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Financial Goals

Managing Your Goals

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: September 1, 2018


Can I have a goal without a target?

Yes. Our “General Investing” goal doesn’t have a defined target date or amount. By default, we select an allocation appropriate for your age, with a maximum of 90% stocks and a minimum of 55% stocks. You can always adjust the specific allocation yourself.

If you change your mind about having a goal target, you edit your advice type using the ellipses found to the right of your goal from your Summary page.

How can I make changes to an investment goal?

Making sure your goal(s) continue to reflect your specific investment objective(s) over time is important. To ensure your goals are set up properly, we encourage you to review our resource surrounding how to use investment goals at Betterment.

When ready to modify any goal, you must be logged in from a web browser. Select the specific goal from the menu then click “Plan”. You’ll see an option to “Edit” along the right of the page.

You can change the following properties of any goal:

  • Goal name: what you choose to call a goal (Note: You cannot edit the name of an IRA).
  • Goal type: the purpose of your goal (We provide five different categories to choose from).
  • Goal term: the amount of time until you expect to use the funds.
  • Target amount: how much you’d like to have saved by the end of the term.
  • Target allocation: your personalized ratio of stocks and bonds.

How can I transfer between goals?

Transferring Between Goals

At Betterment, you can easily transfer assets from one Betterment goal to another.

From the menu, select the goal you wish to transfer from and then click “Transfer or rollover”. From the drop-down, select “Transfer to another goal” to get started.

You cannot perform a goal-level transfer to or from an IRA account. Due to IRS rules, contributions to an IRA account must be made in cash. Therefore, transferring funds from a taxable goal into a Betterment IRA must be completed by withdrawing to a linked bank account and then redepositing the cash directly into your IRA.

Transferring Between Account Types

Currently, you can only transfer between goals within the same legal account. The following account types are defined as “legal accounts”:

  • Personal Account
  • Joint Account
  • Trust Account

If you want to transfer funds between multiple legal accounts, please contact us at for more details.

What is a Safety Net?

An emergency fund should contain enough money to cover your basic expenses for a minimum of several months.

Betterment provides an alternative to keeping your safety net funds in cash savings accounts, by investing 130 percent of your safety net in a moderate-risk portfolio.

See the Safety Net section for Using Investment Goals to see how Betterment allocates your funds over time.

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Safety Net

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


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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.


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