SigFig review 2023
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SigFig: Best for
- Cost-conscious investors
- Human advisors
- Low fund fees
Investors looking for a low-cost robo-advisor may find SigFig Managed Accounts particularly compelling. You won’t pay a management fee until you reach $10,000 in assets and then the fee is just 0.25 percent annually, in-line with the industry average. You also won’t have to worry about getting charged miscellaneous account fees, which can eat into your overall returns, and fund fees are reasonable as well. You’ll also have access to features that are popular with robo-advisor investors such as automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. SigFig is one of the few robo-advisors that gives clients access to human investment advisors to help with more complicated questions you may have.
However, you’ll need $2,000 to get started and won’t have access to a cash management account, which is a standard feature of most robo-advisors. Fractional shares are also only available on reinvested dividends, so it’s possible that your initial investment won’t be completely invested.
If you’re looking for a robo-advisor with a top-notch cash management account, you might consider Wealthfront, while those who are unable to meet high account minimums should check out Acorns or Stash.
SigFig: In the details
Pros: Where SigFig stands out
Management and account fees
SigFig customers will be able to take advantage of one of the best aspects of investing with a robo-advisor: low management fees relative to traditional financial advisors. SigFig doesn’t charge you any management fee on the first $10,000 in your account and it’s just 0.25 percent annually after that, in line with industry leaders like Betterment and Wealthfront.
You also won’t get dinged with annoying account fees for things like inactivity, terminating an IRA or transferring your account. These fees ultimately eat into your return as an investor, so eliminating them altogether is a great feature and consistent with SigFig’s low-cost approach.
Many other robo-advisors come with fees that can run over $100 combined for various actions.
Human advisor access
One major bonus that SigFig offers is unlimited access to investment advisors. Once you reach $10,000 in assets, you’ll be able to schedule an appointment online or over the phone and get all your questions answered by a professional. Speaking to an actual human expert is becoming rarer in our increasingly digital world. There are some questions that are better handled by a human than by an online chat robot.
While there are some other robo-advisors that offer access to human advisors, that can sometimes come at a higher tier of service. Both Betterment and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios provide access to financial advisors at their premium service tiers, which also come with higher annual fees. SigFig offers access to clients for no additional charge.
SigFig also earns high marks for having low-fee ETFs in its portfolios. Robo-advisors generally come with two types of recurring fees: an annual management fee that goes to the robo-advisor itself, and the annual expenses for the ETFs used to build portfolios. Both fees eat into your returns, but people sometimes forget about the fees associated with ETFs.
SigFig uses a group of 24 ETFs to build portfolios and ultimately includes eight in each one. Annual fees range from 0.07 percent to 0.15 percent for the ETFs, which puts it close to industry leaders. Vanguard Digital Advisor, known for being a low-cost champion, uses ETFs with expense ratios of 0.03 percent to 0.08 percent.
The 24 ETFs SigFig offers are more than what most robo-advisors use to build portfolios, with many relying on fewer than 10. Having these additional ETFs available makes it easier to build a portfolio that fits your specific needs and investment goals.
Cons: Where SigFig could improve
No cash management account
Leading robo-advisors have made cash management accounts a major part of their overall offering. So the fact that SigFig doesn’t offer one at all is a significant shortcoming. Instead, your cash is held in a money-market fund.
Cash management accounts at leading robo-advisors come with several key features such as bill pay, check deposit and writing, and a debit card with access to thousands of ATMs across the country. You’ll also typically earn an interest rate above what is offered through traditional savings accounts. Wealthfront and Stash are two options to consider if a strong cash management account is an important feature for you.
No fractional shares
Many investors who are most interested in using a robo-advisor are just starting out and may not have large sums of money to invest. Fractional shares can be a great way for new investors to make sure their full deposit is invested without any leftover money sitting in cash.
But SigFig doesn’t offer fractional shares on new purchases as part of its service. This means that if you invest $2,000, the full amount may not be invested because you couldn’t purchase another full share of an ETF. The leftover money is held in a money market fund, where it will earn lower returns. The lack of fractional shares means investors could end up missing out on higher returns than they would at another robo-advisor where these smaller-than-whole shares are available.
However, fractional shares are available when your dividends are reinvested. This means that if you receive a $5 dividend from a fund you’re invested in, the full $5 will be reinvested and will likely include fractional shares.
SigFig offers almost no educational content on its website despite offering a service that targets new investors. Investing can be intimidating for many people, particularly those who are new to the space. Adding basic explainers and information about how different types of investments work could be a real boost to SigFig’s offering. Investors interested in a more robust educational platform might consider Fidelity Go, which comes with all of Fidelity’s tools and educational resources.
SigFig’s account minimum of $2,000 is a bit steep compared to leading robo-advisors. Betterment’s service comes with no account minimum and Wealthfront will let you get started with $500. Acorns and Stash, which have gained a following by offering micro-investing, will build a portfolio for you for just a $5 investment. Robo-advisors tend to appeal more to younger investors and requiring $2,000 to get going might be a hurdle for some.
Betterment5.0 Bankrate Score
Betterment offers a high level of service and features across every aspect of its robo-advisor, from its core investment management to low-cost funds to premium features such as tax-loss harvesting. You can also upgrade your service if you need unlimited access to human advisors, and get access to a feature-rich cash management account, too.
Axos Invest3.0 Bankrate Score
Axos Managed Portfolios offers a strong robo-advisor service with some premium features, all at a reasonable price. Clients also receive a wide choice of funds, including socially responsible funds, though the associated cash management account forces clients to jump through some hoops to receive what is only a mediocre interest rate.
