mutual funds, as well as other Vanguard funds, in accord with the client’s goals, financial situation and risk tolerance.

Investors can schedule appointments with their Vanguard financial advisor to discuss investing, tax consequences of their investments, estate planning and more.

Their strategies include analyzing the likelihood of reaching investment goals, similar to Fidelity. The platform can also help analyze “what if” scenarios.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services benefits from its combination of a robo-advisor with human financial planners. Clients may have to make a larger initial investment, but the personalized service available is a huge boon for this robo.

Vanguard clients with under $500,000 in their accounts will have access to a team of advisors, while those with more than $500,000 will have a personal financial advisor dedicated to their portfolio.

Tax-loss harvesting is available on a case-by-case basis. Since Vanguard Personal Advisor Services also has a lot of human oversight, this may be the most beneficial tax-loss harvesting model.

There are no trading commissions above the initial management fee and the financial advisor is a fiduciary. That means that he or she must act in the client’s best interest. The advisor is paid a salary and not commissions, based upon investing.

Fidelity Personalized Planning vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services-Which is the Better Hybrid Robo-Advisor?

In this analysis Vanguard Personal Advisor wins hand’s down.

The Vanguard hybrid model, with declining fees is more comprehensive with a more personal touch. We like that the planning process is driven by the financial advisor. We also appreciate the opportunity for tax-loss harvesting. This is an important feature for taxable accounts.

The sliding fee schedule at Vanguard is optimal for wealthier investors.

It appears as though the Fidelity coaches rely on more tools and online resources and less on the financial planning aspect of the service.

FAQ

Is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services worth it?

If you have at least $50,000 to invest, want personalized financial advice, and are looking forward to account management fees that drop as your portfolio grows, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is absolutely worth it. The robo-advisor hybrid has spent considerable time on their balance between automated services and hands-on, human-led portfolio management.

Which is better: Vanguard or Fidelity?

Both may offer great value for their account management fees, but Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is the better option if you’re looking for human financial advisor support. They offer a lot of customized support for very reasonable account management fees.
That being said, Fidelity Go offers a great value too: for accounts under $50,000, the most clients will pay is $3 per month in account management fees. They don’t offer the same level of one-on-one support, but they do have teams of financial professionals who oversee portfolios and assist the automated investment process.
Regarding the broader investment platforms, we prefer Fidelity overall as their investments, research, and tools are among the best.

Which robo-advisor is best?

The best robo-advisor is the one that best fits your needs. For a fee-free robo-advisor with financial advisors, we like SoFi Automated investing. Visit the platform now. But there are so many excellent robo-advisors from which to choose. Here’s a guide to the best robo-advisors.

Which Robo Advisor is Best – Wrap up

The reviews make it quite clear that we prefer the Fidelity Go digital robo advisor, over the Vanguard Digital offer. Fidelity Go offers greater diversity in a pure digital platform.

While we prefer the Vanguard Personal Advisor hybrid platform. Vanguard has a more engaged financial planner, who drives the investment process. Vanguard also offers tax-loss harvesting.

The tiered fee structure at Vanguard Personal Advisors is great for larger investors.

However, if 24/7 financial consultant phone support is important, then Fidelity is for you. This is very convenient. Additionally, the Fidelity reps are very qualified to tackle a range for financial questions as most Fidelity representatives have Series 7 securities licenses.

For investors who want some hands-on investment advice, but don’t want to pay an ongoing fee for a service they may not use often, Ellevest is a good option. They offer automated investing, with discounted financial planning sessions with human advisors so that clients only pay for what they use. Betterment digital also offers a computerized investment service, with the opportunity to text with financial advisors or pay per session for financial planning sessions.

In the last analysis, the best robo-advisor is the one that fits in with your needs and preferences.

Read the full Vanguard Robo-Advisors Review

Read the full Fidelity GO Review

Direct Access: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Digital Advisor

Direct Access: Fidelity Go and Personalized Planning

More Comparison Articles

M1 Finance vs. Robinhood

M1 Finance vs Vanguard

Betterment vs Wealthfront vs Vanguard

Wealthfront vs. Vanguard

Betterment vs Fidelity

Wealthfront vs Fidelity

*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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top