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Wisebanyan Review 2019

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

One of the newer online robo-advisory companies on the block, WiseBanyan makes a bold claim as “the world’s first free financial advisor.” It charges no fees for its robo-advisory services, choosing to make money on add-on packages, such as tax loss harvesting and premium portfolio choices, instead. For tax loss harvesting, the company charges 0.24% of assets annually up to $20 a month. The firm charges $3 a month for its Portfolio Plus package, which offers more investment options. For another $2 a month, you can set up customized auto-deposits into your account.

To get started with WiseBanyan, you need to deposit at least $1 and answer some questions about your risk tolerance and goals. From there, you can set as many goals as you’d like, from college savings to an emergency fund to retirement. The software then recommends a portfolio of investments — all low-cost ETFs — you can pick from to choose your desired strategy.

The website is simple and easy to use, and customer service is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. You can call in with questions, and while you may not reach an advisor initially, your request can be forwarded to an advisor if needed. You also can send an email, and the website features a chat service for members.

WiseBanyan
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The bottom line: For a beginning investor or someone looking for a no-frills, no-fee way to invest, WiseBanyan offers easy entry into the marketplace.

  • There are no fees for basic account management.
  • You can open an account for as little as $1.
  • Rebalancing is free, but tax loss harvesting carries a fee.

Who should consider WiseBanyan

WiseBanyan is a good option for a new investor or anyone looking for a low-cost way to invest and manage a portfolio online. There aren’t a lot of account options — just Individual taxable accounts and IRAs for now — but the company plans to start offering joint accounts and UGMA accounts in early 2019. WiseBanyan offers automatic rebalancing and access to a variety of low-fee ETFs. The site allows you to work toward specific milestones, such as retirement planning, building up a rainy day fund, and buying a home or vehicle.

That said, for someone looking specifically for tax loss harvesting, WiseBanyan’s fees are comparable to other robo-advisors that include it in their service offerings. And anyone interested in including other types of investments in their portfolio or integrating advice for other kinds of accounts — such as 401(k)s — may want to try a more full-featured option.

WiseBanyan fees and features

Amount minimum to open account
  • $1
Management fees
  • $0 for basic services
  • 0.24% annual fee for Tax Protection package add-on
  • $3 per month for Portfolio Plus add-on
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $75 full account transfer fee for taxable accounts, $85 for IRAs
  • $75 partial account transfer fee for taxable accounts, $85 for IRAs
  • $0 inactivity fee
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • SEP IRA
Portfolio
  • 10 as part of basic service, 32 as part of Portfolio Plus ($3 a month)
Automatic rebalancing
Tax loss harvesting
Tax loss harvesting detailWiseBanyan offers a Tax Protection package that includes tax loss harvesting, selective trading and automated IRA deposits.
Offers fractional shares
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android
Customer supportPhone, Chat, Email

Strengths of WiseBanyan

  • No basic account fees: Just like it promises, WiseBanyan charges no account fees aside from the expenses of the investments themselves, which are low (the average expense ratio is 0.12%). That’s a big advantage in a field where other companies charge 0.25% to 0.50% for assets under management, depending on the amount.
  • Low account minimum: You can open an account at WiseBanyan for as little as $1, so even a beginning investor can get started easily. Compare that to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which requires at least $5,000 to open an account, and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which requires at least $50,000.
  • Automatic rebalancing: When you make a deposit or withdrawal or earn dividends, WiseBanyan’s software examines your portfolio and rebalances it as needed based on the amount of free cash available or asset classes that have drifted off base.
  • Investment options: WiseBanyan points its clients toward low-cost ETFs, primarily from companies like Vanguard, iShares and State Street Global Advisors. For another $3 a month, you can gain access to a total of 32 asset classes (up from 10 asset classes with the basic package) so you can better put together a versatile portfolio.

