Built on Nobel

prize-winning

research

The Betterment portfolio is a globally diversified mix of exchange-traded funds, chosen to help you earn better returns at various levels of risk. Read more about our selection methodology.

Invest in thousands of companies.

See a complete list of our stock ETFs and bond ETFs.

Stocks

U.S. Total Stock Market

U.S. Total Stock Market contains broad exposure to the historically strong long-term growth of the U.S. economy.

U.S. Large-Cap Value Stocks

U.S. large-cap Value stocks overlap with the U.S. Total Stock Market, but are included to tilt the portfolio toward large-size companies with low price-to-earnings ratios.

U.S. Mid-Cap Value Stocks

U.S. mid-cap Value stocks overlap with the U.S. Total Stock Market, but are included to tilt the portfolio toward medium-size companies with low price-to-earnings ratios.

U.S. Small-Cap Value Stocks

U.S. small-cap Value stocks overlap with the U.S. Total Stock Market, but are included to tilt the portfolio toward small-size companies with low price-to-earnings ratios.

International Developed Stocks

Developed Markets stocks provide exposure to a diverse set of companies from international developed economies including the UK, Europe, Japan, and others.

Emerging Market Stocks

Emerging Markets provide higher return potential and diversification, but they come with higher risk compared to U.S. or International Developed stocks.

Bonds

Short-Term Treasuries

This extremely low-risk asset class is a cash alternative that generates nominal benefit through interest payments, and de-risks the portfolio at safer allocations.

Inflation Protected Bonds

This allocation serves to insulate a part of the portfolio from the depreciating effects of inflation while also having historically low correlation with other asset classes.

U.S. High Quality or Municipal Bonds

For fixed income with slightly higher risk and returns than U.S. Treasuries, taxable accounts use Municipals and IRA and 401(k) accounts use U.S. High Quality bonds.

U.S. Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds generally offer attractive yields and opportunity for capital appreciation to compensate investors for default risk.

International Bonds

International Bonds have high credit quality and provide interest rate diversification for a bond portfolio, resulting in higher risk-adjusted returns.

Emerging Markets Bonds

Emerging Markets Bonds are dollar-denominated bonds issued by governments with economies that are rapidly growing and industrializing.

Low Costs

Expense ratios well below the industry average.

Low Taxes

Funds that are typically the most tax-efficient.

Optimal Risk

Exposure across domestic and international markets.

Allocate assets for optimal performance.

How your money is spread across stocks and bonds can impact your long-term returns. We'll recommend how much risk to take on based on when you'll need your money.

Invest across the world.

Your Betterment portfolio can benefit from growth in both developed and emerging markets, so you're less exposed to the economy of any one country. Learn more.

Historically better results.

Betterment would have outperformed the average private client investor in almost all periods over the last decade. Learn more about how we determined this.

We offer a range of differentiated portfolio strategies

We offer a variety of portfolios to help ensure we have one that is personalized to your needs. While most of our customers invest in the Betterment portfolio, we also offer additional strategies for those interested in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), target income-generation, and smart beta that attempts to outperform the market. Each portfolio is available at the individual goal level, and adjusts its allocation or target income based on your situation and time horizon.

Betterment SRI

Betterment’s socially responsible investing (SRI) portfolio aims to maintain the diversified, low-fee approach of Betterment’s portfolio while increasing exposure to companies that meet SRI criteria.

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Goldman Sachs Smart Beta

Goldman Sachs Smart Beta portfolios seek to outperform the market while maintaining a diversified portfolio at a low cost.1 In addition to traditional passive funds, these portfolios can use Goldman’s ActiveBeta™ equity and Access Fixed Income funds, a suite of next generation ETFs designed to deliver stronger risk adjusted returns relative to traditional index products.

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BlackRock Target Income

The BlackRock Target Income portfolios are designed for investors seeking a low risk alternative to the Betterment portfolio. This is a 100% bond portfolio with different income targets that seeks to provide steady income with low risk.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ETF?

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets just like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. Betterment uses ETFs in both our stock and bond portfolios because of the liquidity, diversification, and low management fees they offer. Read more.

Will a taxable portfolio be different from a non-taxable portfolio?

Yes—We distinguish between taxable and retirement accounts when allocating bonds for additional optimization. Taxable accounts generally hold federally tax-exempt municipal bonds, providing portfolios more favorable after-tax return. Tax advantaged retirement accounts generally maintain exposure to U.S. investment-grade bonds.

Will my Betterment portfolio be globally diversified?

Yes—By using the world's markets as its baseline, the Betterment portfolio diversifies risk on a number of levels including currency, interest rates, credit risk, monetary policy, and economic growth country by country. As economic circumstances may drag down one nation, global diversification helps decrease the risk that one geographic area alone will drag down your portfolio. Read more.

Can my Betterment portfolio decrease in value?

Yes—Far from unusual, downturns are a normal part of even the highest returning investments. Investors often worry and react with panic in response to market drops, even if they are invested properly for their long-term goals, but interim losses are to be expected even during the best investment periods. Read more.

Can I use more than one portfolio strategy in my Betterment account?

Yes, you can have multiple portfolio strategies within your Betterment account. Portfolio strategies are selected at the individual goal level.

Where can I learn more about the Betterment portfolio and investing strategy?

You can read more about the Betterment portfolio, investment strategy, ETFs, taxes and more at our Resource Center.

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Member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation

Betterment Securities is a member of SIPC. Securities in your account protected up to $500,000. For details, please see www.sipc.org.

Looking out for investors' accounts is a legal duty.

Regulated by the SEC and a member of FINRA, our Broker-Dealer, Betterment Securities, follows a strict set of rules, designed to protect our investors' accounts.

1 As of August 2017, all mutual funds and/or ETFs used to construct GSAM’s Model Portfolios have fees lower than the overall average expenses within their respective Morningstar categories.