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How to get free or cheap investment advice

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How to get free or cheap investment advice
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If you’ve listened to Clark for any length of time, you know he’s obsessed with people living below their means and living on less than they make!

When you put money aside long-term, you put yourself in such a powerful position moving forward. You can deal with the unexpected, weather any reversals in fortune and even have control over how long you work before retirement.

So let’s say you are able to live on less than you make and invest some of your money. You want the money you save to work hard for you, right? The most important thing to make that happen is to invest in low-cost funds.

Read more: 7 ways to start investing when you only have $100 or less

What are you paying to invest?

When you buy a mutual fund, an index fund, a stock fund, an exchange-traded fund or whatever else, you pay an annual management fee.

A new study from BuyUpside.com shows that just a difference of 1% in annual fees can mean an $80,000 difference in retirement.

Here’s how the math works. Let’s say you invest $100,000 today with a 5% annual return and you pay 1% in annual fees. In 30 years, you would have $319,694.

Now let’s say you invest $100,000 today with a 5% annual return and you pay 2% in annual fees. In 30 years, you would have $196,439.

Paying what seems to be a measly 1% more in fees (2% instead of 1%) eats an $80,000 hole in your retirement plan! Wow. That’s the difference between just getting by or living the life you want in retirement.

When it comes to investing, a lot of people want a little hand-holding. That’s where Clark’s investing guide comes in handy. It has advice for everybody from beginners to advance investors, no matter whether you’re ready to start investing for the first time or you’re looking to take a step up to the next level.

Of course, sometimes that’s not enough. You may want to get some help picking and rebalancing index and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or other investments. The New York Times put together the following list of companies that will do just that for you on the cheap…

Company Costs Minimum balance
AssetBuilder .20% to .45% of assets $50,000
Betterment .15% to .35% of assets Acct. balances of less than $10K face a $3 monthly charge, unless you auto-deposit $100/month
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Free $5,000
Fidelity Go (still in beta) (still in beta)
Financial Guard $15.95 per month or $149.95 annually None
Folio Investing $29 per month or $290 annually None
FutureAdvisor .5% of assets None
Hedgeable .3% to .75% of assets None
Invessence $250 per year for balances under $100K/ .25% of assets for balances over $100K $5,000
Jemstep Portfolio Manager Free for first $25,000; $17.99 to $69.99 per month after that, depending on balance None
MarketRiders $14.95 per month or $149.95 annually None
Motif Investing None $250
Rebalance IRA .5% of assets, plus $250 start-up fee None/$500 minimum annual fee
SigFig
 
$10/month $2,000
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services .3% of assets $50,000
Wealthfront Free for the first $10,000; .25% after that $500
WiseBanyan None None

Read more: 10 best investment companies for small investors

This one spending change has been proven to save you money

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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