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 Merrill Edge Guided Investing vs Schwab Intelligent 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios received a rating of 5.00 stars over 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers tax-loss harvesting while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios makes an advanced retirement calculator available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers goal tracking while Merrill Edge Guided Investing 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers external accounts analysis while Merrill Edge Guided Investing 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. Merrill Edge Guided Investing alongside Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offer live chat support.
Overall, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios takes the upper hand with 4.50 stars over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios was rated Best in Class - Cost and Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing was rated Best in Class - Customer Service.