Thanks to opening, funding, and spending over 100 hours testing accounts with eight different robo-advisors
, we know our robos inside and out. For this review, we will compare Betterment vs TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios to see which robo-advisor is better.
When it comes to financial advice and selecting an automated advisor, the total annual cost charged is significant. Most sites just look at the annual account management charge assessed. For an accurate comparison, however, you also have to take into consideration the annual management fees (expense ratios) charged by the ETF holdings themselves. We included both. Betterment is a better option with a 4.50 star rating over TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios's 4.00 star rating.
Features are also important to compare when selecting a robo-advisor. Some robos do a much better job than others with technology. Betterment alongside TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer tax-loss harvesting. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Betterment alongside TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer an advanced retirement calculator. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Betterment alongside TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer goal tracking. Finally, syncing data from your other financial accounts (brokers, banks, etc) can open the door to deeper analysis of fees, holdings, and retirement planning. Betterment makes external accounts analysis available to clients, while TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios does not.
Lastly, some customers want access to customer service via web friendly methods such as live chat as a compliment to the standard phone and email options. Betterment and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios both offer live chat support.
Overall, Betterment takes the upper hand with 5.00 stars over TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios's 4.50 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios finished with awards Best in Class - Investment Approach, while Betterment came up with Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach and Best in Class - Platforms & Tools.