9/12/2018 Robots Can Manage Your Money. But Even They Need Humans. - The New York Times 1/5 Robots Can Manage Your Money. But Even They Need Humans. By Tara Siegel Bernard Sept. 7, 2018 The robots may need some help from humans after all. The rise of so-called roboadvisers has been among the most significant changes to how consumers obtain financial planning advice in the past several years. With low minimum investment requirements and reasonable fees, the automated services have popularized a new way of getting professional help. Customers answer simple questions online, creating investment portfolios that are set on autopilot — all without much interaction with a person. But a growing number of these online services are adding warm-blooded financial planners to the mix, often at less than half the cost of what a traditional adviser charges. Betterment, with $15 billion under management, is one of the more established firms in the category. (Others include Wealthfront and SigFig.) It began as digital only, then added human advisers last year. Now it is driving the cost of its inexpensive advice even lower with a set of financial-planning packages that range from the price of a pair of fancy jeans to the monthly payment on a modest new car. “While we are strong believers in technology’s ability to provide financial advice, there are some areas that technology hasn’t been able to solve yet,” said Nick Holeman, a certified financial planner at Betterment who helps lead its advisory team. “Money is also an emotional thing.” The company’s new product is built on the idea that we seek advice only when we really need it. For some people, it’s when they realize they are financial adults. For others, it may be with the birth of a child who will one day require a college education. Until that moment arrives — whenever that is — “people are fundamentally lazy and don’t want to work on their finances,” said Jon Stein, Betterment’s chief executive, during an interview at the company’s offices in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. He added: “This is about making packages of advice available to anyone.” Subscribe to The Times You have 3 free articles remaining.
9/12/2018 Robots Can Manage Your Money. But Even They Need Humans. - The New York Times 2/5 Not all roboadvisers are adding a human touch. Wealthfront — with $11.3 billion in assets under management, the second-largest independent firm — is committed to remaining digital only.
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