Interactive Advisors4.5 Bankrate Score
Interactive Advisors has upped its game this year, with new features such as tax-loss harvesting that put it among the top robo-advisors. That’s on top of one of the widest range of investing choices, low-cost funds and low overall fees. As strong as all these features are, though, the robo-advisor doesn’t offer access to human advisors, not unusual among robo-advisors.
E-Trade Core Portfolios3.5 Bankrate Score
E-Trade Core Portfolios offers a capable robo-advisor, one that may work best for customers looking to keep their accounts with the broker while having someone do the investing for them. Clients will get low-cost funds as well as less-common choices such as socially responsible funds, though the service doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting or many tools.
Titan Invest3.0 Bankrate Score
Titan offers something unusual in the robo-advisor space: Titan combines its own actively managed investments with passively managed ETFs, something no other major robo-advisor does. It also hedges those portfolios, does not charge a management fee for the passive funds – a rarity among rivals – and has a low minimum, making it easy to get started.
Morgan Stanley Access Investing3.5 Bankrate Score
For younger investors looking to invest based on their values or certain themes, Morgan Stanley’s Access Investing provides a suitable option among robo-advisors. Investors can choose between impact portfolios that focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues, market-tracking portfolios that minimize fees and performance-based portfolios that attempt to outperform through active management.
J.P. Morgan Automated Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
J.P. Morgan Automated Investing provides portfolio management services with automatic rebalancing and may be a good fit for existing J.P. Morgan customers. But you’ll also pay above-average management fees and have limited account types to choose from. There’s also no tax strategy included in the offering.
Vanguard Digital Advisor3.0 Bankrate Score
Vanguard Digital Advisors keeps it simple: an investment portfolio comprised of four funds at a low all-in price, and then adds on helpful tools and educational components. The combination should do well for clients who don’t need a robo-advisor to provide everything under the sun but want competent investment management from a proven and knowledgeable leader.
Fidelity Go4.5 Bankrate Score
Fidelity Go offers a solid robo-advisor offering that beginning and cost-conscious investors will especially appreciate. However, investors looking for features such as tax-loss harvesting or comprehensive goal planning may be disappointed.
Personal Capital4.0 Bankrate Score
Personal Capital customers will get an experience that more closely resembles that of a traditional financial advisor than a robo-advisor, but you’ll need at least $100,000 to get started. You’ll also get a comprehensive tax strategy to help minimize what you owe to Uncle Sam. But this higher level of service does come at an above average cost compared to the rest of the robo-advisor industry.
Stash3.5 Bankrate Score
Stash’s managed portfolios might appeal to small investors who are looking to save as they spend, but the monthly fees can be high for investors who don’t have a large balance built up and there are only a few types of accounts available.
M1 Finance4.5 Bankrate Score
M1 Finance takes some of the best of what brokers and robo-advisors do and mixes it into a new service that provides automated investing in a fully customizable portfolio – all for no cost. If you want to take it up a notch, you can pay an additional fee and receive a host of upgraded features, including one of the best cash management accounts out there.
Wealthfront5.0 Bankrate Score
Wealthfront offers a strong lineup of features – sophisticated portfolio management using low-cost funds – that showcase why it’s one of the leading independent robo-advisors. It provides a strong cash management account, a robust planning tool and premium features such as tax-loss harvesting that may more than pay back your annual fee.
Ellevest3.5 Bankrate Score
Ellevest brings a competent and well-considered robo-advisor, pitching itself to women, whose financial needs are traditionally underserved. But don’t think it won’t work for anyone who needs nuanced investment management, since it offers low-cost funds, socially responsible funds and – unlike most rivals – a flat monthly fee, making it advantageous for those with more to invest.
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios5.0 Bankrate Score
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios provides a top robo-advisor experience that should be a good fit for many investors. The basic plan comes with no management fee and a low-cost portfolio, plus you’ll get Schwab’s top-notch customer support and easy-to-use platform. The premium plan comes with unlimited access to human financial advisors, but both plans come with above-average account minimums and tax-loss harvesting isn’t an option until you reach at least $50,000 in assets.
Acorns3.5 Bankrate Score
Acorns is a good choice for new investors who are starting with small sums of money, allowing customers to build a diversified portfolio with just a few dollars. However, the fees are above average for small account values, though they’ll decline as your portfolio grows, and you won’t find any tax strategy as part of the robo-advisor offering.
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor4.0 Bankrate Score
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is a solid robo offering that gives customers easy access to human financial advisors at no additional cost along with tax-loss harvesting that can help you save on taxes. However, the management fee is above average unless you’re an existing Wells Fargo banking customer.
Ally Invest Managed Portfolios4.0 Bankrate Score
Ally Invest Robo Portfolios are a good option for new investors who pay particular attention to costs. Existing Ally clients may also appreciate having all their finances in one place. Unfortunately, Ally doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting or provide human advisors to help with those especially difficult questions.
Merrill Guided Investing3.5 Bankrate Score
Merrill Guided Investing offers a credible investing service for Bank of America customers, but its high management fee makes it less attractive among a competitive field of robo-advisors. Merrill offers several positives, including access to human advisors and low-cost investment funds, but premium features such as tax-loss harvesting are missing.
SoFi Automated Investing4.5 Bankrate Score
SoFi Automated Investing gives cost-conscious investors a solid robo-advisor offering that comes with access to human financial advisors at no additional cost. But the lack of tax-loss harvesting and no socially responsible investing options may cause more sophisticated investors to look elsewhere.
Marcus Invest4.0 Bankrate Score
Marcus Invest offers the core feature of a robo-advisor – portfolio management – and then adds some twists, such as several portfolio types, all for a cost-competitive fee. It’s a great add-on for current Marcus customers, though some features of higher-end robo-advisors such as tax-loss harvesting and an expansive toolset are missing.