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 E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio vs Merrill Edge Guided Investing 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. E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio's score is 3.50 stars versus Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 stars.
Features are also important to compare when selecting a robo-advisor. Some robos do a much better job than others with technology. Neither E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio and Merrill Edge Guided Investing offer tax-loss harvesting. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Neither robo offers an advanced retirement calculator. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Neither E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio and Merrill Edge Guided Investing 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. Neither broker offers external accounts analysis.
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. Both E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio and Merrill Edge Guided Investing offer live chat support.
Overall, Merrill Edge Guided Investing comes out on top with 4.00 stars over E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio's 3.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, Merrill Edge Guided Investing posted awards Best in Class - Customer Service, while E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio found itself with none of these.