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Managing Your Money

Smart Saver Gets Smarter with Cash Analysis

Cash analysis is Betterment’s tool for helping you decide how much extra cash you have to move into Smart Saver.

Articles by Volodymyr Chernat

By Volodymyr Chernat
Senior Quantitative Researcher, Betterment  |  Published: December 4, 2018

By adding cashflow analysis, Betterment is enhancing how you manage your cash by suggesting how much to deposit into Smart Saver.

We look forward to automating movement of cash between Smart Saver and your checking account with our upcoming release of Two-Way Sweep.

In August, Betterment launched its savings account alternative, Smart Saver, as a low-risk home for your extra cash with the goal of helping you earn more. Today, we’re announcing enhancements to Smart Saver that aims to transform how you save paycheck after paycheck.

Meet Betterment’s cash analysis tool. With cash analysis, Smart Saver gets even smarter by telling you how much extra cash your linked checking account may be holding. The idea is that your extra cash is money that could be earning more to mitigate the effects of inflation.

A quick review: Inflation is the expected rise in prices year over year that makes a dollar held today worth slightly less next year. Betterment assumes long-term inflation to be around 2% per year over the long term. Meanwhile, Smart Saver is currently earning an expected 2.18% yield (as of April 1, 2019).

cash analysis visualization


By organizing and predicting your expense needs, cash analysis tells you if you’re holding an appropriate amount of cash, if you have too little in the bank, or if you have extra cash that you should move. In the next few months, we’ll automate this analysis: sweeping money out of your checking account into Smart Saver when you’re holding too much (i.e. losing out to inflation) and back when you need it.

Ready to find your extra cash?

Cash Analysis and How We Aim to to Manage Your Extra Cash

We believe cash analysis is an important component that’s previously been missing from most banking or financial advisor relationships. Banks have no vested interest in helping you move money out of their accounts, because that’s how they make money. Meanwhile, conventional advisors usually don’t have time to help you manage your cashflow on a regular basis.

By automating cash analysis, we aim to help you better understand your cashflow so that you might earn more from your extra cash. It’s challenging for most people to discern how much cash is too much or when they might have too little, so this tool helps to provide a clearer picture.

You can learn more about how Smart Saver’s cash analysis works by reading our overview. Or dive deeper with the tool’s complete methodology. In short, once you’ve funded your Smart Saver, our cash analysis provides projections for how much you’ll need over the next 5 weeks, and if you have less than what you’ll probably need in 3 weeks, it tells you to consider moving cash back from Smart Saver into your checking account.

Next Up: A Two-Way Sweep between Your Account and Smart Saver

On the heels of cash analysis, we look forward to automating movement of cash between Smart Saver and your checking account with our upcoming release of Two-Way Sweep. While cash analysis gives you a better idea of how much extra cash you may have, Two-Way Sweep takes care of managing that extra cash for you, moving extra cash into Smart Saver to earn more—and back to your checking account when you need it.

Stay tuned as we make Smart Saver the increasingly smart, low-risk place for your extra cash. We’re currently working on rolling out Two-Way Sweep, and we’ll be releasing the feature in full in early 2019.

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