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45% of Americans Would Rather Discuss Their Weight Than Their Wallet

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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If you were ever taught that it’s rude to discuss money, especially to compare salaries, you’re not alone. A new survey from MagnifyMoney found that the majority of Americans would rather not share their salary with anyone else.

Our survey of over 1,000 Americans delved into why many hold their salaries close to the vest, and to whom they do choose to share that information — if at all. We also uncovered how often people lie about their salaries.

Key findings

  • Our survey found that 44% of Americans have lied about how much money they make. Men (58%) were twice as likely to lie about their salaries than women (29%).
    • The majority of those who lied inflated their salary to friends or in romantic relationships. Still, 16% lied and said they made less than they actually do.
  • When asked whether they’d rather share their weight or their salary, 45% of Americans said they’d rather divulge their weight.
    • There were a few exceptions: Gen X and those who make $50,000 or more per year would prefer talking about their salary than their weight.
  • Overall, 4 in 10 consumers think it’s OK to have salary discussions with co-workers.
    • Baby boomers, however, overwhelmingly disagreed, with only 8% saying it’s fine to discuss pay with co-workers. Additionally, only 21% of women agreed with sharing that information.
    • To the contrary, those who earned higher incomes were more likely than those who earned less to say that it is acceptable to discuss salary with co-workers, as were Republicans.
  • Notably, 58% of consumers think that companies can legally prevent employees from sharing their salary information with co-workers, which is not true. Per the National Labor Relations Act, private employees have the right to share their salary information. Federal employees also can share this information without the fear of employer retaliation thanks to an executive order from former President Obama in 2014.
    • Despite these allowances, Americans tend to keep their salary information a secret from their co-workers. Only 7% said their co-workers know their salary. Further, when asked if there was anyone with whom they would not be willing to share their salary, the most popular answer given was co-workers (39%).
  • Overall, 83% of working Americans have shared their salary with at least one other person. 
    • Interestingly, the survey found that the more money you make, the more likely you’ve told someone about it. In fact, only about 4% of those who make $100,000 or more haven’t told anyone else their salary.

Americans believe salaries should be kept private

Our survey found that there are plenty of reasons why someone might not want to share their salary. But overwhelmingly, respondents indicated that they simply prefer to keep their finances private. The next most popular reasons are that it has never come up in conversation (30%) and that it feels awkward to bring it up (22%).

When respondents did bring up their salary, it was largely because the other person asked about it (24%), with only 5%  saying it had come up organically. Other reasons for discussing salary were to discuss a job offer with a loved one (18%) and to find out if they were or someone else was being paid fairly (15%).

Another popular reason for sharing salary information stemmed from a shared financial responsibility that made it necessary for the other person to know. In fact, respondents said the person most likely to know their salary (besides their employer and HR) was their spouse or live-in partner (46%).

Respondent’s next-most popular confidant were their parents (31%), followed by an 18% of “no one.” Respondents were more likely to keep their salary a secret than tell their friends, siblings, children or romantic relationship (other than a spouse or live-in partner). Only 7% said their co-workers know their salary.

However, respondents have also lied about their salary to those close to them, including to their friends (26%), romantic relationships (23%) and family members (22%). Men were much likelier to lie about their salary to their romantic partners than women. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to lie about their salaries in every other situation, except when speaking with friends, in which case men and women were equally likely to lie.

Overall, people lied mostly because they felt guilty about how much money they make (32%). Others lied to impress the person (21%), to avoid feeling inferior to others who made more money (20%) and for feeling uncomfortable sharing their actual salary (17%).

Personal finances likely to remain a taboo topic

The majority of respondents who haven’t previously shared their salary don’t plan to start doing so now. In fact, just 7% said they would definitely consider disclosing their salary, while 42% said they would maybe consider sharing it.

Americans are even shy about sharing their salary information anonymously. Of respondents, 47% said they have never shared their salary anonymously on a recruiting website like Glassdoor, and are unwilling to do so. Another 28% haven’t shared their salary on such websites but would be willing to do so, while only 24% have already shared that information. Anonymous Glassdoor-like websites could help break the stigma around sharing salary information and provide some transparency around the topic.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gen X (74%) and millennials (66%) are more willing to share their salaries on Glassdoor than baby boomers (21%). Men also are more likely to give out this information than women. Just 10% of women have shared their salary on an anonymous website like Glassdoor compared with 40% of men.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,028 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Sept. 11-14, 2020.

