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SoFi Automated Investing review 2022

Bankrate reporter Brian Baker covers investing and retirement. He has previous experience as an industry analyst at an investment firm. Baker is passionate about helping people make sense of complicated financial topics so that they can plan for their financial futures.

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SoFi Automated Investing Logo

Best For

  • Cost-conscious investors
  • SoFi clients
  • Newer investors

SoFi Automated Investing is a good choice for new investors looking for a robo-advisor with low costs. You won’t pay an annual management fee and the portfolios are built using low-cost ETFs. Big bucks aren’t a requirement either, with just $1 needed to get started. You’ll even have unlimited free access to certified financial planners to help with questions that come up along the way. But be aware that SoFi Automated Investing doesn’t offer certain features that have become industry standard, such as tax-loss harvesting and advanced tools.

If you already use one of SoFi’s many financial services, you may find that its robo-advisor offering satisfies your needs and helps keep your finances in one place. However, others may find a better offering from places like Wealthfront or Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which offer tax-loss harvesting and a number of goal and wealth-planning tools.

SoFi Automated Investing at a glance

Star Rating

4.5
  • Cost: 5 of 5
  • Investments and Portfolios: 3 of 5
  • Account Types: 4.5 of 5
  • Features and Tools: 3 of 5
  • Customer Experience: 5 of 5
  • Account Minimum:
    $1
  • Management Fee:
    None
  • Account fees:
    $75 transfer-out fee
  • Portfolio Mix:
    10 model portfolios across taxable/tax-advantaged accounts covering 13 asset classes
  • Fund Expense Ratio:
    Average: 0.05 percent
  • Account Types:
    Individual and joint taxable, Roth IRA, traditional IRA, SEP IRA and rollover IRAs
  • Cash Management Account:
    Must open a SoFi Money account, which includes mobile banking, money transfer, a debit card, interest and more – without a monthly fee.
  • Customer service:
    Phone and chat 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET Monday - Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Friday - Sunday
  • Tax Strategy:
    No tax-loss harvesting
  • Rebalancing:
    Yes
  • Tools:
    Some basic goal-planning tools, educational content on investing
  • Promotion:
    None

Pros: Where SoFi Automated Investing stands out

Low cost

SoFi Automated Investing’s biggest draw is its low cost, and customers should have no arguments around the company’s management fee: zero. That compares favorably to the industry as a whole, where the standard is 0.25 percent, or $25 per $10,000 invested. SoFi is one of a handful of robo-advisors that charge nothing, with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios being another.

SoFi constructs its portfolios with 11 ETFs representing broad swaths of the market (total bond market and small-cap ETFs, for example). SoFi uses a couple of its own funds (more on this later) and most of the rest come from Vanguard, a well-known low-cost leader in funds. 

These funds (with a couple exceptions) are cheap, allowing you to build a portfolio that costs very little. In fact, the Vanguard funds used are among the cheapest around, with expense ratios below 0.10 percent, or a cost of $10 annually for every $10,000 invested. Several of the funds cost less than half of that. 

All in, it should be easy to build a portfolio that costs little. Between SoFi’s free management and the low-cost funds, you could easily pay less than $10 per year for each $10,000 invested. SoFi says its average portfolio has expenses of 0.05 percent, or $5 for every $10,000 invested. 

Automatic rebalancing is included in the package. If your actual portfolio starts to drift from your target allocation (if stocks outperform bonds, for example), SoFi will bring it back in line.  

Access to certified financial planners

You’re not paying a management fee, so SoFi must be skimping on service somewhere down the line, right? If so, it doesn’t appear to be in financial advisors. You’ll be set up to speak with certified financial planners (CFPs), who abide by fiduciary code to act in your best interest. They can help you with answers to less common investing questions and developing a financial plan. 

You’ll also be able to reach customer service representatives via the phone seven days a week at convenient times. Being able to get answers to questions with a phone call is becoming increasingly rare, so this is a plus for SoFi. 

Easy to get started

It’s easy to get started with a SoFi Automated Investing account. You’ll run through a few questions on your investing goals, when you need the money, and which of five model portfolios you’d like to have (conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive and aggressive). And then you’re done in a few minutes. (If you need to, you can always go back and quickly edit your model portfolio with a couple clicks.) 

Then you’ll be prompted to transfer funds, where you can connect your SoFi account to your bank account. You can do this with instant verification, and you’ll be prompted to set up a recurring deposit. Or you can make a one-time deposit and be on your way. It only takes $1 to get started, so don’t worry if you don’t have a lot to contribute at first. 

