What is the difference between a goal and an account?

We want to help you create a personalized financial plan based on your investment goals. In each of your taxable legal accounts, you can set multiple goals with different timeframes and target amounts.

A legal account is like an umbrella that holds multiple goals. Account numbers are usually assigned to the legal account itself.

A Betterment goal is a specific financial target set within a legal account. It's a clear aim for allocating funds, each with its own investment strategy.

In short, a legal account can have many goals, while a Betterment goal is a specific target within that account.

Legal Account Types

  • Personal Taxable Account
      • Stocks & Bonds goals
      • Crypto goals
      • Optum HSA
      • Cash Reserve
      • Can contain multiple goals
  • Joint Taxable Account
      • Stocks & Bonds goals
      • Cash Reserve
      • Can contain multiple goals
  • Trust Taxable Account
      • Stocks & Bonds goals
      • Cash Reserve
      • Can contain multiple goals
  • IRA
      • Traditional IRA
      • Roth IRA
      • SEP IRA
      • Inherited Traditional IRA
      • Inherited Roth IRA
  • Betterment at Work 401(k)
      • Betterment at Work Traditional 401(k)
      • Betterment at Work Roth 401(k)
      • Student Loan Management
      • 529 Plan
  • Individual Betterment Checking
  • Joint Betterment Checking

Learn about the different tax treatments of various legal accounts.

Taxable Goal Types

Taxable accounts do not have any contribution limits or income restrictions. You can contribute to and withdraw from a taxable account at any time.

  • Retirement Savings—for those saving for retirement.
  • Retirement Income—for retirees potentially making withdrawals.
  • Emergency Fund—for growing an emergency fund.
  • Major Purchase—for a specific future expense, such as a house or vacation.
  • General Investing—for investing for the future but with no set time horizon.
  • Cash Reserve—a short-term, interest-bearing cash account.
  • Betterment Checking—a mobile-first checking account and Visa® Debit Card for your daily spending.