We defined generations as the following ages in 2020:

  • Gen Z are ages 18-23
  • Millennials are ages 24-39
  • Gen X are ages 40-54
  • Baby boomers are ages 55-74

While Gen Z and the silent generation were also surveyed, due to low sample size among both groups, they were excluded from generational comparisons. However, their responses were still factored into the overall percentage totals among all respondents.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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SigFig Review 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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SigFig is a financial services company that offers automatic portfolio management for investment accounts at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab. Like other robo-advisors, SigFig will recommend a well-diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), curated for you based on factors like your risk tolerance and financial targets, and will put those recommendations into place as part of its portfolio management service. Essentially, SigFig does the heavy lifting of investing for you, and makes sure your investments are optimized to reach their highest potential.

SigFig Wealth Management, LLC
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on SigFig’s secure website
The bottom line: SigFig’s automated portfolio management service is a great option for investors with existing accounts at a number of big brokerages who want to make sure their portfolios are optimized — without having to do the heavy lifting themselves.

  • A minimum of $2,000 is required for SigFig
  • An annual advisory fee of 0.25% applies, but only for balances of $10,000 and over
  • SigFig offers portfolio management of existing investment accounts, without requiring you to move your money to a separate fund

Best for...
  • Investors who want their existing accounts at TD Ameritrade, Schwab or Fidelity managed by a robo-advisor, but do not want to move their money
  • Investors with multiple accounts across several different brokerages 
  • Investors who want the flexibility of picking their own risk tolerance, while also enjoying the automated benefits (such as rebalancing) of a robo-advisor 
  • Investors who want the guidance of a human financial advisor 
Minimum investment$2,000
Management fee0.25% annual advisory fee for accounts of $10,000 and above
Accounts offeredIndividual and joint brokerage accounts; Traditional, Roth and SEP IRA accounts
Access to human advisorsYes
Banking servicesNo

financial advisor

What is SigFig and how does it work?

SigFig provides you with automated portfolio management for your existing accounts at big brokers including TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab — think of it as an automated, robo-advisor extension that you can add on to your existing investment accounts. SigFig is added to your existing account as an advisor, and from there, it will manage your investment account by reinvesting current holdings and automatically rebalancing.

SigFig also offers the standard service that robo-advisors are most well-known for. With SigFig Managed Portfolios, you will receive a balanced and diversified portfolio made up of low-cost ETFs selected for you based on factors including your age, risk tolerance and financial targets. Your invested funds are held at SigFig’s partner brokerages, and if you do not already have an investment account open with TD Ameritrade, Fidelity or Schwab, SigFig will open one for you at TD Ameritrade.

Pros

  • Low fees: SigFig does not charge a monthly fee for investors with less than $10,000 invested, making it one of the more cost-friendly portfolio management platforms out there. Only investors with $10,000 or more invested will be billed a 0.25% management fee each month, a rate that is pretty in line with other robo-advisors. Additionally, SigFig does not charge any transaction fees, commission fees or trading fees.
  • Access to human financial advisors: A rarity in the robo-advisor world, SigFig features the option to connect with a human financial advisor. Investment consultations lasting 15 minutes can easily be scheduled through SigFig’s online scheduling portal. This is a valuable feature that should not be overlooked, as many robo-advisors do not even offer customer support over the phone, simply relying on email support — yet SigFig goes a step further, offering investment consultation in addition to basic customer support.
  • Portfolio management provided for existing accounts: Investors who want to benefit from the automated portfolio management of a robo-advisor but don’t want to move their money from an existing brokerage account will benefit from SigFig, as it allows you to use its services while keeping your money in existing accounts at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab. This is a convenient feature not offered by many robo-advisors.
  • Portfolio analysis for several accounts in one spot: Investors who have multiple accounts — whether at one brokerage or several — will benefit from SigFig’s Portfolio Analysis tool. This free feature allows you to monitor all of your accounts across many different brokerages on one screen, and it goes a step further by providing you with  email summaries of their performance, as well as free analysis of weak spots. If you feel like simply keeping track of all of your investments is a task in itself, this is a great tool.

Cons

  • High minimum: Compared with its competitors, SigFig requires a hefty minimum of $2,000. SigFig says that part of the reason for its minimum is that since the market determines the price of ETF shares, it is the lowest amount with which it can properly align the actual asset allocation of your portfolio to the asset allocation of your choosing.
  • Limited brokerage partners: In order to have a SigFig Managed account, your funds will need to be invested in an account at one of its partner brokerage firms, which include just TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab. If you do not already have an account open at one of those three brokerages, SigFig will open an account for you at TD Ameritrade. For investors who want more flexibility in choosing which brokerage they have an account with — or who do not find any of those three brokerages appealing — you don’t have any other option.
  • Limited asset classes: Similar to other robo-advisors, SigFig will invest solely in commission-free, index-based ETFs that span nine asset classes. While this is certainly enough to serve as a well-diversified portfolio, investors interested in investments other than ETFs, such as futures and cryptocurrency, may want to look elsewhere.
  • No cash management component: While many of its competitors offer robust cash management services, giving customers access to accounts that allow them to easily save or spend their funds, SigFig solely invests your cash. It does not offer a cash management component, and therefore does not offer FDIC insurance coverage nor interest earned on cash that might be idly sitting by.

