Robo Advisor Fees are Typically Lower than Those of Human Financial Advisors
Whether you’re still learning what robo-advisors have to offer or an experienced investor, you’re probably looking for low fee robo-advisors. The good news about robo-advisors is that with little to no overhead costs, the savings get passed directly to investors. This means that robo-advisors fees are lower than most traditional financial advisors.
So if you’re seeking investment management help, without paying a high fee, then a robo-advisor might be 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.
Still, not all robo-advisors have the same fee structures. While some robos offer zero management fee options, others have sliding scales depending on the value of the portfolio they manage. Then, there are the subscription-based fee models, with a standard fee structure for all investors. To make it easier for you to choose from the myriad options, we’ve compiled a list of robo-advisor fees from lowest to highest.
Most robo-advisor management fees are listed as a percentage of assets under management (AUM). So, if you invest $1,000 and the management fee is 0.25%, then you will pay $2.50 per year to have your money managed.
When choosing a robo advisor the fees are important but choosing the cheapest robo advisor should not be your sole path to your decision.
It’s also important to realize that when making a robo-advisor fee comparison there is a second layer of fees that are charged. In addition to the management expense ratio, you will also pay a small fee to the ETF company that manages the specific funds within your robo portfolio.
For example, most robo advisors fill their client portfolios with low fee exchange traded funds. These stock and bond ETF fund expense ratios usually range from 0.04% of assets managed for a vanilla S&P 500 index fund, up to 0.18% AUM for some international ETFs. This ratio will vary per robo and per portfolio and depends upon your specific asset allocation.
Fortunately, most robo-advisors select low fee ETFs to include in their portfolios. And for a complete robo advisor fee comparison, sign up for our robo-advisor comparison chart.
Use this robo-advisor fees comparison to understand the fee structure of the lowest fee robo-advisors. For a full list of all robo-advisors, visit our list of 35 robo advisors.
Use this data as part of your robo-advisor selection analysis. To help you make an informed choice, you’ll also see a brief overview of each robo-advisor, including minimum balances, the types of accounts available to investors, and whether or not you have access to a human financial planner.
15 Robo-Advisor Fees – Lowest to Highest
|M1 Finance||Zero account management fees. $95 per year for M1 Plus with added features.|
|SoFi Invest||Zero investment management fees.|
|Schwab Intelligent Portfolios||Schwab Intelligent Portfolios-Zero account management fees for. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium – One time $300 set up fee and $30 per month subscription fee, regardless of account value.|
|Ally Invest Managed Portfolios||Zero-portfolios with a minimum of 30% cash assets.|
.30% of AUM for portfolios with less than 30% cash.
Plus – $5 per month
Executive – $9 per month
|Empower||Zero fees for access to free investment management tracking & recommendations. Paid investment management charges graduated fees.|
|Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Digital Advisor||Digital Advisor – 0.20% of AUM|
Personal Advisor Services – 0.35% of AUM
|Wealthfront||Free cash promo for signups with this link. Fee for all account sizes is 0.25% AUM. Fee-free high yield cash account.|
|Betterment||Digital-0.25% AUM for accounts worth $25,000 or more, or those with a minimum of $250 auto deposit. $4 per month for accounts worth les than $20,000. Premium-0.40% AUM.|
|Axos Invest||0.24% AUM|
|SigFig||First $10,000-free.Greater than $10,000 0.25% of AUM for asset management service.|
|Fidelity Go||Up to $25,000-free investment management. Fee is 0.30% AUM $25,000 or more, includes financial coaches|
|E*Trade Core Portfolios||0.30% AUM|
|JP Morgan Automated Investing||0.35% AUM|
|Sustainfolio||0.50% AUM includes financial advisor access|
Robo-Advisor Fees – Features and Details
1. M1 Finance
Fee Structure: No account management fees.
Overview: With no account management fees, M1 Finance boasts some of the lowest fees around. This robo-advisor also has a very low entry point, with only a $100 minimum investment. Unlike other robo-advisors, M1 allows you to choose from thousands of types of investments or pre-made portfolios, including crypto. This makes M1 Finance an easy first choice for investors looking to test drive robo-advisors.
