Betterment.com is a new online investment site that is very different than other online brokerages. Designed to work like a savings account (but not FDIC insured, these are investments in stocks and bonds), Betterment is meant to generally offer a better return on your money than an online savings bank. As you 'deposit' money, Betterment.com invests your cash in a portfolio of stocks and bonds that have been meticulously researched to offer good returns and low cost. But you don't pay any trading costs for these stock/bond purchases. So you've saved enough for a down payment on a new car? Make a withdrawal from Betterment and pay nothing in 'sell' costs. Betterment draws its fee from a quarterly 0.9% 'advisory fee' assesed to your account. There is no minimum balance to open an account with Betterment. The company offers an automatic savings plan. When I have had need of customer service, both the phone and online people have been very helpful. Bottom line is, I have found Betterment to be a great service so far, and the fee is minimal for the amount I am investing. It is probably not for everyone, but if your intention is to get a better return for your money while saving it up for a large purchase, I think Betterment is a great option.
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