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 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. TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios is a better option with a 4.00 star rating over E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio's 3.50 star rating.
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 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. E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio nor TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offers an advanced retirement calculator. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offers goal tracking while E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio does not. 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 E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer 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. E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio alongside TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer live chat support.
Overall, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios takes the upper hand with 4.50 stars over E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio's 3.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios was rated Best in Class - Investment Approach, Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Customer Service in 2017, while E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio was rated none of these.