Drawbacks of WiseBanyan

  • Tax loss harvesting costs: While many robo advisors offer tax loss harvesting as part of their basic service, WiseBanyan does not — and if you opt in, you’ll pay a monthly fee of either 0.02% of your average account value or $20, whichever is less.
  • Limited account options: For now, you can open only a taxable account or a traditional, Roth or SEP IRA. WiseBanyan plans to offer Joint taxable and UGMA accounts, but it also plans to charge for the option of the Joint taxable account. (It isn’t sure what it’ll charge yet.) For now, users can share their goals with each other on the platform, allowing both people to see what kind of progress they’re making toward the same goal, but they can’t work together in the same account — and that functionality might also be fee-based once WiseBanyan offers joint accounts.
  • Guidance is a work in progress: Although the site leads new customers through a goal and risk questionnaire to gauge where they hope to go and how soon they hope to get there, the technology does not yet take other assets into account — such as how much they’ve already saved. That can lead to some unhelpful advice on how much a client needs to save in order to reach their goals. The company continues to tweak functionality as customers provide feedback on the service.

Is WiseBanyan safe?

All investments carry risk, and WiseBanyan is a new player in the game, launching in 2014. In late 2018, however, Axos Financial, a nationwide bank with approximately $10 billion in assets, signed a deal to acquire the company. WiseBanyan itself has 25,000 users and $170 million in assets under management, and the company is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000.

Final thoughts

For newer investors looking to save on costs or seeking basic investing functionality with some algorithm-based guidance, WiseBanyan is an economical way to go. The software will suggest a low-cost, balanced, ETF-based portfolio that takes into account your risk tolerance, goals and time horizon, but you also have the freedom to adjust your ratios or go off-plan. Tax loss harvesting and additional portfolio choices are available for a small add-on fee.

If you’re an advanced investor or someone who is looking for more investment choices or hoping for tax loss harvesting as part of a more full-featured package, another robo-advisor, such as Wealthsimple, might be better suited to you.

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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.

Kate Ashford
Kate Ashford |

Kate Ashford is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kate here

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Investing

Ally Invest Review 2019

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

If you’re looking for an online discount broker with no minimum investment requirement, Ally Invest may be perfect for you. Ally Invest is an ideal choice not just because you don’t need a fortune to open an account, but also because commission fees for trades are well below many competitors — especially for active traders who can earn discounts.

While Ally Invest is missing some common tools for investment research and their mobile app isn’t as feature-rich as some competitors, their full-featured online platform makes up for what the mobile app lacks. And, there’s a wide range of account options with Ally Invest, so you’re covered whether you want a taxable account, a retirement account, or an account for your kids.

Ally Invest
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The Bottom Line: Ally Invest is an affordable discount broker with a wide range of investments to choose from.

  • Commissions are just $4.95 or $3.95 if you’re an active trader.
  • There’s no minimum deposit required for a self-directed trading account, and no minimum account balance requirement.
  • Ally Invest offers tons of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures and forex.

Who should consider Ally Invest

If you’re looking for an affordable investment account, Ally Invest should be at the top of your list. You’ll have many choices for different types of accounts with Ally Invest, including traditional and Roth IRA, IRAs for the self-employed, taxable investment accounts, 529 Plan, and more. And, you won’t have to make a minimum deposit to open your account — it’s free.

Once you’ve got your account open, Ally Invest makes trading affordable for most investments. Commissions for stock trades are among the lowest of any online discount broker, and Ally Invest offers more than 100 commission-free ETFs. If you’re looking to buy Mutual funds though, you’ll pay a transaction fee, whereas some competitors offer ample fee-free options.

Ally Invest’s online trading platform is easy to use, and their research tools are good. While you won’t find earnings transcripts, SEC filings, earnings press releases or audio calls, you can still dig into technical data using free screeners and other tools powered by Recognia.

If you don’t want to manage all the investments on your own, you can opt for a managed account. This is Ally’s robo-advisor option — but you’ll need a minimum of $2,500 if you’d prefer this hands-off approach rather than a self-directed trading account.

Ally Invest fees and features

Current promotions

New Ally Invest accounts accounts receive 90 days of commission-free trades, up to $500 in value, regardless of deposit amount. Cash bonuses are available for new accounts starting at $50 for if you deposit or transfer at least $10,000.

