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7+ Hybrid Robo-Advisors With Human Touch And Digital Investment Advice

Last Updated on March 22, 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

There’s a Hybrid Robo-Advisor for All

Let’s face it, the idea of turning one’s finances over to a robo-advisor is nerve-wracking for some. In fact, you might be skeptical about hiring a totally automated investment manager and would prefer a hybrid robo-advisor with human advisor access.

If you want a digital investment advisor with a human touch, you’re not alone. Hybrid robo-advisors are gaining in popularity.


*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.

The Joy of Robo-Advisors

There’s no denying that robo-advisors are helping people make good investment choices. In fact, robo investing might trump investing with traditional financial planners.

Often, robo-advisors are more affordable than their human counterparts, and offer 24/7 service for a fraction of the cost of a traditional advisor. Since robo-advisors are effective on their own, it may not be immediately clear why anyone would care about a hybrid robo-advisor with human financial advisor.

Bonus: Lowest Fee Robo-Advisors

Yet, if you’re experiencing uncertainty or financial concerns there is comfort in having someone to talk to. And since financial markets fluctuate, these stressful, uncertain moments could come up a lot!

The solution: consider investing in one of these 7+ hybrid robo-advisors with access to human advisors. Doing so combines the sophisticated investment algorithms of the robo-advisor with the human touch so many of us crave.

List of Hybrid Robo Advisors with Human Financial Planners

  1. Empower – Best for High Net Worth
  2. Betterment – Best for Goal Based Investors
  3. SoFi Automated Investing – Best for Cost Conscious Investors
  4. Ellevest – Best for Women
  5. SigFig – Best for Basic Financial Advice
  6. TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios – Best for Active Portfolios (closed to new investors)
  7. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services – Best for Financial Coaching

7 Hybrid Robo-Advisors With a Human Touch

1. Empower (formerly Personal Capital)

Empower (Personal Capital) helps investors with a dedicated Certified Financial Planner for each of their clients. Although the basic level of financial service is free. The paid service provides a full slate of investment, retirement and financial management services.


Empower helps clients by guiding them toward smart asset allocation and investment choices. The platform looks long-term and bases recommendations on all of a client’s investments, even those not managed by Empower, so users receive customized advice.

Empower provides tax-loss harvesting, retirement accounts and planning along with net worth calculations and spectacular free investment management and retirement planning software. Clients using the free software have access to automated investment analysis, while paid clients have a dedicated financial advisor and investment management services.

The Empower Wealth Management paid service offers individual stocks as well as ETF investing. The investment approach encompasses an equal sector-weight approach with asset allocation in line with your risk comfort level.

Empower offers access to a dedicated financial planner for clients with a minimum balance of $100,000. Fees begin at .89% for the first $3 million, and drop in increments. For accounts over $10,000,000, fees are .49% AUM.

Although this fee is higher than several other robo-advisors, it’s lower than the 1.00% to 1.40% fees of many financial advisors.

Sign up for the Empower Dashboard – free investment tracking and management tools or Advisory Services.

Read: Empower Review

2. Betterment

Betterment is a hybrid robo-advisor that allows clients to set up multiple goals and offers smart beta, income and crypto portfolios as well.

Betterment offers a few different account types, each with their own fee structures. Betterment Digital, which is the basic account, charges only 0.25% AUM for accounts worth $20,000 or more. Smaller accounts, less than $20,000 will pay $4.00 per month or the 0.25% AUM if you set up a $250 monthly auto deposit.

For ongoing financial advisor access, Betterment Premium ($100,000 minimum, 0.40% AUM) offers unlimited access to their Certified Financial Planners.

Digital clients who would prefer to chat in depth with a financial advisor, can sign up for one of several, goals-based, low fee Betterment financial planning packages:

  • Getting Started Package – Designed for new investors who want a call with a financial planner and help setting up their account.
  • Financial Checkup Package – Gives investors a 60-minute call with a Certified Financial Planner to review client investments and make recommendations.
  • College Planning Package – Ideal for new parents to get their college planning and saving on the right track and includes a 60-minute call with a Certified Financial Planner.
  • Marriage Planning Package – For couples who need help with budgeting, planning and financial management. This package includes two 45-minute calls. The first 45 – minute call helps the couple set up their finances. The second call, six months later is a check-up and review. Fee
  • Retirement Planning Package – This package reviews all client financial accounts and guides clients towards retirement-readiness. In addition to a 60-minute call with a CFP, the investors receive one month of free email access to Betterment financial experts for follow-up questions and advice.

Betterment also offers all clients access to various types of investment portfolios, high yield cash accounts and fee-free ATMs, through partner banks.

Read: Betterment Review

3. SoFi Automated Investing

The SoFi Invest portal offers a suite of investment offers including the SoFi Automated Investing robo-advisor.

There’s a lot to like at SoFi including zero investment management fees, $1 minimum investment amount, and financial consultants. This hybrid robo-advisor is unique in its fee-free access to financial consultants.

The SoFi Automated Investing platform uses a goal planning approach along with a diversified slate of investments. Like the typical robo, SoFi sets up your portfolio after understanding your investment goals, age and risk tolerance levels.

Like many of the other hybrid robos SoFi also offers a high yield fee-free savings account.

One drawback of the SoFi hybrid robo is that they only offer individual, joint and IRA accounts. While Betterment, Empower and Schwab offer greater account selection.

If you’re already a SoFi customer and participate in their lending programs, you’re a good candidate for the investing offers.

Although SoFi Invest is a newer entrant into the robo-advisory field, it’s come out with a very competitive offer.

