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's score is 5.00 stars versus TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios's 4.00 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 and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios both offer tax-loss harvesting. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios both offer an advanced retirement calculator. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios both 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 has external accounts analysis, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios doesn't.
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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios both offer live chat support.
Overall, both Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios share a rating of 4.50 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, while Schwab Intelligent Portfolios was rated Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach and Best in Class - Platforms & Tools.