SigFig investment approach

Investment optionsETFs
Tax-loss harvesting
Portfolio rebalancing
Smart Beta
Socially Responsible Investing
Fractional shares

Asset allocation

SigFig’s portfolios are crafted from low-cost ETFs, offered across nine asset classes including:

  • U.S. stocks
  • Developed markets stocks
  • Emerging markets stocks
  • Real estate
  • U.S. bonds
  • Treasury inflation-protected securities
  • Municipals
  • Emerging market sovereign debt
  • Short-term U.S. treasuries

The ETFs that SigFig invests in are commission-free and index-based from Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, iShares and Schwab.

Before recommending a portfolio, SigFig has you answer an online questionnaire about your investment goals and current financial situation. Then, you will receive a recommended portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance, which you can open and fund through one of its three partner brokerages.

Like other robo-advisors, SigFig offers conservative, moderate and aggressive portfolios, based on factors such as your risk tolerance and time horizon. It’s worth noting that unlike other robo-advisors, SigFig allows you to adjust your own risk tolerance and asset allocation as you see fit.

Additionally, rebalancing is a core feature of most robo-advisors, and SigFig is no exception. SigFig will rebalance your portfolio when the market moves your portfolio away from its target asset allocation by more than a few percentage points.

Tax strategy

SigFig offers tax-loss harvesting as a way for its customers to potentially decrease their tax liability. With tax-loss harvesting, SigFig will look for opportunities in which it can sell holdings with losses to offset any realized gains, which could ultimately lower your tax bill.

By nature, SigFig also does not trade often, as to not trigger as many taxable events by prioritizing long-term gains over short-term gains. Additionally, if you have an existing account and do not want a particular security to be sold for tax reasons, SigFig allows you to only have a portion of your account managed by them, restricting access from the security you want to keep separate.

SigFig fees

  • Annual management fee: 0.25% per month after the first $10,000
  • Investment expense ratios: Average range is 0.07%-0.15% 

SigFig stands out for its low fees, only charging an annual management fee of 0.25% that is billed monthly only for balances of $10,000 or more.

Other fees include the expense ratio for the underlying ETFs that make up your portfolio, as well as trading fees you may incur if you opt into tax-loss harvesting.

SigFig features and tools

SigFig Managed Account

SigFig differentiates itself from other robo-advisors by offering a feature that manages investment accounts you have at other brokerage firms. If you have an account at TD Ameritrade Institutional, Fidelity or Schwab, you can add SigFig as an advisor to that account, enabling it to deploy its robo-advising services — such as investing your funds in a diversified mix of low-cost ETFs and and automatically rebalancing — to your existing investment account.

If you have an investment account open somewhere other than those three brokerages, SigFig even offers the option to move your account to TD Ameritrade, where it will manage it from there.

Portfolio Tracker

SigFig’s Portfolio Tracker allows you to sync and view all of your existing investment accounts — including 401(k) plans, IRAs and brokerage accounts — at over 80 brokerages, all in one place. It then provides you with weekly email summaries on your portfolios’ performance, free analysis on any issues (such as overexposure to one stock or hidden fees) and insightful charts and graphs.

This is an incredibly useful tool for investors who have multiple accounts — whether at one brokerage or several — and want to ensure that all of their investments are being optimized to reach their full potential.

SigFig user experience

SigFig boasts both an iOS and Android app, which feature clean and uncluttered snapshots of the current state of all of your investment accounts, all in one place. It enhances the user experience through charts and graphs showing investment performance over time, as well as your investments’ potential value.

SigFig really shines when it comes to customer service. In addition to offering access to financial advisors, it offers customer service via phone, email or chat. Customer support is available by phone, Monday through Friday 6 a.m. PST to 3 p.m. PST at 855-9-SigFig, as well as by emailing [email protected] or by using the chat feature on its website (available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. PST to 3 p.m. PST).

