• What is a goal?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 1:45PM EDT

    ​Your Betterment investment account is customizable into separate sub-accounts called “goals”. Goals can be designated for different purposes, each with its own portfolio, target balance, time horizon, and deposit/withdrawal schedule. You can create new Goals by clicking the "Add Account" button, and then specifying the type of advice you would like for that Goal. 

    Goals allow you to save and invest for multiple things at the same time while customizing the investment needs for each one.  We will recommend an asset allocation and how much you need to contribute in order to increase your chances of achieving your Goal. Over time, we provide updated advice for your goals designed to balance risk and returns. To read more about how our asset allocation advice changes based on the Goal type, read Our Goals and Advice Explained.

    Some popular goals are:

    1. IRAs - to help save for retirement or rollover from other financial institutions
    2. Safety Net - for emergencies and short term savings
    3. Build Wealth - for those who want to invest aggressively over a much longer period of time. 

    Please note that personal or joint taxable accounts can have as many goals as you would like. IRAs are limited to one retirement goal for each type of IRA (Roth and Traditional), since IRAs are specifically for retirement.

  • What accounts should I set up and which allocations are best?

    Last Updated: May 03, 2017 7:58PM EDT
    Your Betterment investment can be easily divided into different segments or sub-accounts called “goals”. Goals can be designated for different purposes, each with its own portfolio, target balance, time horizon, and deposit/withdrawal schedule. Goals allow you to save and invest for multiple things at the same time while customizing the investment needs for each one.
    To create a new goal, simply click the "Add Account" button on the summary page of your account and follow the instructions.
    Some popular goals are:
    1. Safety Net: Grow your savings to cover 3 to 6 months of unplanned expenses in a conservatively-invested portfolio. Safety net goals have a fixed stock recommendation at 40%, to balance the need to retain value in drawdowns with the desire for inflation-beating growth.

    2. Retirement: Invest long-term for the savings you plan to spend in retirement. This can be a regular investment account called “Retirement” or a tax-advantaged account such as a Roth IRA or traditional IRA. We will recommend a more conservative allocation as you get closer to your goal.

    3. General Investing: Grow and preserve capital over time in a “Build Wealth” goal. This is an excellent goal type for unknown future needs or money you plan to pass on to future generations. The recommended allocation for this type of goal defaults to a target based on your age, but the recommendation will adjust itself as you update the time horizon on the Advice page of your account.

    4. Major Savings: Save for big purchase goals, (e.g., a down payment for a home, tuition or other big goal). This goal has a specific target date and target amount, and we give advice that follows a tailored glide path to a nearly zero-risk portfolio right when you want the money.
    ​Depending on the goal you choose, we factor in the amount of your initial deposit (and frequency of scheduled auto-deposits) and your age or time horizon to arrive at specific suggestions that will keep you on track to meet your goal. The allocation recommendation for each goal is designed to take on the optimum amount of risk to optimize for expected returns.

    As you get closer to your goal, we continue to provide updated advice to balance risk and reward. If you fall off-track, we will advise you on the best way to get back on track to reach your goal on the advice page of your account.
    Your Betterment pricing plan is always based on the sum of your account balance across goals.

    Read more about goal-based investing in our resource center:
  • How do I confirm my bank account?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 1:52PM EDT
    To add a checking account, we need to make sure you own that account by having you confirm two small verification deposits/withdrawals which will be sent via ACH. After entering your bank account information, you will then complete the following steps to confirm your bank account with Betterment:
    • Log into your checking account at your bank.
    • Find the two small amounts under $1.00 we have deposited and immediately withdrawn from your account – please note, you may have to wait up to two business days to see these deposits.
    • Log into your account at Betterment.com.
    • On the Transfer tab, in the Confirm Two Small Deposits window, tell us the values of the two random deposits in your account.
    • That's it, you're ready to start investing!
  • How do I add a Beneficiary?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:44PM EDT

    To add a beneficiary, click your name at the top right-hand corner after logging into your account and choose "Settings". Once here, select "Accounts" from the sub-header and enter your beneficiary information for each account. You may also log into your Settings page directly here.

  • What happens when I deposit money with Betterment?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 1:56PM EDT
    When you deposit money with Betterment, your money is transferred to Betterment Securities, a FINRA member broker-dealer, with instructions to buy ETFs based on your desired asset allocation between stocks and bonds (Betterment’s two investment baskets). You own shares in the stock and bond ETFs that Betterment recommends for these two baskets and Betterment manages buying and selling them for you.

    Your funds are automatically invested within 1-2 business days into Betterment's portfolio, based on our algorithm's recommended mix of funds, tailored to your individual needs. You'll receive a confirmation email that details the shares purchased, and your Betterment balance will update daily based on the market value of those shares. As Betterment is a long-term passive investment platform, rather than an self-directed trading platform, we do not keep your funds in cash, nor do you select specific securities to purchase.
  • What is my account number?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:45PM EDT
    You can view your account number(s) here:
    1. Log in to your Betterment profile on a desktop or laptop
    2. Click your name at the top right 
    3. Select "Settings" from the drop-down
    4. Navigate to the Accounts tab from the sub-header
    5. You'll see all applicable account numbers listed on the Accounts tab
  • I don't live in the United States, can I still have an account?