Read: SoFi Invest Review

Robo-Advisors with Human Financial Planner Access

Robo AdvisorManagement FeeInvestment Minimum
Betterment logoDigital: 0.25% of AUM for accounts worth more than $20,000 | $4.00 for accounts worth less than $20,000 | Premiun: 0.40% AUM Digital None - $10 to start investing | Premium: $100,000Sign up
zero for free tools - 0.89% - 0.49% AUMzero for free tools - $100,000 for asset managementSign up
None$1.00Sign up
0.25% of AUM ($10,000 managed for free)$2,000Sign up
schwab intelligent portfolios logoBasic-None Premium-$30/month ($300 set up fee)$5,000Sign up
ellevest logo$5-$9 per month NoneSign up

4. Ellevest

The Ellevest robo-advisor targets women investors but is actually appropriate for all. Ellevest Membership offers accessible money management, banking, and financial education, starting at $5 per month.

Additional Ellevest distinguishing features include conservative financial scenario projections that account for realities such as taxes and fees, down markets, and other factors. Ellevest builds layers of conservatism into their projections.

Ellevest members get a personalized investment plan with no minimum investment amount required!

Ellevest is known for top notch learning resources including on demand email courses, live workshops, and progress reports to keep you on track.

Their subscription model costs from $5 to $9 per month, depending upon service levels.

Each subscriber has access to discounted financial advisor (and career coaching) sessions.

Ellevest’s asset classes and available investment funds are among the most extensive with unique ETFs such as value equity funds and global bond funds.

Read: Ellevest Review

5. SigFig 

SigFig focuses on helping clients make the best choices about their existing portfolios. SigFig provides investment tracking in Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity accounts. This robo-advisor works by analyzing data and science to track and analyze investments.

All SigFig clients get unlimited access to human financial advisors, who can be reached by email, live chat, phone, or through appointment. These financial experts can help provide investment advice, which complements SigFig’s access to portfolios with diversified ETFs, retirement accounts, and stock and bond funds. Another positive for SigFig is the opportunity to have the company manage your funds while they remain in your existing Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade accounts.

SigFig offers Asset Management Service is available to customers with a minimum $2,000 opening balance; this service is free up to $10,000. After that, they charge 0.25% AUM.

Read: SigFig Review

6. TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios

The Td Ameritrade Selective Portfolios are closed to new investors. Interested individuals can check out other platforms on this list or go to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium.

The TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios option is the rebranding of Amerivest as a hybrid robo-advisor with a digital plus human advisor platform. 

The TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios hybrid robo-advisor is unique in that it offers a variety of types of investment portfolios including active and passively managed accounts. The management fees range from 0.55% to 0.90% of AUM and requires a $25,000 investment minimum.

TD Ameritrade, like Fidelity and Schwab, offers branch access which is handy for investors seeking face-to-face contact. Although, only the Selective Portfolios clients are eligible for in depth financial advisory advice.

If you’re already a TD Ameritrade customer, the hybrid Selective Portfolios might be worth consideration.

Schwab has recently acquired TD Ameritrade. The two companies are slowly integrating their services. To learn more about the merger, you can check out this web page.

7. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Heading up the list of Robo-Advisors with the Most AUM is Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services.

Hybrid Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is led by a human financial planner. The financial professional partners with the client to design, manage and rebalance unique investment portfolios based on each client’s needs and situation.

Vanguard requires a $50,000 minimum for their hybrid and has competitive pricing at 0.30% AUM fee for assets up to $5 million.

The Vanguard robo-advisor offers 2 investment options:

  1. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services – A robo-advisor that integrates computerized investment management with human financial advisor guidance.
  2. Vanguard Digital Advisor – This offering is similar to the traditional robo-advisors and provides investors with low-fee investment management driven by your risk level and goals. In addition to passively managed ETFs , Vanguard Digital Advisor offers actively managed investment funds.

Vanguard really hits it out of the park here with its combination of robo-advisor and human elements. This robo-advisor with human touch platform is actually driven by the client and advisor with the digital investing secondary.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services acknowledge that people make emotional decisions regarding their finances, and promise to help clients work around these emotions by providing consistent support and advice. If that means that you want to be as hands off as possible, that’s fine! You can also choose to be more involved in the process. This balance makes Vanguard Personal Advisor Services accessible for all types of investors.

Read: Vanguard Robo-Advisor Review

Additional Hybrid Robo-Advisors


Should I use a financial advisor or robo advisor?

Today, this isn’t an either or decision. These hybrid robo-advisors are great for those that want it all. Ultimately, all financial decisions boil down to what you need. Learn more about Robo-Advisors vs Financial Advisors in this article.

How much money can you make with robo-advisors?

Robo-advisor returns will approximate those of investments – in general. Investing has historically been a sound way to grow your wealth. Historically, stock market investing has averaged roughly 9% per year returns and bonds 5%. Just remember that those are averages and there are losing and winning years when investing in financial markets.
You will likely make money by investing with robo-advisors over the long term (5 to 7 years). Your returns will correspond with the asset classes of those investments within your portfolio.

Which Hybrid Robo-Advisor Plus Human Financial Advisor is Best?

For the most part, robo-advisors are designed to be self-run; however, having a robo-advisor with a human touch can certainly add value to an already impressive investment platform. Some of these advisors – such as SoFi Automated Investing– offer unlimited access to Certified Financial Planners, and fee-free investment management.

There’s never a perfect solution to investment management, and the best hybrid robo-advisor depends upon your personal circumstances. Our research and reporting strive to make your investment decisions easier.

Compare the options and choose the robo-advisor plus human financial advisor that fits your personal and financial needs.

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

Empower compensates Stocktrades Ltd (“Company”) for new leads. Stocktrades Ltd is not an investment client of Empower.

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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