Understand Your Finances By Connecting Your Accounts
Connecting your outside accounts lets you see your holistic financial picture in one place. It also lets us give you more accurate advice. As an added bonus, you may even spot high fees you didn’t know about, or extra cash that could be doing more.
Securely connecting your outside investment accounts—such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and taxable accounts held at other institutions—helps us give you better investment advice. For instance, the way we recommend that you save for retirement depends on what sort of account types you have available to you. Knowing that you are making annual contributions to your 401(k) account and getting a 3% match, for example, will drastically alter your retirement projections. The list goes on!
In addition to investment accounts, you can also securely connect debt accounts, such as mortgages and loans. This helps you see your overall financial picture, putting you more in control of your wealth. Your connected account data is regularly updated automatically, so you’ll know where you stand.
See your wealth in one place.
What is your net worth? When you connect all of your other accounts to your Betterment account, you’ll have the power of seeing all of your wealth in one place. Whether your net worth is positive or negative, or mostly managed at Betterment or not—seeing this information can help you see the big picture when it comes to your personal finances. Seeing all your wealth in one place can help you better understand if you’re on track to meet your financial goals, and which goals might need some more attention.
Receive personalized advice.
We understand that you currently may be saving towards your financial goals in more accounts than one. For example, with retirement plans, we’ve found that customers often have investments spread out across multiple institutions, especially in the case of 401(k) accounts. It can be cumbersome to manage your finances across many accounts.
When you connect your accounts, we’ll analyze your holdings and display each account’s individual risk profile for you. You can also assign any account you connect to a specific Betterment goal. This allows you to see your overall risk profile across all related accounts. We’ll provide an assessment of how your current risk profile compares to our recommendations so that you can make informed decisions about whether any adjustments need to be made.
For example, you might find that your overall portfolio is riskier than you thought, and may want to reallocate some of your funds into more conservative investments. Knowing your portfolio’s true allocation can help you better understand the risks you are taking and will help you make informed decisions about how to save for the future.
Reveal hidden fees.
Fees are sometimes hidden between the lines of confusing jargon and can be hard to locate on your statements. In the financial industry, many institutions thrive off high or hidden fees.
At Betterment, we believe in transparency. This is why when you sync your external accounts, we’ll clearly display the expense ratios of the funds you are invested in, as well as how much you are paying in management fees, whenever that data is available to us. Using this information, we’ll analyze how much you could potentially save using low-cost ETFs and a low cost advisor like Betterment.
Identify excess cash.
A buffer of cash is good to keep in your checking account for regular transactions and short-term spending needs. However, holding cash in any long-term investment account is likely impacting your potential returns because it’s not being invested. This is known as “idle cash” or “cash drag”. When you instantly connect your funding accounts, we’ll analyze your accounts to determine if you’re holding onto too much cash.
We classify any cash or cash-equivalent securities as idle cash. It is “idle” because it’s not invested, and therefore, not working as hard for you as it could be. The opportunity costs of idle cash can be significant—especially over long periods of time and because of inflation.
Gain peace of mind.
At Betterment, your privacy comes first. We will never sell, rent, or trade your information without your permission. We are a fiduciary financial advisor, so we're obligated to—and want to—act in your best interests
Additionally, we strive to exceed the safest standards for protecting your account and financial data. Instantly connecting a financial account through our partner Plaid creates a secure, read-only connection with your institution, and we will never store your credentials, nor share your connected data.
Connect your accounts. It only takes a few minutes.
- On your home page after logging in, scroll down to the "Other Connected Accounts" and click "Connect New."
- Search for your firm, making sure you choose the firm name and option that has a matching URL to the one you use to log in to their website.
- Enter your username and password for that firm, and complete any additional security prompts that appear.
- You can manage and edit your connected accounts from "Connected Accounts" under "Settings."