Wealthfront vs. Betterment - A Plebian's Perspective - Signing Up

Signing Up for Wealthfront and Betterment

Day 1

I've now signed up for both Betterment and Wealthfront robo-advisor services. I setup both accounts to be a joint account with my wife. There were a few hurdles along the way, mostly with one company over another, I'll point those out as I outline the process.

Sign Up - Wealthfront

The process was incredibly easy. I signed up via a referral link to get the additional $5,000 in freely managed assets. (Feel free to use mine) Put in the essential information, set my risk tolerance and funded the account and I was on my way. In both cases, the thing that disappointed me most was the lack of "instant" funding. I use an ally.com account, but neither company supported instant account linking and fell back to the traditional wait-two-days method of placing and removing two deposits.

Biggest A+ on this sign up process was the joint account setup. I just had to add my wife critical details and we were on our way. Once the account was funded we hit the ground running. In my case, I went for a risk tolerance of 8.5.

This seems to translate to about 85% stock related investments and 15% fixed income investments. Seems pretty good, I look forward to seeing the performance over the next few months.

Sign Up - Betterment

Betterment's process for signing up was very similar to that of Wealthfront. They ask for the core details, have you set a goal (or goals) and have you fund your account. Again, no support for instant account linking or funding for ally.com which was a little disappointing. Again, I signed up, set my target/risk tolerance, and you'll see that the summary page view of this looks very similar.

Two complaints here, maybe I signed up wrong, but when I setup my betterment account, there was no option to fluently setup a joint account with my wife. I first had to setup an account individually, then invite my wife to create her own Betterment account, then setup a joint account together. After that, I had to re-link the bank account I had started to link. Not only that but the joint account didn't receive my sign up benefits of the free 90 days as they were "applied" to the individual account during the sign up process. This could stand to be cleaned up, but, after some conversations with customer service I was able to get to the end goal.

Next Steps

Now that the accounts are funded, my intent is to start taking advantage of some of the additional features that each company provides. To start, I plan to setup a recurring deposit of 100$ a month into each account just to get the most out of the experiment. I'll post about performance, ease of use and other features.

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