Free for 90 days: Sign up now and get 90 days managed free after your first deposit. See offer details

<title>Dismiss</title>
Retirement Planning

Improving Retirement Planning with Synced External Accounts

Betterment's retirement planning advice aims to give you personalized answers based on your whole financial picture. For that, syncing external accounts is critical.

Articles by Alex Benke, CFP®

By Alex Benke, CFP®
VP of Advice and Investing, Betterment
Published: November 16, 2015 | Updated: November 2, 2018

Unlike other tools, we base our advice on your retirement savings across all accounts, where you plan to live in retirement, your current income, and the types of accounts available to you.

Customers can now sync their external retirement accounts to their RetireGuide plan, and our advice will refresh automatically, every day.

Customers can also upload their Social Security data file to further personalize their RetireGuide plan.

Most people aren’t on track for retirement.

More than half of American households won’t be able to afford their current lifestyle when they retire,1 and one in three Americans have taken no steps to plan for their financial futures.2

Even when they do plan, it’s not always easy to follow through and take the necessary steps toward a comfortable retirement.

My experience with and passion for this issue is part of the reason we developed integrated retirement planning advice into Betterment. People need easy-to-understand retirement planning advice based on their current financial picture.

Betterment’s retirement advice takes into account your current savings across all accounts by syncing in external accounts not held at Betterment. Our automated planning also utilizes information on where you plan to live in retirement and your current income. It makes it easy to see where you are, what steps to take to get on track, and allows you to put that plan in motion with just a couple clicks.

Particularly important to how we offer retirement advice is the ability to sync in external accounts, such as your current 401(k). This enables Betterment to get more precise about your future income streams.

How do external accounts help make our retirement planning advice more accurate?

While external accounts can be manually added, synced accounts in particular help our advice remain as accurate as possible by updating balances regularly. As you plan for retirement, it’s important to have a current sense of your total retirement savings picture across all accounts.

Betterment syncs with more than 13,000 financial institutions, and our retirement advice considers each account type—i.e. roth IRA, traditional IRA, 401(k), and others—as well as the account’s tax status to give you smarter retirement advice.

What kinds of questions does our retirement planning advice help answer?

Having a retirement goal within Betterment is part of what every customer can benefit from. You can work through a number scenarios, including:

  • Am I saving enough money?
  • When can I retire?
  • What will my retirement look like if I don’t increase my savings rate?
  • How will my spending change if I move to a different location in retirement?
  • How much will I have to live on in each year of retirement?
  • Am I using the right kinds of accounts for saving and investing?
  • How can I invest more efficiently for retirement?

To help you pursue a retirement goal, we use the information you provide and the balances from your Betterment accounts, as well as assets outside of Betterment, to answer these questions.

Start pursuing a retirement goal today.

1 Center for Retirement Research at Boston College study

New York Times: Americans Aren’t Saving Enough for Retirement

2 Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study (2015)

Recommended Content

View All Resources
What’s Inside the Betterment Portfolio Strategy?

What’s Inside the Betterment Portfolio Strategy?

Explore the asset classes in Betterment's recommended set of portfolios. Then, take a look at the exchange-traded funds (ETFs) underlying each part of the portfolio strategy.

Reducing Your Biggest Retirement Expense: Where You Live

Reducing Your Biggest Retirement Expense: Where You Live

You’ll probably want to retire somewhere different than where you live right now. Let’s make that part of your retirement plan.

Optimizing Performance in Lower Risk Betterment Portfolios

Optimizing Performance in Lower Risk Betterment Portfolios

In this methodology, we provide insight into how we optimize the performance of the lower risk bonds in Betterment's portfolios, including Smart Saver.

Explore your first goal

Safety Net

This is a great place to start—an emergency fund for life's unplanned hiccups. A safety net is a conservative portfolio.

Retirement

Whether it's a long way off or just around the corner, we'll help you save for the retirement you deserve.

General Investing

If you want to invest and build wealth over time, then this is the goal for you. This is an excellent goal type for unknown future needs or money you plan to pass to future generations.

Smart Saver

You could earn 20X more than a typical savings account with our low-risk investing account for your extra cash.

<title>Close</title>

Search our site

For more information and disclosures about the Betterment Resource Center, click here. | See our contributors.