WiseBanyan Review

January 20, 2015 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

I looked into a service called Betterment some months ago.  It’s an interesting concept whereby you set up regular deposits into your Betterment account, and they invest all of your money in a diversified portfolio for you, automatically.  Your $25 or $50 deposit can get invested immediately in a diversified basket of stocks, bonds, REITS, etc.

Sounds like an excellent idea for auto-investing, but here’s the rub.  They have fees.  These fees aren’t so bad when you have a big chunk of change invested with them, but since I had a pretty small amount to get started with, I’ve avoided them so far.

About two months ago, I read about a service called WiseBanyan.com.  Essentially, they are exactly like Betterment, with one big difference.  They are completely fee free.

One thing I wasn’t excited about with WiseBanyan was the waiting list.  They are rolling their product out over time, and are allowing you to “skip the line” by getting 5 friends to sign up.  If you want to skip the line, now that I’m a member, you can use my link to get an account right away:  Skip the line at WiseBanyan!

Once I had my invite, I had to pick my account type.  Fortunately, they offer a full range of account types:  Personal Investment, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and Traditional IRA.  You can even do a roll-over, but I think that’s a more manual process.

After selecting my account type, I filled out a questionnaire to determine my risk score.  This score is the “dial” that you have control over, to select your investment mix.  You can’t specify your exact asset allocation.  No matter what your score is, the funds your money is invested in are exactly the same.  Based on your risk score, it changes the percentages that go into each investment.  The higher the risk score, the higher your investment in stocks.  The lower your score, the more you invest in bonds and other low risk investments.  If you don’t agree with the risk score that is assigned when filling out the questionnaire, you can simply select the value you prefer.

It took about 5 business days to get my account set up.  After your account is set up, you can log into it and see your actual allocation.  Aside from seeing your current balance and mix of investments, their interface lets you alter your risk score, set up additional accounts, and perhaps most importantly, you can deposit additional funds on a one-time basis (minimum $10 deposit), or setup/adjust your auto-deposit amount and frequency.  You can opt to auto-deposit money Weekly, Monthly, or Quarterly.  The last option is “Pause”, if you wish to stop the auto-deposit process for a time.

I was originally signed up to have a $100 auto-deposit once per month, but changed it to $25 weekly for two reasons:
1.  Dollar-cost averaging.  By putting in smaller amounts of money more frequently, I’m likely to pay a lower overall cost for my basket of investments.
2.  I am paid every two weeks, not once per month.  This means I’ll be able to contribute an extra $100 per year, probably without even missing it.

I’ve had the service for about two weeks, and I’ve seen the value of my account dip down about two percentage points, but now it has reversed course and I’m on the plus side, though just barely.  Of course, that’s just the market.  Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the service.


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Robinhood – Free stock trading – Update Budgeting woes…

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