Wealthfront vs Betterment - A Plebian's Perspecitve - Two Year Update

Well, it's been two years now, so I figure an update is in order. Last year I divested from Betterment and consolidated all of my assets into Wealthfront. Additionally, I've moved IRAs and such into Wealthfront. I'm completely happy with the service and the idea of no longer constantly monitor stocks for trades is quite nice.

So there it is, the money-weighted return for two years is 42.91%! Pretty stellar, granted again, we're riding the market wave, I'll take it!

If any of this information (or previous posts) helps you out, please use my referral link, it helps us both! Wealthfront


Wealthfront vs Betterment - A Plebian's Perspecitve - Nine Month Update

Well, we're just past 9 months into this experiment and things are going well. It helps that the markets are at an all-time high, but the diversification helps with growth overall so my eggs aren't all in one basket. Here's where I stand today:

Wealthfront Progress

Pretty darn good! 20.8% weighted return is pretty awesome. Again, this is aided by the market hike as of late, but I couldn't be happier.

Betterment Progress

Not bad! It's clearly lagging behind a bit, but still very good. At the 12 month mark, I'll decide if I want to keep both accounts or consolidate to one account.


Nothing significant changed at this point. I still think I prefer Wealthfront to Betterment, but both are quality services. If you find my information helpful, I would appreciate the referrals for either Wealthfront or Betterment.


Time Lapses of Hikes

With this post, I'm going to start sharing all the time lapses of the hikes I've created. I'll start sharing more and more as time goes on, but I thought I'd start with the two I've done most recently. I hope you enjoy!

Horsetooth Falls & Rock - AllTrails Link

Gear: GoPro Hero3 + GoPro Head Strap

Gregory Canyon & Flagstaff Trail - AllTrails Link

Gear: GoPro Hero3 + GoPro QuickClip

Enchanted Mesa - AllTrails Link

Gear: GoPro Hero3 + Black Pro Chest Strap


Wealthfront vs Betterment - A Plebian's Perspecitve - Six Month Update

I'm well past due for an update on the progress of my accounts. Here's the update so far. I am really loving the set and forget attitude of not having to follow my accounts daily. I still check up on them weekly, but the impact of dips in the market seem lower. People complain about huge hits and it doesn't seem nearly as bad.

Wealthfront Progress

Betterment Progress


I'm extremely satisfied with the progress in both accounts. However, it's clear thus far that Wealthfront has performed better. I've managed to get one additional friend to sign up with Wealthfront (and contribute to their account), netting me an extra $5,000 of free advisory fees. So far, so good. I'll probably update again in another 3 months and keep a close watch on how things go.


2016 PC Build

New Gaming Rig

After several years of not building a new computer, I've gone ahead and invested time in money into a quality computer. In the past, I've spent  most my focus on the CPU and budgeted against the GPU. This time around, I did contribute greatly to the CPU, but I decided it was time to buy a almost-current generation GPU instead of a few generations behind in cost savings. Already I've seen it pay off playing Overwatch which has jumped from low HD graphics settings to ultra settings.

Rig Details

CPU Cooling: Corsair H50

The Build


Wealthfront vs Betterment - A Plebian's Perspecitve - Three Month Update

It's now been about 3 months since I started down the path of testing both Wealthfront and Betterment. We're two months into adding the recurring deposits of 100$/month into both accounts.

Notable Change

Originally, my betterment account was set at 70/30 with a less aggressive portfolio, where as my Wealthfront account was created with a 8.5 risk tolerance. With the assumption that 8.5 in Wealthfront equates to a 85/15 split on Betterment, I have modified so that they are both sitting at the same risk level for apples-to-apples comparison.

Wealthfront Progress

As you can see, progress is good. I attribute a good portion of this to the market recovery that has taken place over the last 2-3 months. I look forward to seeing how this progresses over the next 3, 6, 9, 12 months. I'm still hoping to get some referrals and I do plan to actually move my Roth IRA over from Scottrade to Wealthfront. I've been impressed enough to move more assets.

Betterment Progress

Again, you can see that Betterment has made solid progress over the last three months. It hasn't been quite as strong as Wealthfront, but still solid gains. I attribute this (at this point) to the difference in being allocated at 70/30 to start instead of 85/15. I don't know that that accounts for all differences, but I will let time determine the real outcomes.

3 Month Impressions

I'm 3 months deep now and my biggest pleasure is that I haven't had to do all that much. In fact, I've found myself checking the websites checking balances less and less. This is exactly what I was hoping for. I was trying to explain the differences between Wealthfront and Betterment to a friend who was interested in getting more information. Both are solid choices, and, as described in other places, it's clear that Wealthfront has lower advisory fees if you are holding below $100,000 and Betterment is lower once you break the $100,000 barrier. That being said. I would currently describe Wealthfront as the iPhone and Betterment as the Android. Both are full featured, both provide similar services and outcomes. Wealthfront has less to get you distracted and focuses on the purpose. I'll continue to post my reactions as time progresses.

Again, I would greatly appreciate your referral if you decide to use either service and find my experiences helpful.


Wealthfront vs. Betterment - A Plebian's Perspective - First Experiences

First Experiences

I've now been enrolled in Betterment and Wealthfront for just over two weeks. Each account was funded with $7,500 and no additional investments were added at this time. Here's how we stand.



At this point, neither account has provided any tax loss harvesting. I'm not sure why, probably due to the short duration, so I'm interested to keep an eye on that. As you can see, both have had positive movement. Partially because the time of creation the market was in a dip, so I will keep an eye on this over time. Starting today, I will add $100 per account every month.

Again, I would greatly appreciate your referral if you decide to use either service.

Wealthfront Referral | Betterment Referral

First Glance Pros and Cons

Betterment Pro

External Account Linking - I haven't explored this feature fully just yet, but it claims it can give better advice.

Wealthfront Pro

The Landing Page - I find this landing page to be the most appealing of the two sites. Right up front it contains everything I'm looking for in a clean format. Current Balance, Performance Chart and Holdings Distribution. It's to the point and provides value.

Betterment Con

Email Volume - I'm not sure if I have the ability quite yet to unsubscribe, but I feel like I'm getting a lot more communications from Betterment than I am from Wealthfront. A few of them I've read, but it's starting to get the the point of deleting without reading. I signed up for a "set and forget" robo-advisor for a reason, I don't want to be overwhelmed by communication.

Wealthfront Con

Quite Frankly, none. I find this service appealing. Right now, because I'm under the $15,000 threshold it will remain free. If, some day, I had $100,000+ invested, then the cost ratio of Betterment takes over, but right now Wealthfront is my clear favorite.