Can I invest in an individual stock or fund (ie., S&P 500 index or Apple)?

No, you cannot invest in an individual stock or fund at Betterment. We aim to invest in a globally-diversified portfolio (which includes over 5,000 companies) made up of low-cost and liquid ETFs. The portfolio was chosen to help provide optimal returns at every level of risk, and is rebalanced as the market fluctuates and as you grow closer to your goal’s end date, if you have a time horizon set.

We believe in passive investing. The majority of the evidence shows that active management, whether by individual investors or fund managers, can cause more harm than good in net-of-fee returns. This is why we invest in low-cost, passive investments and seek to match the market’s performance.

We do offer some alternatives to the Betterment Portfolio, including strategies for those interested in socially responsible investing, targeting income generation, quantitative factor investing, and value tilt investing. Each portfolio is available at the individual goal level, and adjusts its recommended allocation or target income based on your preferences and time horizon. You can have multiple portfolio strategies within your Betterment account, tailored for your different financial goals.

For our advanced investors, the most customization we offer are flexible portfolios, which allow you to adjust the weight of each asset class within the Betterment Portfolio.