SigFig safety and security

  • Partner brokerages are SIPC members
  • SSL encryption

SigFig is not a member of SIPC, but the current brokerage firms that act as custodians of your money are, and therefore your funds are covered by SIPC insurance. SIPC coverage protects up to $500,000 (including up to $250,000 cash), should the brokerage firm fail.

Additionally, SigFig uses a 256-bit SSL encryption to protect your account when you are signing on. You’ll also be required to enter your brokerage credentials before accessing SigFig, as an extra layer of protection.

Is SigFig worth it?

For investors who already have accounts with TD Ameritrade, Fidelity or Schwab, SigFig is an excellent add-on to consider. While it might not be rich in shiny bells and whistles (like automatic recurring investments or cash management accounts), SigFig’s Portfolio Tracker feature and its access to human financial advisors are reasons enough to consider its investment services.

Additionally, SigFig offers benefits for both hands-on and hands-off investors, as it provides you with a recommended portfolio of ETFs while also allowing you to adjust your own risk tolerance (and therefore your own asset allocation) if you see fit. This is a type of flexibility that is typically not offered by robo-advisors.

However, in the case that you do not have a minimum of $2,000 to invest, or you would like to invest outside of ETFs, there are other robo-advisors out there that will likely be a better fit.

Alternatives to SigFig

 Account minimumAnnual feeAccounts offered
SigFig$2,0000.25% for accounts above $10,000Traditional and joint brokerage accounts. Roth, Traditional and SEP IRAs
Betterment $0 0.25% Traditional and joint brokerage accounts, Roth, Traditional and SEP and inherited IRAs, trust accounts
Wealthfront $5000.25% Individual, joint and trust brokerage accounts, Traditional, Roth and SEP IRA accounts, 529 College Savings

SigFig vs. Betterment

The core difference between SigFig and Betterment is in the services they provide. While Betterment operates primarily as a robo-advisor, investing your funds into a Betterment investment account and offering automated portfolio management, SigFig manages investments that are invested in funds at its partner brokerages. Although SigFig also provides automatic portfolio management and recommends portfolios built of ETFs — like Betterment — you do not invest your funds directly into a SigFig account.

Other key differences between SigFig and Betterment are their fee structures. SigFig only charges its 0.25% fee on funds above $10,000, but it requires a $2,000 minimum. Meanwhile, Betterment charges a 0.25% fee on all funds, but does not require a minimum. If you are looking for a new investment account and want to start small, Betterment is likely the better option. However, if you have an existing account at one of SigFig’s partner brokers, SigFig is the more convenient and cost-efficient option.

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on Betterment’s secure website

SigFig vs. Wealthfront

Similar to Betterment, Wealthfront is also its own brokerage, so you are investing your funds directly with them. In contrast, SigFig manages and invests your funds in investment accounts at its partner brokerages. While both SigFig and Wealthfront essentially serve the same function — investing your money in a recommended portfolio made up of low-cost funds — where those accounts actually live is where they differ.

Also similar to Betterment, Wealthfront offers a banking service, providing interest on funds that you keep in cash in its cash management account. If you are looking for an entirely new investment account (as opposed to the management of an existing account), as well as a lower minimum, Wealthfront might be your best bet.

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on Wealthfront’s secure website

All information included in this profile is accurate as of 10/22/2020. For more information, please consult SigFig’s website.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Survey Reveals Many Americans Have ‘No Idea’ Where to Keep Their Money, Especially Gen X and High Earners

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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While a penny saved may be a penny earned, where you keep that penny can determine its purchasing power in the future. In fact, stashing your cash in the right spot is key to maximizing your money — otherwise, you run the risk of your money losing its value over time due to inflation.

However, a new MagnifyMoney survey of over 1,000 respondents reveals a disheartening reality: Nearly 1 in 4 consumers have “no idea” where to put their money. This is especially true for Gen Xers and high-income households. Additionally, we found that the majority of consumers are simply keeping their cash in checking accounts, which are notorious for doling out dismal interest rates.

Key findings

  • Just under 1 in 4 consumers (23%) have no idea where to put their money — including a whopping 43% of Gen X and 41% of households earning at least $100,000.
  • The majority (50%) of consumers keep most of their money in a checking account. The next top two locations are a traditional savings account (14%) and as cash (10%).
  • Americans could seriously be missing out on growing their money through compound interest. When asked where they would stash an extra $10,000, most said either a traditional savings account or a checking account, while far less would turn to more lucrative savings vehicles, such as retirement accounts and the stock market.
  • Overall, baby boomers were more willing to put their money in investment accounts like retirement savings, the stock market or money market accounts than younger consumers, even though younger generations could see higher returns with more time in the market.

