Wealthfront Path Review: A Financial Planning Experience

Wealthfront Cash Account Review: Attractive Interest Rates

Wealthfront, a lead robo-advisor, launched Path, a completely new and free automated financial planning experience for all clients to better plan for their financial future. In this Wealthfront Path review, you'll learn about the tool's best features.

Overall, my impressions of Path are fair. Wealthfront Path is not bad. But it is nowhere close to the free, award-winning, financial tool that Personal Capital introduced back in 2011.

I've been using Personal Capital's free tools since 2012, and they have continued to improve the product to help users. Personal Capital is still hands down my favorite digital wealth manager.

Here's a comparison of Personal Capital versus Wealthfront to learn more.

For those of you who are interested in Wealthfront Path, this article provides a quick overview of the planner and its features.

Wealthfront Path Overview

You can set up Wealthfront Path in just five minutes and get answers right away to big questions:

  1. Can I live my current lifestyle in retirement?
  2. How much will I be worth then?
  3. How much should I be saving today?

Many clients don’t know what their financial goals should be, and even more don’t realize that the goals they’ve set with their current spending and saving patterns are actually unattainable.

Wealthfront built something more personal, connected, and instant than what you might expect from a robo-advisor. What's great is Wealthfront Path technology takes advantage of their team of PhDs. It analyzes your past behavior by connecting to your financial accounts. And, it shows you what’s possible for your future.

As your financial advisor, it’s Wealthfront's job to sometimes be the bad guy and tell you that you can’t necessarily afford the lifestyle you want. Thus, Wealthfront designed Path to first assess your basic financial health, before letting you imagine what’s possible.

They start with your needs before they get to your wants and wishes for one simple reason. If the foundation is shaky, then the rest is irrelevant.

Related: Information About Wealthfront: The Original Digital Wealth Manager

Wealthfront Path's Features

Here are the main features of Path.

  • Financially plan for your future
  • Explore “what if” scenarios
  • Highlight how much you need to save to reach your goal by a certain date
  • Show you how much you can spend to still be on track
  • Model your investment forecasts

Below is an example of a what if scenario you can perform based on the amount of savings, spending, and life expectancy. You can adjust the amounts to create a realistic assessment of your retirement future.

Wealthfront Path Feature
Wealthfront Path feature

Wealthfront: A Leading Robo-Advisor

If you're looking for a low cost way to invest your money using the same sophisticated algorithms based on Modern Portfolio Theory used by the expensive money managers like Raymond James, BoA Merrill, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, you can sign up with Wealthfront. It's free and they'll produce a model portfolio for you to review.

Below is an example of a model Wealthfront portfolio they would create using low cost index funds for a person with a high risk tolerance.

Every portfolio is build with Vanguard ETFs because they are best in class and have the lowest fees. All you've got to do is fill out a six question questionnaire and you'll get your own model portfolio to review.

Wealthfront Portfolio Recommendation

What Else Is New at Wealthfront?

  • Wealthfront pricing has been consistent; $500 to open an account, the first $5k of assets is managed for free and they charge a flat 0.25% on assets above that initial $10k amount.
  • Wealthfront clients have access to their unique Passive strategy led by our CIO and renowned economist Dr. Burton Malkiel as well as services that traditionally you can only get if you have millions of dollars to meet the minimums set by private wealth managers like Goldman Sachs, for instance. Services in green you can only get as a Wealthfront client — no one else offers them.
  • Wealthfront Path is a unique and newly launched financial planning experience.
  • Retirement Savings: Wealthfront offers SEP IRA, IRA and Roth IRA accounts as well as 401k rollovers.
  • Taxable Savings: Wealthfront offers taxable investment accounts / joint accounts / trust accounts.
  • Tailored Transfers;  Instead of selling everything at once, use our tailored transfer process to migrate your investments tax-efficiently over time.
  • Tax-loss harvesting; a feature of our Passive strategy that will automatically sell losses in your portfolio to offset your annual tax bill. We did a comparison with our tax-loss harvesting and Schwab’s.
  • Stock-Level Tax-Loss Harvesting; an enhanced form of tax-loss harvesting for accounts over $100k to boost your tax savings. Wealthfront is the only automated investment service to offer Direct Indexing.
  • Selling Plan; another service unique to Wealthfront. Wealthfront’s Selling Plan helps all employees who hold public company stock to sell their shares tax-efficiently and commission free, at a level of service previously only available to executives.
  • The Wealthfront 529 College Savings Plan; This is another investment account unique to Wealthfront. We offer the lowest cost 529 plan from an advisor that offers more diversification for higher returns.

Other Leading Robo-Advisors

If you want to explore other robo-advisors, you can sign up for free with Betterment. They are a prime competitor in the robo-advisory space and have many of the same features and more.

You can also read more about their offerings in this post, Should I Invest With Betterment?

However, amongst all the digital wealth managers out there today, Personal Capital is still my all time favorite. You can see my comparison of Personal Capital vs Betterment.

Sign up for a free account with Personal Capital today and start exploring their great suite of free financial tools. If you link your bank accounts to their secure monitoring platform, you can qualify for a free consultation with one of Personal Capital's financial advisors. It's definitely worth exploring.

About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate.

In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $200,000 a year in passive income (50% from real estate). He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.

About Financial Samurai: Based in San Francisco, FinancialSamurai.com was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1 million pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.