Advice and Account Types: While this robo-advisor doesn’t offer any financial advice options, users can create multiple accounts like IRAs, taxable accounts, and LLC business accounts.
Go directly to the M1 Finance Website
Read the M1 Finance Review
2. SoFi Invest
Fee Structure: So Fi Invest does not charge investment management or transaction fees.
Overview: As part of the SoFi family, SoFi Invest customers enjoy a free automated investment manager as well as access to a variety of lending products. The SoFi organization also hosts member gatherings in major cities. The related Stock Bits service provides individual stock investing as well.
Advice and Account Types: SoFi Invest offers financial advisor and career counselor access as part of it’s free investment management serice. Invesstors can sign up for individual and joint taxable accounts as well as traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs.
Visit the SoFi Invest Website
Read the SoFi Invest Review
3. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
Fee Structure: No account management fees.
Overview: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios builds your investment portfolio, based on your risk preferences, manages and rebalances your investments. As one of the largest robot investment platforms, this free robo-advisor does the investment management job efficiently. Taxable accounts valued at more than $50,000 are eligible for tax-loss harvesting as well.
Advice and Account Types: For quick questions you can stop by a branch, email, or phone a financial advisor representative. For in depth Certified Financial Planner access, the Schwab Intelligent Advisory option is available for a low subscription-based management fee (with $25,000 minimum account balance).
Read the Schwab Intelligent Investors Review
Go directly to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Website
4. Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
Fee Structure: There are zero management fees for all portolios that hold a minimum of 30% cash assets. If you prefer a smaller cash allotment, then you’ll pay the .30% AUM asset management fee.
Overview: The low $100 investment minimum makes Ally’s robo-advisor alluring. And the access to the Ally Bank services is another draw for this robo-advisor. The robo investing service is goals based and similar to the typical passively managed platforms. Ally also offers tax optimized investing and income portfolios.
Advice and Account Types: Ally Invest Managed Portfolios offers individual and joint investment accounts, Roth, traditional and rollover IRAs as well as custodial accounts. Invest advice is not available.
Read the Ally Invest Managed Portfolio Review
Go directly to the Ally Website
Fee Structure: Low fee subscription model.
- Plus – $5 per month
- Executive – $9 per month
All fee levels include discount access to financial advisors and career consultants.
Overview: Ellevest requires no minimum balance to get started. This robo-advisor is unique because it keeps the unique needs of women front and center. As a goals-based robo-advisor, Ellevest lets investors choose what financial goals their portfolios are targeting. Investors can also expect tax-minimization strategies.
Advice and Account Types: All members have access to discounted financial advisory and career consultants. The available accounts include taxable investment individual and joint brokerage accounts as well as Traditional and Roth IRAs.
Go Directly to the Ellevest Website
Read the Ellevest Review
Fee Structure: No fees for investment and portfolio management toolkit; sliding fee scale, such as 0.89% AUM for accounts between $1 mil-$3 mil to 0.49% AUM for accounts over $10 mil.
Overview: While Empower offers superb free financial tracking tools, their fees are higher than robo competitors for investment management. The fees decline as account values increase, which is great news for those with high-value portfolios. Their platform offers funds, individual stocks and bond investments. Empower Advisors requires a minimum $100,000 investment.
Advice and Account Types: The free investment tracking tools offer automated advice, but users who pay for investment management services can expect access to a human financial advisor. Investors can open investment accounts, IRAs, or trusts.
Go directly to the Empower Website
Read the Empower Review
7. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Digital Advisor – 0.20% of AUM
Personal Advisor Services – 0.35% of AUM
Overview: The Vanguard Digital platform is the all-digital platform. A classic algorithmic investment manager, with a variety of passive and/or actively-managed Vanguard funds. The minimum investment amount is $3,000.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services require a $50,000 minimum balance. Despite the high minimum, Vanguard is the robo- advisor with the most AUM. All accounts are driven by a financial advisor, first and digital investment advice (robo-advisor) is secondary. Accounts valued at over $500,000 get access to a dedicated personal financial advisor, while those below this cutoff have a team.
