My journey with Betterment started nearly two years ago when I received a pitch to interview its CEO Jon Stein. At the time, I was working as a money reporter for the newly merged AOL and Huffington Post newsrooms.
From my post as a reporter, I have watched a tide change in the way people relate to their financial service providers in the last few years. Post-financial crisis, there is still little faith that Wall Street is serving people in the way they deserve. The biggest banks are making huge profits while gobbling up fees. As a recent PBS Frontline special on retirement pointed out, a median-income, two-earner household will pay nearly $155,000 over the course of their lifetime in 401(k) fees. That is the kind of number that makes me freak out — and not in a good way.
That is one reason Betterment’s low-cost, simple investing platform has captured my interest. The company’s mission and its behavior-based model combine two objectives that are groundbreaking: Not only does it democratize investing in a way that allows savers like myself to participate in the richness of our markets at a very low cost — it is also extremely easy to use.
After I published my original story, I kept an eye on the company and watched it grow from $10 million in assets under management in early 2011 to the $200 million it is today. Along the way, I also became a Betterment customer and set my first long-term savings goal in addition to retirement: I want to save $25,000 for a down payment on a beach cabin (surf lessons not included.)
At the same time, I knew I wanted to push my career to be even more dedicated to improving financial advice and empowerment, especially for women. So when I saw the opportunity to be part of the growing, mission-based company, I grabbed it.
Today, I am delighted to introduce myself as Betterment’s Content Manager. I’ll draw on the versatility and rigor from my journalism background to write stories alongside some of our amazing in-house investing and financial experts. In addition to developing the content program here, I’ll also be taking coursework to become a Certified Financial Planner.
I know how much I am looking forward to buying my perfect surf shack on the beach someday — and making money rather than paying odious fees. Maybe you feel the same way. I look forward to having an open conversation with everyone in the Betterment community about how we can all make the best decisions with our money — so we can get on with the joy of living.