Putting your retirement planning on autopilot can be a great way for you to start saving. The best robo-advisors make it easy for investors of any level to start socking away retirement funds. Whether you know nothing about investing, are looking to pay fewer fees, or just need a little nudge to get you going, these three automated retirement advisors can help you build your nest egg without breaking the bank.

For the New Investor Who Needs a Nudge

You know you need to invest for retirement, but you just can’t find the time to do it. Your intentions are good, but you just can’t remember to make your monthly deposits. Or, perhaps you’re a do-it-yourself investor that starts to panic with every tiny swing in the market. If any of these describe you, Betterment could be your solution.

I like to think of Betterment as an “easy button” for retirement savings. To get started, all you have to do is complete a 5-minute questionnaire. Using the info you provide, Betterment recommends a portfolio that will fit your savings and retirement goals. Just connect your bank accounts, and Betterment will take care of the rest (which includes making those pesky monthly deposits)! There is no minimum investment required. However, they do charge you an advisory fee for their services  based on the total amount of money you have invested with them. Here’s how the fees break down: $3/month or 0.35% annually (minimum monthly investment of $100 and auto deposit enabled) for accounts with less than $10K,  0.25% annually ($10-100K balance), and 0.15% annually for balances above $100K. You’ll also get your first 6 months service free when you open a new account. For more info, you can read our complete Betterment review here.

Betterment Details

  • Account Minimum: None
  • Advisory Fees: $3/mo. or 0.35% with auto deposit (less than 10K), 0.25% annually ($10-100K), 0.15% annually ($100K+)
  • Types of Accounts: Individual, Joint, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, Trusts
  • Automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvestment
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Automatic deposits available

Up to 6 Months Service Free if You Sign Up Here for Betterment

For the New Investor Who Knows Nothing

If you are brand new to investing and don’t have a clue how to get started, TradeKing Advisors may be the right fit for you. TradeKing is known in the online brokerage world for its $4.95 trades and excellent customer service. Now, they’ve brought those same philosophies to the automated retirement investing arena with TradeKing Advisors.

One of the great things about TradeKing Advisors is its simplicity. Like Betterment, all you need to do is fill out a short questionnaire to get started. Based on your goals and investing time horizon, TradeKing Advisors will customize a diversified retirement plan for you using low-cost ETFs. Once you’ve created and funded your account, they will review your new portfolio on a daily basis. Any adjustments to your portfolio will be made automatically.  There are no trading fees, just the advisory fee which is determined based on the type of account you have. Core accounts include a $1/month fee for balances under $5,000 and a 0.25% advisory fee for balances of $5,000+. They are rebalanced when needed and require a $500 minimum deposit. Momentum accounts respond to market ups and downs and are reviewed monthly for new investments. Since they are managed more actively, they charge a 0.50% annual advisory fee. However, new accounts receive your first year for free.

TradeKing Advisors Details

  • Account Minimum: $500 Core, $5,000 Momentum
  • Advisory Fees: Core – $1/month (under $5,K) or 0.25% annually (balance $5K+); Momentum – 0.50% annually
  • Types of Accounts: Individual, Joint, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, and Trusts
  • Automatic rebalancing

TradeKing Advisors: No Advisory Fees for Your First Year 

For the New Investor on a Budget

If you’re new to retirement investing, don’t have much to invest, and are looking for the best bargain, Wealthfront is probably your best choice. Like Betterment and TradeKing Advisors, Wealthfront is a great way to save yourself time and money when you invest. The company manages nearly $3 billion in assets and is one of the largest automated retirement advisors around.

As far as quality goes, I think that Wealthfront is very comparable to both Betterment and TradeKing Advisors. However, the draw for Weathfront is that your first $10,000 are managed for free. After that, they charge a flat 0.25% no matter the size of your balance. So, if you have less than $10K to invest and are shopping robo advisors strictly on price, Wealthfront is the clear winner. However, once your assets cross the $100K threshold, you can find better rates elsewhere.

Wealthfront Details

  • Account Minimum: $500
  • Advisory Fees: Free for first $10,000, 0.25% annually on balances $10,000+
  • Types of Accounts: Individual, Joint, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, Trusts
  • Automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvestment
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Automatic deposits available

 Get Your Investment Plan with Wealthfront

Wrapping Up

So, where is the best place to start automatically investing for retirement? Well, that depends on what you are looking for and how much money you have to invest. But, don’t let indecision cripple you. Investing anywhere is better than investing nowhere. Use the links above to check out each advisor, choose one, and start saving for your retirement today.