    Last Updated: January 12, 2017 4:40PM EST
    Betterment currently only operates in the United States*, and for regulatory reasons cannot accept customers residing outside the country.

    Customers must have a permanent U.S. address, a U.S. Social Security Number, and a checking account from a U.S. bank.

    *Betterment supports residents in Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. We currently do not support residents in Guam or the Virgin Islands.
  • Do I have to change banks to use Betterment?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 2:27PM EDT
    Not at all. Keep your checking account at your traditional bank for your day-to-day transactions and use your Betterment account for all your medium and long term savings and investments. By electronically linking your Betterment account with your checking account you can easily move money between those accounts whenever you want.
  • Can I have a goal without a target?

    Last Updated: January 12, 2017 4:33PM EST
    Yes. Our “General Investing” goal doesn't have a defined target date or amount. By default, we select an allocation appropriate for your age, with a maximum of 90% stocks and a minimum of 55% stocks. You can always adjust the specific allocation yourself.

    If you change your mind about having a goal target, you edit your advice type using the ellipses found to the right of your goal from your Summary page. 
  • How do I edit or delete a goal?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:51PM EDT
    To delete or edit your goals, click on the ellipses on the top right side of any goal on the Summary page. 

    If you need to change other aspects of your goal, such as your goal target amount, you 
    can go to the Advice page. There are no additional fees for multiple goals, and you are welcome to have up to ten general taxable investment goals. This is in addition to a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA that you may have within your Betterment account.

    Please note that if you are unable to delete a goal, it may be because it's the only goal you have. In this case, you can create a new goal and proceed to delete the goal you wish to no longer keep.
  • How do I transfer between goals?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:53PM EDT
    You can transfer funds between non-IRA goals by clicking on ellipses at the top right hand side of each goal box on the Summary page.

    Please note that you can only transfer between goals in the same legal account. If you want to transfer funds between multiple accounts (e.g. a personal account and a trust), please contact us at support@betterment.com.

    Due to IRS rules regarding contributions to an IRA account, transferring funds into an IRA would need to be done by withdrawing the funds from your current account and then depositing the funds into your IRA goal.

    The IRS requires that all contributions be in the form of cash to an IRA account. While the portfolio and equities will be the same, we are required to keep a separation of the two accounts, which is why we cannot simply move the funds over. We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • How do I add a bank account to Betterment with Plaid?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 2:24PM EDT
    After you input your username and password for your bank account, Betterment will retrieve your bank account and routing numbers, as well as your current bank balance (“Account Information”) via Plaid.

    Betterment will not store your username and password for your bank account. Plaid will provide Betterment an access token that exclusively allows Betterment to retrieve your Account Information. All information transmitted between Plaid and Betterment is encrypted over a 256-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and secured with bank level protection. All information Betterment receives from Plaid will be governed by Betterment’s Privacy Policy.

    By using Plaid through Betterment, you agree to the above terms and further agree to hold Betterment harmless from losses of any kind that may result from Plaid’s use, misuse, or loss of your personal information and Account Information.

    ​To learn how Plaid uses and protects your information, please see Plaid’s terms and conditions.
  • Can I add a minor as a beneficiary?

    Last Updated: January 12, 2017 4:20PM EST
    We do not recommend you do so. Betterment only supports accounts for individuals the ages of 18 or older. If a minor should be appointed as a beneficiary of an account, Betterment may require court-appointed custodial documentation or an official guardian for the minor beneficiary prior to any funds being transferred. Setting a minor as a beneficiary may cause unforeseen delays. 

    Note that Betterment can support trust accounts where a minor has been designated as the beneficiary. However, the trustee of the trust must be at least 18 years of age.
  • How do I see my free time remaining?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:56PM EDT
    You can review your pricing plan and remaining free time by clicking your name at the top right hand side of your page, then clicking "Settings", and finally navigating to the "Accounts" page. There you can see free time listed for each account.
  • What mobile platforms does Betterment support?

    Last Updated: April 24, 2017 2:30PM EDT
    Betterment supports apps on iOS and Android. You can download them below:

  • Can I link more than one bank account?

    Last Updated: April 26, 2017 1:57PM EDT
    Only one bank account can be added to each Betterment account. This measure is in place to ensure the security of your funds. 

    It is best to move funds you wish to invest with Betterment into your primary bank account and link that with Betterment to make deposits. To change your currently linked bank, select your name in the upper right corner, choose "Settings", then select the "Bank accounts" tab. You'll see options to either add, relink, or link a different bank account. 

    You can only change your bank account when logged in on the website. For security purposes, it is not possible to change your bank account via the Betterment mobile app. 
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