Wealthfront is now managing $20 billion, and it says something big about how differently millennials treat their money
- Robo-adviser Wealthfront now manages $20 billion in client assets, nearly doubling the amount it held eight months ago.
- Wealthfront offers several types of investment accounts, including IRAs for retirement, 529 plans for college savings, and taxable brokerage accounts.
- Wealthfront debuted its Cash Account - a high-yield savings-like product - earlier this year, which it says earned clients a collective total of $10 million in interest in the first four months.
- Millennials are drawn to robo-advisers like Wealthfront for ease of use and low costs.
- Currently, Business Insider readers who sign up for a Wealthfront investment account will receive their first $5,000 managed for free in that account in perpetuity.
Millennials are growing increasingly comfortable with robots handling their cash.
Wealthfront, an online investing platform, now holds $20 billion in client assets, according to a tweet from Daniel Carroll, Wealthfront's founder and chief strategy officer. That's nearly double the amount of money the robo-adviser managed at the start of 2019, he noted.
Having navigated their teenage and early adult years alongside the dawn of the internet and smartphones, millennials appear less skeptical of using non-human advisers to invest their money than other generations. According to a survey by Global X ETFs, a New York-based provider of exchange-traded funds, one in five millennials with over $100,000 in investable assets said they are comfortable with using a robo-adviser, compared to 11% of Gen Xers and 3% of baby boomers.
"Millennials use robo advisors because they remove the perceived 'guess work' out of investing, which provides a measure of comfort to hesitant millennial investors. And often, robo advisors offer cheaper fees than human advisors, which also makes them attractive to this group," Business Insider Intelligence's Andrew Meola previously reported.
Wealthfront offers a suite of investment accounts, including traditional, SEP, and Roth IRAs for retirement savings; 529 college savings plans; individual and joint taxable accounts; and trusts. Wealthfront charges a low advisory fee of 0.25%, in addition to per fund expense ratios between 0.07%-0.16%. To invest, clients need a minimum balance of just $500.
The robo-adviser also offers tax-loss harvesting for investors at every level and free financial planning.
In a 2018 analysis of client data, Wealthfront found that its youngest investors have the highest savings rates. Those aged 20 to 25 were saving 18% of their annual pretax salary, on average - about triple the national average savings rate.
Wealthfront's cash account earned savers $10 million in interest in the first 4 months
Wealthfront's huge growth so far in 2019 is attributable, at least in part, to its efforts to branch out beyond investing.
In February, Wealthfront made its first foray into traditional banking with the debut of its Cash Account, a high-yield savings-like account offering a 2.24% APY on all balance tiers. Over the next several months, Wealthfront steadily increased the rate on its cash account, topping out at a whopping 2.57%.
In the first four months, Wealthfront says its clients earned a total of $10 million in interest on their cash accounts.
Wealthfront reduced the APY on its high-yield account in August in response to the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut. The Cash Account currently offers an industry-leading 2.32% APY and is still fee-free, requires a minimum opening deposit of just $1, allows unlimited transfers, and is FDIC-insured up to $1 million.
Wealthfront recommends its cash account for storing money that's going to be used within five years, whether it's an emergency fund, down payment for a home, or an upcoming expense. Savers shoring up cash to invest can also easily transfer money from a cash account into an investment account at Wealthfront.
Carroll told Business Insider that Wealthfront is working to expand its traditional banking offers with direct deposit, bill pay, and a debit card.
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