Cost: Free for accounts with less than $10,000, otherwise 0.25% a year
If you've got a stash of cash, but no idea what to do with it, Wealthfront thinks it can help. The site is the fastest-growing online financial advisor, with assets ballooning from less than $100 million at the start of 2013 to more than $400 million currently.
Based on your finances, investment goals, and risk tolerance, Wealthfront determines how to allocate your money across low-cost index exchange traded funds that invest in stocks, bonds and commodities around the globe. It continues to monitor and automatically rebalance your portfolio to maintain the target allocation.
For accounts with between $5,000 and $10,000, its advice and management services are free. For accounts with more than $10,000, Wealthfront charges an annual fee of 0.25%, and includes a service to help minimize an investor's capital gains tax liability.
Wealthfront's investment team is led by Burton Malkiel, author of the investing classic "A Random Walk Down Wall Street." Malikiel has been a long-time proponent of portfolio diversification and passive investing.
"A significant amount of research has proven that a majority of mutual funds underperform the market," said Adam Nash, chief operating officer at Wealthfront. "So we can't control the ups and downs of the market, but we can control our diversification, the fees we pay and our taxes. Those are things we do really well for our clients." --H.Y.