In this Wealthfront review, every aspect of the services offered by Wealthfront have been researched to provide readers with an unbiased account.
Investors can open individual accounts, joint accounts, trusts, and IRAs. They also offer 401(k) rollovers and 529 savings plans if needed for their personal financial situation.
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Who is Wealthfront
Founded in 2008, Wealthfront is one of the original robo-advisors still around today. Wealthfront’s automated financial management appeals to all traders and aims to make investing easier for all, especially for beginner investors.
Swiss investment bank UBS has agreed to purchase Wealthfront in 2022, adding some useful features to investors free of charge.
Why Use Wealthfront
Wealthfront is built for hands-off investors. This Wealthfront review will show they offer professional financial planning tools without the high costs of hiring human financial advisors. They aim to combine all of their features to turn Wealthfront into an investor’s “one-stop” financial account.
Wealthfront’s low-cost automatic portfolio management and competitive features produce impressive, consistent returns. Since inception, Wealthfront’s average return has been a sustainable 6.57%.
- Automatic rebalancing
- Robust cash management account
- Only $500 to open an investment account
- No human financial advisors
- No fractional shares
- Poor customer service
Wealthfront offers a variety of automated account types which I have looked at below.
Wealthfront Cash Account
Investors have access to a robust Wealthfront cash account, which is a fully featured cash management account that integrates well with their investment account offerings. Cash accounts provide 2% APY, unlimited access to transfer money, a debit card with access to over 19,000 no-fee ATMs, all for no monthly account or overdraft fees.
Wealthfront is one of the only robo-advisors to offer a 529 college savings plan through their platform. The account can be used to pay for qualified higher educational resources, which may include tuition, room and board, and books.
The 529, like a retirement account, has tax advantages helping investors keep more of their savings. Wealthfront walks investors through all the important steps of college planning, and how it will affect their personal financial goals.
Line of Credit
Wealthfront offers a portfolio line of credit for investors with at least $25,000 invested in their account. Up to 30% of a portfolio’s value can be borrowed, with around 2-5% in annual interest.
Wealthfront’s Smart Beta is designed to enhance returns over core market indexes. Smart Beta is available to investors who have at least $500,000 with Wealthfront.
Wealthfront Account Features
Wealthfront offers many goal planning and financial decision-making tools, collectively called Wealthfront’s Path service.
Users can connect their various financial accounts, for a read out of their income, cash flow, and debt. Wealthfront investors can choose from a variety of initial goals, then Path will calculate a plan to save the necessary amount to pay for it. Some of these goals include:
- Buying a home
- Saving for future education
- Taking time off from work
- Making a large purchase
- Investing a windfall
A particularly impressive feature that Wealthfront offers is their Self-Driving Money feature. Wealthfront aims to make the lives of their members easier, providing ways for the robo-advisor to completely automate their financial life. All investors need to do is set up a Wealthfront cash account with direct deposit, then link their outside accounts.
Members can then set up how they want their money managed based on their distinct expenses, lifestyles, and goals, keeping finances organized automatically.
Level Tax Loss Harvesting
Wealthfront attempts to recoup the advisory fee for its clients in the form of tax savings. They may strategically sell an investment fund in a member’s portfolio which is losing value, and reinvest in a similar fund. This can reduce the tax bill of an investor by allowing them to offset any capital gains taxes in their account.
Wealthfront is able to recoup the advisory fee for 96% of their clients in the form of tax savings.
There are 5 different levels of tax minimization for all taxable accounts:
- Index Funds – Index funds are able to incur much lower capital gains taxes, due to their low turnover rates.
- Dividend Reinvesting – Uses dividends to rebalance portfolios to minimize annual sales and lower realized capital gains.
- Tax Location – Clients have access to different asset classes and locations for taxable and retirement accounts to maximize post-tax performance.
- Daily Tax-Loss Harvesting – Taxable accounts can cover the gains in ETFs with the losses of other ETFs owned with Wealthfront.
- Risk Parity- Wealthfront now offers a risk parity. The risk parity-based strategy is a deviation from the standard 60/40 stocks/bonds breakdown that aims to increase risk-adjusted returns.
Wealthfront’s auto investor automatically rebalances member’s portfolios to meet their risk preferences and optimize tax efficiency.
Wealthfront portfolios are created by the Investment Management Committee, and each portfolio aligns with the Modern Portfolio Theory, aiming to gain the greatest returns at a specific risk tolerance level.
Wealthfront has recently begun offering low-cost funds in a professional portfolio, socially responsible investing, cryptocurrency funds, and a range of other sector or niche funds.
Socially responsible investing is available with no minimum investments to all Wealthfront account holders.