Advice and Account Types: In exchange for this high initial investment and middle-road fee structure, Vanguard Personal Advisors provides all investors with access to human financial advisors. Vanguard Digital customers can access trained customer service reps by phone. Vanguard’s menu of account types includes; individual & joint investment accounts, Roth, traditional, SEP, Simple & rollover IRAs. Trusts are available too.
Go directly to the Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Website
Fee Structure: Cash promo available for new users with this link. The Wealthfront expense ratio is 0.25% AUM for all accounts.
Overview: With a $500 minimum investment, Wealthfront is another robo-advisor that is accessible to investors at all wealth levels. Even after fees kick in, Wealthfront’s 0.25% fee places it near the top of our list of robo-advisors fees from lowest to highest. Wealthfront also offers a high yield cash account. All users have access to pre-made diversified portfolios, hundreds of additional ETFs for customization and fee-free stock and ETF trading.
Advice and Account Types: Wealthfront offers automated investing advice to help your financial planning. Their PATH digital financial advisor is the most comprehensive online questionnaire that we’ve seen among robo-advisors and strives to take the place of a human advisor. Users can also choose from accounts such as IRAs, 529 College Savings Plan accounts, and trusts. The Path investment advisor is a digital-computerized substitute for a human financial advisor.
Sign up below, for Free Cash promotion for new account holders:
Go directly to the Wealthfront Website
Read the Wealthfront Review
Fee Structure: Digital -0.25% AUM for accounts worth $25,000 or more, or those with a minimum of $250 auto deposit. $4 per month for accounts worth les than $20,000. Premium-0.40% AUM.
Overview: Betterment has no minimum required balance, and requires $10 to begin investing. Tax-loss harvesting and retirement planning are available (financial advisors are accessible for added fees). And Betterment has a wide range of diversified investment funds. The Betterment robo-advisor offers a several service plans so that users pay only for the features they want. They also offer a la carte financial planning packages, for reasonable fees.
Advice and Account Types: Investors who use the Premium plan will have access to human Certified Financial Planners, for 0.40% AUM management fee. Betterment offers investment, retirement and trust accounts.
Read the Betterment Review
Go directly to the Betterment Website
Fee Structure: 0.24% AUM for account balances over $500
Overview: Goal based robo advisors with many available asset classes. Tax-loss harvesting available. Member of the Ally Financial family.
Advice and Account Types: Digital investment advice only. Taxable investment accounts, Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, SEP-IRAs and retirement fund rollovers.
Read the Axos Invest Review
Visit the Axos Website
- Fee Structure: Free for the first $10,000
- Asset Management: 0.25% AUM for accounts valued over $10,000
- Diversified Income Portfolio: 0.50% AUM (for accounts valued at minimum $100,000)
Overview: SigFig manages funds held at Schwab, or Fidelity. SigFig regularly monitors and analyzes portfolios, and makes tax-efficient recommendations or rebalances according to optimal portfolio allocations. Investment minimums are $2,000 for Asset Management Services, and $100,000 for Diversified Income Services.
Advice and Account Types: Investors can also financial investment advice from human financial advisors. SigFig offers individual and joint investment accounts as well as Roth, traditional & rollover IRAs. They also offer trust accounts.
Read the SigFig Review
Go directly to the SigFig Website
12. Fidelity Go
Fee Structure: Up to $25,000-free investment management.
$25,000+ – 0.35% aum includes access to financial coaches.
Overview: With a zero investment minimum, $10 to begin investing and free management for accounts worth less than $25,000, this is a solid platform for new investors. Financial coaches for all with at least $25,000 is also a draw. Fidelity Go offers target tracking to make sure you are on-track for financial success. Populated with many fee-free Fidelity mutual funds, Fidelity Go is worth a look for those seeking low-cost investment services.
