The Robo-Advisor Option
If you have a small amount of money and / or you are just beginning the investment path to grow your money, this may be a good option for you.
If you are a little more sophisticated and / or want a real financial plan and investment strategy and more importantly, if you want to be looked after (talk to a human being that actually cares and knows what they are doing / talking about) this is definitely not the place to look.
If you live your life "on-line", as is the case for most millennials (and a good number of boomers and gen-xer's ), it is a tantalizing possibility: being able to avoid those old-school style sales pitches that may want to make your eyes roll because you are a relatively intelligent human being and they treat you as if you know very little. I have known a number of those in my time in this business. You know, the ones that say: "if you don't listen to me and do as I say, you are an idiot" (or something like that).
Remember, however, that you are going to get what you pay for: Money Sense did a pretty good survey a little over a year ago, you can do a little comparison shopping.
Paul and I did check out a few of the options by pretending to want to sign up and we found that the human element was completely missing / lacking and it took, in some cases, days to get responses to our questions. Further, the portfolio managers had no bio's, so it was next to impossible to get a sense of who they were and what their experience was.
Interestingly, the fees (in most cases) turn out to me not so different (0 to .25%) from ours.
Think about it: would you pay a very little bit more for an excellent client experience : where you were able to get a full financial plan (Wealth Forecast), monitored, updated every 6 months or so and linked specifically to your portfolio strategy, regular (almost daily) blogs, a weekly client webinar outlining our / your strategy, quarterly reports (including an Independent Review Committee report) and open (24/7) email or telephone access directly with the portfolio managers?
You will not even get close to that with most full service Investment Advisors, let alone a Robo-Advisor.
It baffles me (and Paul too) why anyone might choose otherwise.
If you like your Robo-Advisor, I would love to know what more you get from them. I would wager that they could not tell you what your return per unit of risk taken is. I would also bet that your old-school financial advisor would not be able to either.
It may not matter much to you now. When markets correct (and they will again), you are certainly going to care.
There is an alternative and we (High Rock) have been recognized by the Small Investors Protection Association (SIPA) as a "new breed" of financial advice and portfolio management that allows the legal protection of fiduciary responsibility and client first (not shareholders or commissions) wealth stewardship.