There is a larger range of investment account offerings available with Wealthfront than their competitors. Wealthfront’s asset classes include ETFs from the following categories:
- US stocks
- Dividend stocks
- Developed market international stocks
- Emerging market international stocks
- Real Estate
- US corporate bonds
- Municipal bonds
- Government bonds
- Inflation protected government bonds
- Emerging market bonds
Wealthfront offers 20 different portfolios, each aligning with an investor’s specific goals and adjustable risk tolerance levels. Wealthfront’s portfolio options include:
- Classic portfolios with a diversified portfolio of low fee index funds
- Socially Responsible portfolios substitute several Exchange Traded Funds with socially responsible choices
- Direct Indexing includes individual stocks ( $100,000 minimum)
- Customize with over 200 ETFs to add to existing portfolios or create new ones
- Risk Parity portfolio attempts to outperform markets ($100,000 minimum)
- Cryptocurrency funds from Grayscale (10% maximum of portfolio value)
- Smart Beta for accounts worth more than $500,000
Wealthfront Account Fees and Costs
Wealthfront offers relatively low management fees, especially when comparing to other brokerage services.
Wealthfront fees include an initial deposit of $500 to open an account. This is a higher initial contribution than many of Wealthfront’s competitors. The Cash Management account requires only a $1 minimum deposit.
Wealthfront charges a 0.25% annual account management fee for its robo-advisory services, or $25 annually for every $10,000 invested. Investment expense ratios are 0.06-0.13%.
This is much lower than typical fees for traditional financial advisors, which can end up costing investors a lot of money that they didn’t need to spend.
529 college savings account
Wealthfront’s 529 college savings account fees range from 0.42% to 0.46%, which includes the 0.25% advisory fee.
To access a portfolio line of credit, users must invest a minimum of $25000.
Wealthfront’s blog offers informative articles, on topics such as bank accounts, investing, industry insights, product news, and investment planning,
Wealthfront Customer Support
Customer support for Wealthfront can be reached via a message form or on the phone.
It is easy to type a message to the team, however in order to have access to the number investors must login to their profile first.
Client support seems to be the company’s weak point. There are a fairly high number of customer complaints on Wealthfront, however, so they could use some improved access to client support.
Common questions I get asked about Wealthfront
How trustworthy is Wealthfront?
Wealthfront Cash accounts are protected by $1,000,000 FDIC insurance through its member banks. Wealthfront Investment accounts are protected with up to $500,000 insurance by the SIPC. This insurance covers up to $250,000 in cash.
Is Wealthfront worth the fee?
When compared as a traditional financial advisor based on fees alone, Wealthfront wins hands-down. Of course, there have been studies (such as Vanguard’s Advisor’s Alpha) which found that good financial advisors can add up to 3% per year to your return.
This means financial advisors CAN make you more money than they charge.
Can Wealthfront make you money?
Can Wealthfront make you money? Yes, Wealthfront uses research-based algorithms to come up with the perfect investment portfolio for you. Then, it applies tax-optimization strategies to minimize the tax burden on your earnings.
Historically, Wealthfront’s performance has been steady.
What is the average return on Wealthfront?
The bottom line is: we’ve been good for our clients’ bottom lines. Investors in Wealthfront Classic portfolios with a risk score of 9 watched their pre-tax investments grow an average of 6.54% every year since we started.
Is Wealthfront good for beginners?
Invest Your First $5,000 Free: If you’re on the fence about Robo-Advisors, Wealthfront is a great place to test the waters with a small amount of money because it’s free. This is also really great for beginner investors and students who simply don’t have a lot to invest yet.
Is Wealthfront better than Vanguard?
Bottom line: Wealthfront is best for hands-off investors who prefer automated portfolio management and want access to crypto trusts. Vanguard, however, serves a wider range of investors by offering both DIY and automated/managed accounts.
How much can you make with Wealthfront?
Robo-advisor Wealthfront offers a high-yield account that can help you earn 2.32% annually on your savings. The account is FDIC insured up to $1 million, fee-free, and requires a minimum opening deposit of just $1, making it accessible to all savers.
Can I buy stocks with Wealthfront?
In general, clients can’t hold individual stocks in their Wealthfront Investment Account. However, if you have a taxable account with US Direct Indexing or Smart Beta enabled, we’ll purchase individual securities to replicate a broad US stock market index fund.
Does wealthfront have index funds?
Our software invests your money in a portfolio of low-cost index funds spread across global asset classes. Since no one can predict how the market will perform, we focus on factors we can influence: tax, cost, and risk.
Can you lose money on Wealthfront?
You can lose more funds than you deposited in your margin account. A decline in the value of securities that are purchased on margin may require you to provide Wealthfront with additional funds to avoid the forced sale of those securities or other securities or assets in your margin account(s).
Does Wealthfront charge fees for IRA?
What Are the Fees for a Wealthfront Traditional IRA or Roth IRA? For both types of accounts, Wealthfront charges a flat 0.25% fee. This is relatively low, compared to some other robo advisors — especially when you use our Wealthfront promo code for $5,000 managed for free.
Who owns Wealthfront?
UBS owns Wealthfront. On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, Wealthfront announced that it has agreed to be acquired by one of the premier brands in wealth management, UBS, in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion.
How old is Wealthfront?
Founded in 2008 as Ka-Ching, Wealthfront initially let investors choose a portfolio designed by RIAs and asset managers, serving as a kind of Expedia-like shopping mall. It took 25% of the 1% fee RIAs charged investors.
Wealthfront Customer reviews
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