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 Personal Capital 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 received a rating of 3.50 stars over Personal Capital'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. Personal Capital has tax-loss harvesting, E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio doesn't. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Personal Capital makes an advanced retirement calculator available to clients, while E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio does not. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Personal Capital has goal tracking, E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio doesn't. Finally, syncing data from your other financial accounts (brokers, banks, etc) can open the door to deeper analysis of fees, holdings, and retirement planning. Personal Capital makes external accounts analysis available to clients, while E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio 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. E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio offers live chat support while Personal Capital does not.
Overall, Personal Capital comes out on top with 4.50 stars over E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio's 3.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, unfortunately, neither E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio nor Personal Capital received awards Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach, Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Customer Service.