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Financial Advisors

Should I Speak With A Financial Advisor?

As a robo-advisor, we give you automated advice that’s accessible through our website and mobile app. We also have a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals who can help answer your burning financial questions.

Articles by Andrew Westlin, CFP®

By Andrew Westlin
Financial Planner, Betterment  |  Published: June 28, 2019

Betterment provides automated advice that’s accessible through the website or your mobile app.

Our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals are able to help you with other questions you may have about your finances.

We’ll give you examples of some of the types of questions our advisors are able to answer.

Betterment believes that every investor should have access to fiduciary advice that helps them achieve their financial goals. That’s why our investment accounts have no minimum balance requirements, the tools are easy to use, and our fee is only 0.25%/year.

For many investors, our online tools are all they need. We love that. But we know that personal finance is complicated. For some investors, having the ability to speak with a professional financial advisor is important. An advisor could help you:

  • Personalize your account setup and features—such as your portfolio settings, account types, and tax strategies.
  • Obtain financial advice on topics we haven’t yet automated—such as Social Security, budgeting, and life insurance.
  • Coordinate with your other financial professionals—such as your CPA, real estate agent, and attorney.

That’s why—in addition to our online tools—we offer access to CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who can provide the reassurance, personalization, and fiduciary advice that you need. Our CFP® professionals are salaried employees who don’t make commissions, which means that the advice that they provide to you is meant to put you on the best path forward.

How do you know if you should speak with one of our CFP® professionals? Below is a list of the most common questions our advisors can help with. If any of these questions apply to you, consider reaching out to our advisors.


Common Questions Our Advisors Can Help With

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF BETTERMENT

  • Which accounts are right for me?
  • Which tax strategies are appropriate?
  • How do I personalize my investments?
  • What is Betterment’s investment strategy?
  • How do I factor in my outside accounts?

GOALS AND CASH MANAGEMENT

  • What should my budget look like?
  • How much should I be saving?
  • How do I prioritize my goals?
  • How much cash should I hold?
  • Should I dollar cost average or make a lump sum deposit?

INVESTMENT ANALYSIS

  • Are my investments appropriate?
  • What risk level should I choose?
  • How do I factor in my outside accounts?
  • Am I properly diversified?
  • What fees am I paying elsewhere?
  • How do I customize my portfolio?

CREDIT AND DEBT

  • Should I pay off debt or invest?
  • How can I improve my credit score?
  • How can I optimize my credit cards?

TAX OPTIMIZATION

  • Which tax strategies are appropriate?
  • Should I use tax loss harvesting?
  • Is asset location right for me?
  • Am I withholding the right amount of taxes?
  • Which municipal bonds are best for me?
  • How do I move my accounts tax-efficiently?
  • Which accounts can help me control taxes?

EQUITY-BASED COMPENSATION

  • Should I exercise my stock options?
  • What are the tax consequences of doing so?
  • How much of my employer’s stock should I hold?

RETIREMENT PLANNING

  • Is a Roth or Traditional IRA better for me?
  • Is an IRA or 401(k) better for me?
  • Should I do a “backdoor” Roth IRA?
  • Should I roll over my accounts?
  • How much do I need to save for retirement?
  • Which funds should I choose in my 401(k)?
  • When should I claim Social Security?
  • Is asset location right for me?

EMERGENCY SAVINGS

  • How much do I need?
  • Where should I keep my emergency funds?
  • Should I invest my emergency funds?

COLLEGE PLANNING

  • How much do I need to save for college?
  • Does a 529 account make sense for me?
  • Which 529 account should I choose?
  • How should I invest for college?

PURCHASING A HOME

  • What home can I afford?
  • Should I invest my down payment savings?
  • Will buying a home help me save on taxes?
  • Can you coordinate with my mortgage broker?

GETTING MARRIED

  • How do we combine our investments?
  • Should we merge our bank accounts?
  • Should we update our W-4s?
  • Which accounts are we eligible for?
  • How do we update our beneficiaries?
  • Do we need an estate plan?
  • How can I coordinate with my CPA?

LIFE INSURANCE AND ESTATE PLANNING

  • How much life insurance should I have?
  • How do I “ladder” term policies?
  • Can you coordinate with my estate planner?

3 Ways To Get Help From An Advisor At Betterment

Each investor is unique. That’s why we offer multiple ways for you to work with one of our advisors. You can choose the service that best matches your needs and price point.

You can compare and sign up for all three services here.

1. Betterment Advice Packages

  • One-time access
  • Costs $199 to $299 per call
  • No minimum balance

Our Advice Packages allow you to speak to a Betterment CFP® professional on a one-off basis. Simply pay a flat fee each time you call. This can be the best option if you only want one-time or infrequent access to a financial advisor.

Click here to choose your package and book your call.

2. Betterment Premium Plan

  • Unlimited access
  • Costs 0.40% per year
  • $100,000 minimum

This plan offers unlimited phone and email access to our team of CFP® professionals. The cost is only 0.40% per year. This can be the best option if you want an ongoing relationship with our team of advisors.

Click here to open an account, if you haven’t already done so. Then just click “Settings” to upgrade your account to the Premium Plan.

3. Betterment Advisor Network

  • Unlimited access
  • Costs 0.80% to 1.50% per year
  • Dedicated advisor

This plan offers you a dedicated CFP® professional from a partner firm. The exact cost and minimum account balance vary depending on that advisor’s firm. This can be the best option if you feel strongly about having a dedicated advisor instead of a team.

Email advisors@betterment.com to be matched with an advisor.

We’ve Got You Covered

We are known for our automated technology, which is informed by our investment experts. If you want the best of both worlds—technology and a CFP® professional to guide you—consider speaking with our financial planners.

Try our advice

Contributing Authors

Nick Holeman, CFP®
Financial Planning Expert, Betterment

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