Stock trading fees
  • $4.95 per trade
  • $3.95 per trade (30+ trades per quarter or daily balance of $100,000 or more)
Amount minimum to open account
  • $0
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures / commodities
  • Forex
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $50 full account transfer fee
  • $50 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • 529 Plan
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account(ESA)
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android , Windows phone
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email

Strengths of Ally Invest

Ally Invest has plenty of strengths to help it stand out from the competition, including the following:

  • Low commissions: You pay just a $4.95 commission with Ally Invest, which is one of the lowest commissions charged by discount brokers and well below the $6.95 charged by competitors including E-Trade and TD Ameritrade. Plus, if you make more than 30 trades per quarter or have a daily balance of $100,000 or more, your commission is even lower — it drops to just $3.95.
  • No minimum deposit required: While competitors such as E-Trade require a $500 minimum deposit to open an account, Ally doesn’t have any minimum initial deposit requirement. You can also earn a cash bonus for opening an Ally Invest account if you deposit or transfer just $10,000, compared with a $25,000 minimum to earn a cash bonus with E-Trade or $20,000 with Merrill Edge.
  • Powerful tools and intuitive trading platform: Ally Invest’s online site offers you powerful tools to screen investments. Its trading platform is intuitive and provides the features necessary to be an informed investor. This includes a dashboard you can customize to your preferred view, as well as real-time streaming quotes and up-to-date data.
  • Responsive online and phone customer service: You can contact Ally Invest via phone 24/7. There’s also an online chat feature, where you can get answers within seconds from helpful customer service agents. Email support is available as well.

Drawbacks of Ally Invest

Ally Invest also has some downsides to consider:

  • Mutual fund transaction fees: Ally Invest charges a $9.95 transaction fee per trade for no-load Mutual funds. But many competitors offer options without any transaction fees, including E-Trade, which offers more than 4,400 fee-free funds.
  • A mobile app with minimal features: While you can do the basics with Ally Invest’s mobile app, it offers far fewer features and investment tools than competitor apps such as TD Ameritrade Mobile.
  • No physical branches: Ally Invest is an online-only company. There are no physical branches, unlike for competitors such as Merrill Edge, or E-Trade which has more than 30 branches spread across the country.

Is Ally Invest safe?

Ally Invest is a trusted online brokerage with more than $4.7 billion in assets under management. It’s a member of the FDIC and SIPC, so you can rest assured that the cash in your accounts is safe. And since the company has passed its FINRA broker check, you can count on the fact it’s in full compliance with regulations.

Since Ally Invest is online-only, it’s important to review Ally’s data protection policies. The good news is Ally promises that they use “multiple levels of security” to keep your info safe. This includes 128-bit SSL encryption for any exchange of data from your browser and Ally’s servers if your personal information is being transmitted. The downside, however, is that Ally’s privacy policy does permit Ally to share your information with third-parties. While this is a common policy, it’s still disappointing.

Of course, once you invest your money, there’s always a risk of losses. Research what you’re investing in carefully and diversify your portfolio to minimize risks you’re taking.

Bottom line

Thanks to the fact it has no minimum deposit requirement, Ally Invest is a great choice if you’re looking to get started investing and you don’t have a ton of money. Affordable commissions and commission-free ETFs also give you a diverse offering of low-cost or no-cost investment options. But if you’d prefer to buy Mutual funds without paying transaction fees or want a physical branch to visit, alternatives such as E-Trade or Merrill Edge may be a better choice to meet your needs.

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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.

Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy |

Christy Rakoczy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Christy here

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Investing

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Review 2019

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

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a robo-advisor option from a trusted online-only financial institution.

It can make managing your money simple: Just answer a few basic questions about your goals and risk tolerance and your funds are invested for you. However, while fees are competitive, they aren’t the lowest among other robo-advisors’ offerings.

If you don’t mind the lack of bonus for opening the account, and you want to take a hands-off approach to building wealth, Ally Invest may be a good option.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
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The Bottom Line: Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a decent robo-advisor that’s competitive with other managed portfolios online. But its lack of tax-loss harvesting, and fees that slightly exceed competitors may prompt you to look elsewhere if you’re not already an Ally customer.

  • The minimum deposit to invest in Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is $100
  • 0.00% management fee, no matter how high your account balance
  • Customer service is available 24/7, but there are no local branches to visit

Who should consider Ally Invest Managed Portfolios?

If you’re looking for a robo-advisor that allows you to build a diversified portfolio without a lot of advanced knowledge about investing, Ally Invest Managed Portfolios has you covered.

