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4 Reasons to Sync Your Accounts with Betterment

Now when you sync your outside investment accounts with Betterment, you can see your total net worth in one place. You can also see details about your non-Betterment investments, including fund allocations, holdings, fees, and idle cash that could be earning more.

Articles by Alex Benke, CFP®

By Alex Benke, CFP®
VP of Advice and Investing, Betterment  |  Published: March 9, 2016

Betterment is leading a financial revolution by giving personalized advice—that's what makes us different. Now, when you sync your outside investments, you can receive even better advice.

When you sync your accounts, you can see your total net worth and your wealth in one place (on Web or mobile), and discover where you may be losing money to high fees and idle cash.

The better we know you, the better advice we can give. Synced accounts allow for more personalized investment and retirement advice, and this feature is included with your Betterment account.

Betterment customers can now see all of their wealth in one place, online or in the Betterment mobile app.

Securely syncing your outside investment accounts—such as 401(k)s, IRAs, taxable accounts, mortgages and loans held at other institutions—helps put you in control of your wealth, and helps us give you better advice.

Now, in the award-winning Betterment experience, you’ll have one place to go where you can see your portfolio allocation, holdings, shares, and other assets and debt from various providers.

We’ll help you optimize your investment returns by letting you know when you’re holding onto excess cash or funds that may be charging you high fees. Your outside accounts can also be factored into Betterment’s RetireGuide, so your retirement plan is always up to date and you can see if you are on track.

Syncing your accounts with Betterment is different from syncing with other providers, which often make money by selling your data or allowing third-party product advertisements.

At Betterment, our customers’ privacy comes first. We will never sell, rent, or trade your information. We are a fiduciary financial advisor, so we will only use your data to help give you better financial advice, and help you understand your investments.

We strive to exceed the safest standards for protecting your account and financial data. Syncing a financial account creates a secure, read-only connection with your provider, and we will never store your log-in information, nor share your synced data.

Here are four benefits of syncing your accounts with Betterment.

1. No More Hidden Fees

At Betterment, we believe in transparency. When you sync your outside accounts, you’ll clearly see how much you are paying in fees for each fund, each year, including fund management, administration, and 12b-1 fees.

Sadly ours is an industry that thrives on high or hidden fees, and we have found that many investors are shocked when they see what they are actually being charged in management fees.

Note that your Betterment account fees will continue to be assessed only on the amount of your investments with Betterment.

Any synced external investment accounts will continue to be assessed those fees from your respective investment provider.

2. Opportunities to Grow Idle Cash

For your synced accounts, you can now see where you’re holding onto too much cash.

While some buffer of cash is good to keep in your checking account for regular transactions and short-term spending, in a long-term investing account, cash is likely dragging down your potential returns (which is why some call this “idle cash” or “cash drag”).

We classify any cash or cash-equivalent securities, including currencies and money market funds held in investment accounts, as idle cash. It is “idle” because it’s not invested, and therefore not working its hardest for you.

The opportunity costs of holding, instead of investing, this cash can be significant, especially over long periods of time and in the face of inflation. With synced financial data, Betterment can highlight these opportunities today, and monitor your accounts for future issues and opportunities.

3. All of Your Wealth in One Place

When you sync your accounts, you’ll have the power of seeing all of your wealth in one place, whether you use your account on the Web or in our mobile app.

Betterment updates your synced account data automatically, every day, so you’ll always have the most current balances in the funds in which you’re invested, and more importantly, you’ll always know where you stand.

Each of your accounts is visible on the Summary tab right in your Betterment account, and portfolio details are available on the Portfolio tab.

SummaryPageWIthExternalAccounts

On the Portfolio tab, you can see what securities you hold and how each of your accounts is allocated across various asset classes.

PortfolioExternalAccountsResourceCenter

In addition to investments, you can sync your loan, mortgage, and credit card accounts. You can also add any real estate assets or other property, for a full picture of your household balance sheet and total net worth.

4. More Personalized Advice

The financial revolution that Betterment is leading is driven by personalization, and personalization is powered by data.

Syncing your accounts allows us to tailor our advice specifically to you, and helps us keep that advice up-to-date.

For retirement advice in RetireGuide, suggestions for improvements on investments in your portfolio, and getting you the information you need to manage your wealth, Betterment is made even better with synced accounts.

Get started by securely syncing your accounts—it only takes a minute. And it’s only available to Betterment customers. Get started syncing your accounts now.

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All information in this post is as of March 7, 2016.

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