Finance Your Budget When entrusting financial decisions to robo-advisers can make sense

When entrusting financial decisions to robo-advisers can make sense

Paying an adviser between $1500 and $2500 for a full-blown financial plan isn't necessary for everybody. Photo: Getty
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If you’re like many Australians with less complicated financial situations and fewer assets, paying an adviser between $1500 and $2500 for a full-blown financial plan would simply be overkill.

However, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from some specific financial advice.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

According to a 2017 ASX investor study, 40 per cent of Australians favour doing their own investment research over engaging a financial adviser.

Based on a best guess by former Future Fund board member Brian Watson, around 1.1 million people – some of whom are currently advised by a human – could be best suited to receive what’s called robo-advice.

To the uninitiated, robo-advice offers countless algorithm-driven and digitally-enabled education and research tools, many of which are free to access online.

Most super funds offer their members a range of digital financial advice tools, so find out what your fund has available on their website.

Believe it or not, there’s a robo-advice solution for every financial need you might have. For example, while simpler applications include online calculators, at the other extreme there’s Supered which helps super fund members plan for their retirement, through affordable online advice solutions.

At the other end of the robo-advice spectrum there’s Mapmyplan, a free website to help you understand where you are now, where you want to be and how to get there, with your own financial road map.

There’s also another layer of robo-advice that extends well beyond simply accessing online tools.

What we’re talking about is actual robo-advisers who provide a lost-cost alternative for millennials and/or anyone trying to acquire and increase their modest savings or assets over time.

You’ll typically get a different levels of service from a robo-adviser than a traditional adviser, but that’s exactly why they were established.

Admittedly, while you may not have access to actual ‘human contact’ provided by traditional advisers, robo-advice is automated by a computer instead of a human using your details.

However, this is reflected in the fees, with robo-adviser fees between 0.25 to 0.89 per cent of assets under management (AUM), being a fraction of the 1 and 2 per cent charged by traditional advisers.

But that doesn’t mean real experts aren’t operating behind the scenes.

For example, one of the early entrants into the local robo-adviser space is the independently-owned investment platform Sixpark.

Combining the best of sophisticated investing with automation, Sixpark has attracted investors with as little as $10,000.

By removing the need to seek financial advice for the tasks that can be done online, fees have been minimised to between 0.3 to 0.5 per cent, and can be as little as $50 annually.

Beyond Sixpark, there’s Australia’s fastest-growing and largest robo-advice service Stockspot.

Using ETFs (exchange traded funds) as its primary investment tool, Stockspot offers Australians with as little as $2000 a personalised portfolio recommendation that can be updated as circumstances change.

Then there are countless other popular robo-advice tools and apps, here’s a handful to check out:

  • Clover: Helps you build a low-cost portfolio tailored to your level of risk, and has no advice or exits fees. Portfolios are designed using ETFs carefully selected for low management fees and high diversification with portfolios holding global shares, Australian shares, fixed income and cash
  • Quietgrowth: Is a low-fee provider of automated investment management, and digital financial advice. You’ll need a minimum account balance of $2000. Its fees start from a yearly 0.4 per cent
  • InvestSMART: Is a popular source for investment research and tools for investors, including its free portfolio manager, and has a suite of low-cost investment products. Fees start at $99 annually and are capped at $451 annually for investments over $82,000
  • Plenty: Can advise you on where best to invest your cash to help you reach your long-term and short-term goals, through low-cost investment recommendations based off your existing financial position, and risk tolerance
  • Raiz Invest Limited (ASX: RZI): Formerly Acorns, Raiz is a low-fee, web and app-enabled micro-investment platform
  • Spaceship Voyager: Is a digital investment platform that allows you to start investing directly (with $5) in an index portfolio of Australian and some global stocks. Also note that around a dozen industry super funds offer a personalised, non-commission based advice by licensed financial planners via the Industry Fund Services group.

The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings

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