An FKD Feature exclusive


Betterment: Five Minutes Will Give You Peace of Mind


Introducing Betterment, the robo-advisor app that helps lazy slobs like you wisely invest your cash without having to speak to a suit with slicked-back hair.


My headphones are off. Speak, man.


Betterment is a New York City-based financial services company that took TechCrunch’s annual Disrupt conference by storm back in 2010, earning recognition as the most disruptive startup.

If you’re one of those folks whose money is losing value sitting in a savings account, Betterment is here to turn that frown upside down. The robo-advising app allows you to set savings targets, seamlessly transfer your cash and will automatically create the right investing plan for you.


How it do what it do?


According to the ever-excellent Investor Junkie, getting started with Betterment lives up to founder Jon Stein’s motto, “Five minutes will give you peace of mind.”

Answer a few questions about your savings goals, adjust the aggressiveness of your investing plan, link your checking account and, if you so desire, set up an automated deposit schedule. After getting you squared away, Betterment is then going to use Modern Portfolio Theory to automatically buy, and later sell, exchange traded funds.

Don’t know what Modern Portfolio Theory is? Have no idea what in god’s name an exchange traded fund is? The beauty of Betterment is that you don’t need to. Long story short is that Betterment is essentially buying a diverse collection of assets that will decrease your financial risk in order to best ensure your long-term financial reward. Rest easy compadre.


I dunno about your bank account, but mine’s not looking so hot. Will Betterment bounce me at the door?


There is no account minimum for Betterment which is freakin’ sweet. Equally so, Betterment’s management fees, which range from .15 to .35 percent depending upon the size of your account, are extremely competitive compared to those of a typical broker.

One important item to note, particularly for cash-poor clowns like us, is that you get hit with a $3 fee if you fail to invest at least $100 in a month.


Last time I checked, finance bros live to screw us. Why would I give Betterment my cash?


Millennials’ fear of financial services is very real and is a question we posed to the Betterment team itself.

As Joe Ziemer, head of business development and communications, told us:

“The distrust of the existing financial system is a contributing factor in our growth.People want fundamentally customer-aligned service, people want an automated system and people want to know we’re constantly working in their best interests. To that point, even our fund selection system is based on the best options for the customer. Unlike a lot of other services, have no obligations to specific people or specific funds. Frankly, I can’t understand why it’s taken financial services so long to catch up.”


Wisdom of the crowds, dude. Anyone else riding this bandwagon?


Betterment’s rise to the top of the robo-advisor field, as described by Mr. Ziemer, is nothing shy of spectacular.

Since its 2010 launch, Betterment has enjoyed year-on-year growth between 300 and 400 percent. Even since January of this year alone Betterment has gone from 50,000 to 110,000 customers, with its total money managed rising from $1.7 billion to $2.7 billion. Safe to say you won’t be lonely hanging in the breeze there bud.


My time is precious. You best not be wasting it.


We can confidently say that checking out Betterment is far from a waste of your time. To get the most of the service, be sure to properly evaluate your cash stream and make sure that you’ll be able to commit to that $100 minimum described above.

The company is also plotting ways to take its services to the next level – particularly as it comes to retirement planning because the line “Hope I die before I get old” is currently being sung by a geriatric Roger Daltrey.

Overall, Betterment is a great way to take that stale money in your savings account and put it to work on a growth plan that’s right for you.


Posted 09.30.2015 - 04:26 pm EDT

Filed under

app app of the week betterment financial literacy financial planning investing millennial app Personal finance

Written by

Matt Averna