Half of consumers keep their money in checking accounts

When it comes to maximizing your money, standard checking accounts are not the best spot to stash your cash, as they are currently doling out an average APY of just 0.121%. Still, our survey found that checking accounts are by far the most popular place for consumers to keep their money, with a staggering 50% of respondents saying they keep the majority of their money in checking. Overall, millennials and women were more likely than other demographic groups to stash their cash in checking.

While checking accounts certainly offer benefits like flexibility and convenience — often by allowing unlimited withdrawals and transfers — they pale in comparison to other accounts in terms of interest or returns earned. Not surprisingly, our survey found that the most common reason that people keep their money in a checking account is convenience.

The second most common place for people to keep their money is in a traditional savings account (14%), with men more likely than women to keep their money in traditional savings, and Gen Xers more likely than millennials and baby boomers. Understandably, as savings accounts are more liquid than other types of accounts like brokerage accounts or even CDs, the most cited reason for keeping the majority of their money in a traditional savings account was “to ensure I can access it in the case of an emergency.”

Interestingly, while high-yield savings accounts offer many of the same benefits as traditional savings accounts, such as liquidity and convenience, survey respondents were far more likely overall to say they keep most of their money in traditional savings accounts (14%) as opposed to high-yield savings accounts (5%).

Meanwhile, we found that the third most common place for consumers to keep their money was simply in cash (10%). Men, millennials and Gen X were the most likely to keep their money in cash. This is especially concerning, as over time, cash can erode in value due to inflation, while other savings vehicles — think brokerage accounts and retirement savings accounts — are not only known to keep pace with inflation, but to outearn it through compounding returns.

Where consumers would deposit a windfall

While our survey found that most consumers are already keeping their funds in checking accounts, traditional savings accounts and as cash, we also discovered that even if people were to receive a windfall, many would not change their savings habits — despite potentially receiving much higher returns elsewhere.

We found that if people were to receive an extra $1,000, they are most likely to put it in their checking account (35%), followed by a traditional savings account (28%) and as cash (13%). That trend continues for even larger dollar amounts, with the top place for putting an extra $10,000 being traditional savings accounts (21%) followed by checking accounts (20%). That tune starts to change with windfalls of $100,000 — in that case, the top spot is a high-yield savings account (17%) followed by retirement savings accounts (16%).

Still, our findings underscore a concerning pattern: Older consumers are far more likely to keep their funds in savings vehicles that need more time to generate lucrative returns. For example, we found that baby boomers were far more likely (23%) than Gen Xers (14%) and millennials (15%) to put an extra $100,000 in their retirement savings fund despite being decades closer to their retirement years and having less time for their returns to compound.

Most people have no idea where to stash their cash

Our survey’s findings suggest that one potential reason that so many consumers store their money in low-yielding accounts could be a lack of knowledge. According to our survey, 23% of consumers feel like they have no idea where they should be putting their money, and a marked 42% of consumers said that they “somewhat” feel that way, too.

We found that men were much more likely (33%) than women (14%) to say that they have no idea where to put their money, as were Gen Xers (43%) when compared to baby boomers (11%) and millennials (22%). Additionally, we found that households making at least $100,000 were more likely than households with lower annual incomes to be uncertain about where to stash their cash.

Overall, we found that retirement savings, emergency funds and general savings are the three savings categories that people wish they knew more about how best to save for in terms of the most appropriate savings vehicle.

Many experts agree that retirement savings should be socked away in retirement-specific savings vehicles, such as 401(k) plans or Roth plans, but determining where to put other savings can be difficult, especially in a low-rate environment. However, DepositsAccounts founder Ken Tumin says that even the small rate difference between traditional savings accounts and high-yield online savings accounts makes a difference.

“The current low-rate environment has made online savings accounts less attractive,” Tumin admits. “The rate advantage over standard checking accounts and savings accounts has diminished. Nevertheless, there is still a rate advantage, and that rate advantage will once again grow in the future when rates eventually rise. It still makes sense to keep money that’s intended to be used for short-term goals or an emergency fund in an online savings account.”

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,029 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded on August 25, 2020.

For the purposes of our survey, generations are defined as the following ages in 2020:

  • Gen Z as ages 18 to 23
  • Millennials as ages 24 to 39
  • Gen X as ages 40 to 54
  • Baby boomers as ages 55 to 74
  • Silent generation as ages 75 and older

Note that while survey responses from Gen Z (age 18-23) and the silent generation (age 75 and older) were factored into the overall percentage totals among all respondents, they were omitted from generational comparisons due to the low sample size among both groups.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.