You’ll answer a few questions about your age; timeline for investing and risk tolerance; and whether you’re investing for retirement, wealth-building or a big purchase. Then, Ally Invest comes back with a recommended portfolio you can accept or tweak.

You can open a joint, custodial or Individual taxable account with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios, or can opt for a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or Rollover IRA. Unfortunately, unlike with Ally Invest’s self-directed accounts, there’s no promotion or bonus for transferring funds into a managed portfolio. And, you’ll need quite a bit of money to get started — more than many competitors in the robo-advisor industry require.

Still, if you don’t mind the lack of brick-and-mortar locations and marginally higher fees, Ally Invest is a worthy competitor to consider when looking for help managing your money.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios fees and features

Amount minimum to open account
  • $100
Management fees
  • 0.00%
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $50 full account transfer fee
  • $50 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Current promotions

None currently

Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • 529 Plan
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
Portfolio
  • Ally managed portfolios cover 3 asset classes and 9 major market segments
Automatic rebalancing
Tax loss harvesting
Offers fractional shares
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android, Windows Phone
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email

Strengths of Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios has some significant advantages worth considering:

  • Investing in a diversified portfolio is easy. You’ll answer basic questions about your investment goals and Ally Invest will suggest a portfolio with an appropriate mix of U.S. and foreign bonds, international and U.S. stocks, and cash. You can also tweak the suggestions Ally Invest Managed Portfolios makes, so you take on more or less risk based on your comfort level.
  • Ally requires a low minimum deposit of just $100 to open a managed portfolio account. While some of Ally’s competitors (such as Betterment) don’t have a minimum deposit requirement at all, $100 still falls on the very low side of the scale and makes this account extremely accessible to new investors.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios offers automatic portfolio rebalancing. This helps to ensure you remain invested in the right mix of assets if certain investments under- or over-perform.
  • Customer service. Ally Invest offers phone, Email, and chat support. Customer service agents are available 24/7 with little or no wait. Agents will do their best to provide answers, although it may take a little time if your questions are technical since you may need to be transferred to an investment advisor.

Drawbacks of Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

You’ll also want to consider the potential downsides of choosing Ally Invest Managed Portfolios.

  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios charges fees that are slightly higher than several competitors. You’ll pay .30% for Ally’s robo-advisor service, compared with .25% for Betterment’s digital account or for Wealthfront.
  • Ally Invest Managed Portfolios currently does not offer tax loss harvesting, which involves selling investments at a loss to offset taxable gains (although they do offer tax advantaged portfolios which add municipal bonds to Ally’s core portfolios). Competitors such as Betterment do offer this feature. However, Ally representatives indicate tax loss harvesting is expected to be rolled out in 2019 and investors with managed portfolios will be able to transition their accounts into a portfolio with tax loss harvesting.
  • No physical branches. If you’d prefer to go into a branch for local customer support, you’ll need to look elsewhere, such as E-Trade, which has more than 30 branches across the country.
  • Mobile apps aren’t very advanced. While Ally Invest allows you to use mobile apps on iPhone and Android phones to access basic account information, the offered apps aren’t as feature-rich as competitors such as Betterment.

Is Ally Invest Managed Portfolios safe?

Whenever you invest your money, there’s a risk you may lose some or all of it. This is no different with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios. The assets your robo-advisor invests you in could decline in value and your portfolio could lose money.

But Ally Invest is as safe as any trusted online brokerage, and there’s little risk of losing assets if the investment firm goes bankrupt. Ally Invest is in compliance with regulatory requirements according to FINRA’s Broker Check tool. Ally Invest is also a member of the FDIC and SIPC, both of which ensure cash in bank and brokerage accounts respectively.

Final thoughts

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is a viable choice for investors looking for an easy, hands-off way to invest — especially with its low $100 minimum deposit requirement. Ally also promises to offer a broad range of socially-responsible portfolios, which should interest investors who want to consider more than just financial returns. But the lack of a promotional offer, higher management fees, and the fact tax loss harvesting isn’t currently offered makes Ally a less-than-ideal option for investors looking for the most affordable way to build a diversified portfolio. If you want a lower-cost option that does offer tax-loss harvesting, consider robo-advisors such as Betterment or Wealthfront.

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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.

Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy |

Christy Rakoczy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Christy here