The money will be invested in your portfolio as soon as it arrives in the account.

Cash management account

You won’t get a cash management account as part of Automated Investing, but that may be a moot point, since you can open one on the SoFi site anyway. Since you already have a SoFi account, you can open this account quickly and move money between your accounts easily. 

A SoFi Money account offers core bank functionality – mobile banking, money transfer, a debit card and more – without a monthly fee. You’ll also be able to earn interest on the account with a recurring monthly deposit of $500 or more. 

So you’ll get much the same functionality as a cash management account through your robo-advisor account, though you won’t enjoy some features, such as margin loans. 

SoFi membership benefits

Using SoFi may entitle you to become a member, giving you access to a number of benefits. These benefits include rate reductions on SoFi loans, local networking events, career coaching and more. You don’t necessarily have to use Automated Investing to receive these benefits, and SoFi offers them to others who use one of its many financial services.

Quick comparison of Robo-Advisor options:
Robo-Advisor Overall Rating Cost Rating Investments and Portfolios
SoFi Automated Investing logo
5 3 of 5
Ally Invest Robo Portfolios review 2022 logo Read Our Review
4 3.5 of 5
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios review 2022 logo Read Our Review
5 3.5 of 5
Wealthfront review 2022 logo Read Our Review
5 4 of 5

Cons: Where SoFi Automated Investing could improve

No tax-loss harvesting

SoFi doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting, and it’s a valuable and standard feature across the industry, so it’s surprising that SoFi doesn’t provide it. Tax-loss harvesting allows you to optimize your tax bill while still being invested, and it’s just a smart (and perfectly legal) way to use the tax code to your advantage. It’s a key disadvantage against rivals Wealthfront and Betterment.

No socially responsible investing option

SoFi does not offer a socially responsible investing option as one of its portfolios used in the automated platform, which is a hole in SoFi’s offering. This has become a common feature for many robo-advisors as younger investors express more of an interest in how their money is invested and the impact it has. Investors interested in taking this approach might consider robo-advisor options from E-Trade or Morgan Stanley Access Investing, each of which offers socially-responsible funds. 

Lack of transparency

It’s not as easy as it should be to find information on SoFi’s site, and you may have to turn to the fine print and legal documents to find the particulars that you need to know. 

When you’re dealing with money, you want the costs to be laid out very clearly, and that’s something that SoFi doesn’t do for its automated investing product. While it’s easy enough to see that it doesn’t charge any management fee (for now), it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find what a typical portfolio might pay in terms of fees. Naturally, each portfolio will pay something a little bit different, depending on the specific funds and how they’re weighted in the portfolio. 

The company does disclose what you will pay for its in-house ETFs, some of which have no expense ratio (through June 2022 at least) and which may be included in some automated portfolios. The company is waiving the 0.19 percent expense ratio on these in-house funds. 

But as for which other ETFs you might invest in? That’s not clear before you actually open an account and click through to the fine print. Contrast this to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and others, where you see every investible fund and its cost before you even sign up.

Conflict of interest

Because SoFi may invest your portfolio in its own in-house funds, it has a conflict of interest. It discloses this conflict and which of its funds its robo-advisor might invest in. As noted above, at least through June 2022 the expense ratio on SoFi funds used in the automated investing plan is waived. This may change later on, however, so you may pay fees in the future.  

That said, SoFi discloses that its financial advisors are salaried and not paid on commission. That’s an important factor to note, since it eliminates one of the most likely places for egregious misconduct, when an advisor tries to upsell a client on a product they don’t really need. 

Basic portfolios 

Compared to portfolios offered by other robo-advisors, SoFi’s portfolio construction will feel basic, with its five model portfolios for taxable accounts and five for retirement accounts. The allocations between stocks and bonds ranges from an all-bond portfolio (conservative) to nearly all stocks (aggressive).  

That said, the simplicity in the portfolios is not necessarily a bad thing, since so much in finance is unnecessarily complex. Given the sophistication in other robo-advisor platforms, you might feel a bit underwhelmed by SoFi’s platform, but don’t let that concern you too much. 

Bottom line

SoFi Automated Investing gives investors a solid robo-advisor option that will keep costs to a minimum. But the lack of certain features such as tax-loss harvesting may leave some feeling like SoFi’s robo offering is just another financial services account in the broader SoFi universe. 

Contrast it with dedicated robo-advisors such as Wealthfront and Betterment or Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, each of which feels more focused on robo-advising. But for SoFi customers who are looking to expand their relationship quickly and easily, it’s an easy way to consolidate your accounts in one place, move money and have an investment plan that gets the basics right.

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