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 Schwab Intelligent Portfolios 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is a better option with a 5.00 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has tax-loss harvesting, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios doesn't. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Neither Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer an advanced retirement calculator. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Both Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios nor TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios 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 Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer live chat support.
Overall, both Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios are rated 4.50 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios finished with awards Best in Class - Investment Approach, Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Customer Service in 2017, while Schwab Intelligent Portfolios came up with Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach and Best in Class - Platforms & Tools.