We also like the Fidelity platform with exceptional research reports, stock and fund trackers and other services for individual investors.
Advice and Account Types: The company provides 24/7 customer service. Those with more than $25,000 have access to financial coaching. Account types include single and joint taxable investment accounts, Roth, traditional, and rollover IRAs, and Health Savings Accounts.
Read the Fidelity Go Review
Go directly to the Fidelity Go Website
13. E*TRADE Core Portfolios
Fee Structure: 0.30% AUM
Overview: E*TRADE’s robo advisory offer to accompany their slate of self-directed investing resources. Thorough risk questionnaire and portfolios include low-fee ETFs. Investment options include Core, Socially Responsible and Smart Beta strategies.
Advice and account types: Phone and branch contact, where available. Individual and joint taxable accounts, Traditional, Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs.
Read the E*TRADE Core Portfolios Review
Go Directly to the E*TRADE Core Portfolios Website
14. JP Morgan Automated Investing
Fee Structure: 0.35% AUM
Overview: The JP Morgan Chase robo advisor is managed by the prestigious JP Morgan investing specialists and offers access to proprietary JP Morgan ETFs. The $500 minimum might be a stretch for beginning investors. This retirement-oriented robo-advisor is suitable for those who want access to a JP Morgan investment management product and an opportunity to integrate external accounts for planning purposes.
Advice and Account Types: Monday through Saturday phone customer service. Individual and joint brokerage accounts. Traditional, Roth and Rollover IRAs.
Read the JP Morgan Chase Robo Advisor Review
Go directly to the JP Morgan Automated Investing Website
Fee Structure: 0.50% includes digital ESG focused investment portfolios and financial advisor access
Overview: Sustainfolio is an ESG – only robo advisor. Sustainfolio only invests in funds that own shares in companies that have passed socially responsible investment criteria. The company hand-picks the investment funds based upon their adherence to SRI criteria as well as a low fund management fee structure. Investors can choose from a comprehensive ESG portfolio or select a portfolio with a sustainable focus that best suits their needs.
Advice and Account Types: All investors can access a financial advisor. Weekday phone customer service and email.
Read the Sustainfolio Review
Go directly to the Sustainfolio Website
How much does a robo-advisor cost?
There are two basic fees for robo-advisors. The first is the management fee which ranges from zero to roughly 0.89% of assets under management. This is significantly lower than the fees for typical human financial planners. Most of the mutual and exchange traded funds included in your investment portfolio have small fees paid to the fund company and range from 0.04% to 0.60%.
Are robo advisor fees worth it?
We believe the fees are definitely worth it. Most individuals don’t want to manage their own investments, as it requires research and time. For those investors, paying a small management fee is a reasonable expense for access to a well managed portfolio.
Are robo advisors good for beginners?
Absolutely! These platforms, especially those with low minimums and low management fees are ideal for beginning investors. You can get started investing with small amounts of money and begin to grow your money for the future. Platforms like SoFi and Betterment offer access to financial advisors too.
Robo-Advisor Fees Wrap Up: You Have Options!
There are robo-advisors available with a wide range of fee structures. While completely free robos may seem like the no-brainer decision, sometimes additional fees can mean additional services. Remember that the cheapest robo advisor isn’t always the right one for you for you.
Always weigh different criteria to decide which robo-advisor is best for you.
4 Questions to Choose a Robo-Advisor:
This list showed robo-advisor fees from lowest to highest and also included minimum balance requirements, account types, and whether access to human financial planners is possible. All of these are important features to consider before investing in a robo-advisor.
- M1 Finance Promotions
- Best Robo Advisors
- 8 Major Differences Between Robo Advisors
- Betterment vs Wealthfront vs Vanguard Comparison
- The Future of Robo Advisors
- Which Robo Advisors Offer Tax Loss Harvesting?
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 personally believe is valuable.
Disclosure: I have an account with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and M1 Finance. I have brokerage accounts with Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab.
*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.
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