Robo-Advisor Investing vs DIY Investing: Which is Better?

Robo-Advisor Investing vs DIY Investing: Which is Better?

Historically, anyone seeking assistance with their investment portfolio was expected to consult a financial advisor. Due to the availability of investment education, novices were compelled to either pay for expert guidance or proceed without a firm foundation of knowledge. However, advisers typically target high-value clients who are prepared to pay a premium for their services.

This is not an assault on the advisory community; having a professional manage your finances can be invaluable if you need assistance with complex matters such as estate and tax planning, or if you simply wish to delegate that responsibility. Nonetheless, there is a substantial unmet demand among those who cannot afford them.

In the past decade or so, numerous automated investment solutions have been developed in an effort to serve this clientele. Most individuals have discovered success with intermediaries such as robo-advisors.

Define “robo-advisor.”

The robo-advisor is the digital equivalent of a conventional financial advisor. Typically, you would utilize a mobile application or a web application to obtain access. 

After entering some fundamental information about yourself, the robo-advisor will recommend multiple investment strategies. The robo-advisor will then invest your funds in the assets it deems optimal for you. Unlike many other guidance systems, the robo-advisor (similar to a human financial advisor) will make the final investment decision for you.

How do robo-advisors generate revenue?

These services are not offered without charge. A robo-advisor will charge you a fee for their financial advice and management services. Costs vary dependent on the provider, so there is no fixed figure. Nonetheless, it is common for robo-advisors to charge 0.25 percent of your assets annually in fees. In reality, financial advisors charge substantially more, typically between 0.75 and 1 percent per year.

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Can you effectively invest using a robo-advisor?

There is no definitive answer to this question, although it appears that “no” describes the situation the majority of the time. Robo-advisors typically invest in a combination of bonds and index ETFs to match your specified risk profile. Some even hold a portion of your funds in cash.

Despite the fact that bonds are a diversified asset that can help reduce the risk of stocks, their historically low yields over the past decade may be inhibiting the growth of the remainder of the portfolio.  This could cause your portfolio to underperform the S&P 500 as a whole.

Robo-advisors can charge fees on top of the returns from the index tracking funds they select for you, so you may always lag the market.

The performance of an automated advisor.

According to research conducted by BackEnd Benchmarking, the highest annualized return offered by a group of twenty US-based robo-advisors between the end of 2017 and the middle of 2020 was 4.71 percent. During the same period, the S&P 500 returned 9.53 percent per year. 

This implies that the best robo-advisor returned less than half of what the index against which they were most readily measured provided. During the same time period, even the best robo-advisor would have underperformed an investment in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that follows the S&P 500. Remember that among these 20 participants, this one had the best performance. None of the analyzed robo-advisors generated returns that outperformed inflation. 

Robotic investment advisors do not guarantee a profit. Investments can result in losses, and robo-advisors are no exception. As long as you maintain your funds invested, they remain susceptible to market volatility. The use of automated advisors will not provide protection against this.

The risk of financial loss due to underperformance is another consideration. As we saw in the preceding illustration, some robo-advisors actually offered returns below the rate of inflation. 

If this occurs, it may appear that you have made a small profit, but you have actually lost money.

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Is the use of a robo-advisor secure?

Generally, robo-advisors provide their clients with secure investment opportunities. However, this does not render them entirely secure. Even with the less risky options provided by some robo-advisors, there is always the possibility of incurring losses when investing. Keep in mind that robo-advisors will tailor their advice to your particular requirements and budget. A robo-advisor may steer you toward hazardous investments. The easiest way to protect yourself from this is to investigate where your money is being invested and ensure you are comfortable with the risks involved.

What is DIY investing?

DIY investing is the process of making financial investments, such as stock and share purchases and sales, with the goal of maximizing profits and minimizing losses.

Agriculture crops (rice, wheat, cattle), energy-related products (oil and natural gas, renewable energy), and precious metals (gold, silver, aluminum) are a few examples of investable tangible assets. You can also invest in less tangible assets such as directions (contracts for difference) and, uh, fictitious currency (cryptocurrencies).

The maxim “buy low, sell high” is common knowledge when it comes to earning money in the stock market, making stocks and securities stand out.

Due to the complexity of the market, however, successful DIY investing requires significant time, effort, and research.

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Who are the people who should consider doing their own investing?

To be successful at investing on your own, you must be self-motivated, disciplined, and determined, as well as have a moderate to high level of knowledge and expertise. It may be difficult to gain entry, and mistakes may be costly.

In exchange, however, enormous quantities of money can be made, sometimes very quickly.

If you have the rare ability to predict the rise and decline of brands and businesses, the effects of climate change on water supplies, and the trajectory of prices, you can earn a comfortable living as a trader.

The benefits here extend far beyond monetary gain, as there is much to learn, experiment with, and contemplate. As a career path in and of itself, assisting others to achieve success in do-it-yourself investment can be lucrative.

Should you invest by yourself or with a robot?

Remember that there are more than two ice cream flavors and that life isn’t black and white if you’re still on the fence. Why not explore both? Half of your investment allocation should be allocated to an automated advisor. The remaining funds can be used to initiate independent investment initiatives.

Examine your tax returns after one to two years. You should likely stick with the strategy that yields the greatest results.

Saumick has been writing about disruptive technologies since 2015 and has worked closely with developers, analysts, and marketers. Other than being a tech-storyteller, Saumick is an avid reader and a passionate drummer.