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Roboadvisor – Is it for me?

 

If you are asking this question, chances are you’ve realized that your money won’t grow while it’s sitting on the sidelines. Whether you’re new to investing, or only have a few dollars to risk each month, there couldn’t be a better time to get your feet wet and learn about investing. With roboadvisors, the cost of entry is no longer a barrier, so investment opportunities are available online to everyone. 

What is a roboadvisor?

Think of a roboadvisor as a personalized virtual broker. Roboadvisors use computer algorithms to provide customized financial planning with lower costs. Many have user-friendly apps that interact with you, ask you questions about your financial goals, interests, age, and risk tolerance (how much can you really begin to invest without hurting yourself). Based on your responses, they can help you make good decisions, and learn along the way.

Human brokers have been using automated portfolio allocation software for years. So this idea isn’t new. The primary difference between a roboadvisor and a broker is accessibility and price. Roboadvisors open the world of investing to everyday people.

Pros
  • Fast and easy to use investor-friendly apps.
  • Education friendly. Learn as you earn.
  • You can start with micro amounts ($5).
  • Accessible 24/7. (You can change your mind at 3am.)
Cons
  • Investing is not a savings account. There is a chance that the assets could go up or down in any given year. On average, the stock market goes down 1 out of every 3 or 4 years. So you need to be able to hold on for the long term.
  • While the services are easy, you will want to ask yourself some straight questions before you decide which roboadvisor is right for you.
How much should I invest?

Start with something you feel comfortable with. This could be as little as $5. Invest an amount that you know wouldn’t hurt you if you lost it. If it’s fun, chances are you’ll stick with it. Sticking with it is important because investments grow over time.

What should I invest in?

What do you believe in? Invest in your interest and beliefs. Making money isn’t as fun when you are doing it at the expense of others, or contributing to social and environmental problems. Today, you can easily pick an issue you care about and point your dollars at it. If you invest in something you care about, you’ll stand a better chance of staying with it and growing your investments.

How much does it cost?

The key to picking an investment, especially if you’re starting out small, is to minimize fees. Online investment opportunities are quite transparent about their fees. When you’re learning, you need flexibility. An online broker that charges you $7-10 bucks every time you want to change something probably isn’t a good place to start.

Where do I start?

There are more and more online investing platforms entering the market every day. If you want to start small with as little as $5 or $50 bucks, learn as you go, and invest in what interests you, here are some of the better options out there.

 

Roboadvisor
 

Minimum Investment
 

Fee
SRI* Options?
Stash

$5

$1 per month up to $5,000

Yes

Swell

$50

0.75% annually

Yes

Wealthsimple

$0

0.50% annually

Yes

Betterment

$0

0.25%-0.40%

Yes

motif

$1000

$9.95 per month

Yes

*Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) options

The investing world can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. There are opportunities available to you today that your parents didn’t have. So, if you’ve been hanging out on the sidelines and wondering how to start, dive in. Start small and earn as you learn. 


Photo by Luke Porter

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