Sometimes that friendly guide is a robot.
This is the premise of a service called FutureAdvisor. The company essentially provides a robo-advisor that offers automated portfolio management, which users can access online.
FutureAdvisor uses computer algorithms to manage your investments and balance your portfolio. Is FutureAdvisor the tool that do-it-yourself investors have been dreaming about?
The big perk of using a service like this is that it costs significantly less than hiring a human financial consultant to manage your portfolio and offer advice. This means that people who would never seek out professional financial services in the past can now get affordable investing help.
However, an automated service comes with limitations that may turn some customers off. Find out if a robot offers the best way to plan for your future from behind your computer screen in this FutureAdvisor review.
The Philosophy Behind FutureAdvisor
The first thing you’ll do when signing up for FutureAdvisor is fill out a questionnaire. This allows the company to create a customized investment plan according to your needs and goals.
The plan created for you will be based on the following factors:
- Risk tolerance
- Portfolio size and holdings
- Desired retirement age
The act of simply sitting down to identify your goals in realistic terms can make a big difference. This tool makes it easy to make your goals a reality, based on your time and resources.
The Benefits of a Free FutureAdvisor Account
FutureAdvisor really succeeds at delivering a tool that makes it easy to organize and manage your investments.
Learn More: Can You Trust Your Financial Advisor? Or Anyone?
One highlight is that the service actually offers a free retirement analysis for users. You can link your investment accounts and receive tailored recommendations based on your portfolio and goals. FutureAdvisor can actually make recommendations for accounts held with any broker.
Another thing that’s refreshing is that the free services offered by FutureAdvisor aren’t simply part of a trial program. You can use of the company’s free services for as long as you’d like without making a commitment to upgrade to a paid account.
What a FutureAdvisor Premium Account Has to Offer
You will have to move to a FutureAdvisor Premium account if you want this program to do some fancy, complicated investing work for you.
FutureAdvisor Premium charges a management fee of 0.50 percent. A paid account gives you access to direct investment management, however, which may be well worth the cost.
One thing worth mentioning is that you will need to have a Fidelity account if you specifically want to receive free management of a 401(k). In addition, a 401(k) must have a minimum balance of $10,000 in order to qualify.
Resource: How to Determine Your 401(k) Fees
One of the real perks of this program is that it offers tax-loss harvesting. This is an important feature because amateur investors in the past couldn’t access this service without working with a professional advisor.
An interesting thing to note is that each trade is monitored by both a real person and the company’s electronic investing algorithm.
A paid FutureAdvisor account gives you access to a team of financial consultants during weekdays. You have the option to chat via live messages, email, or even over the phone. You can also make an appointment with a member of the FutureAdvisor team if you need more complex help.
Of course, you may not want to get highly involved with actual investment professionals. That’s because it offers a low-key, hands-off approach to managing investments, which is attractive to many investors.
FutureAdvisor will monitor and balance your account daily according to market movements, which may be enough for you.
Why FutureAdvisor Might Not Be Your Perfect Financial Match
FutureAdvisor isn’t without its limitations.
One aspect of the program that may disappoint you is that it isn’t open to everyone. FutureAdvisor Premium accounts are only open to people between the ages of 18 and 68. The company is interested in helping younger customers move their way toward retirement instead of managing the assets of people who are already there.
The other big factor that could make FutureAdvisor a poor fit for your needs is that customers need to have at least $10,000 in investable assets. While that may seem like a big number, it is actually significantly lower than the minimum requirement of similar online financial services.
Should FutureAdvisor Be a Part of Your Financial Future?
The beauty of FutureAdvisor is that you can start from wherever you are right now. There is no need to transfer accounts or make big changes in order to manage your retirement savings, checking account, stocks, bonds, and CDs, all in one place.
Signing up for a free membership is a low-risk way to get your toes wet in the world of professional investment management. Especially if you’re just getting started with planning your future.
FutureAdvisor provides a nice middle ground between committing to a traditional advising firm and being overly casual with your financial future. This program could help you avoid living with financial regrets later in life, especially if you’re not the type to seek out one-on-one professional advice.
Updated September 22, 2017 and originally published August 9, 2017.