Login

New to Benzinga?

Register

Already have an account?

WiseBanyan Review

securely through WiseBanyan's website

1 Minute Review

WiseBanyan’s site methodically eases you in using a goal-oriented approach. The company offers a truly relatable, tangible way to save for your future and present goals. For example, you can designate your savings goals as “Vacation to Fiji” or “Retirement” (whatever you’d like!) which cleanly categorizes your goals into manageable chunks. Risk aversion, time horizon, and money you’ve already saved are carefully considered for each individual goal and invested appropriately. It’s a slick way to manage money and is a solid way to end up with a fully-diversified portfolio while mitigating fees and tax consequences.

Best For

  • Brand-new investors
  • Those who are comfortable managing their finances solely online
  • Great technology

Pros

  • No account management fees
  • Automatic rebalancing is free on all accounts
  • No account minimums required

Cons

  • Only offers individual taxable accounts, traditional or Roth IRAs or SEP IRAs
  • Tax-loss harvesting is not included for free (which many robo-advisors offer automatically)

WiseBanyan offers a user-friendly, guided approach to saving and investing for whatever your financial goals may be. The robo advisor touts its algorithm and customizable interfaces and portfolios.

What WiseBanyan Offers

A sort of appeal happens the minute you stumble upon the WiseBanyan site. The website says, “WiseBanyan is the first financial advisor to not charge investment management, trading, or rebalancing fees. Through the use of technology, we can offer comparable services as a traditional advisor and pass the savings on to you.”

Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

At any rate, WiseBanyan offers a slew of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are “assigned” to you based on your answers to questions. These answers make up your “risk score” and from that, your individually-tailored portfolio is created.

The ETFs are typically from Vanguard and iShares. In general, the following types of investments are offered by the company (but you can iron out a specific list on WiseBanyan’s website):

  • U.S. &  international and emerging market equities
  • U.S. government and corporate bonds
  • Short-term high-yield bonds
  • Treasury securities
  • Real estate

Premium packages are offered as well, and those include:

WiseBanyan Commissions and Fees

According to its website, WiseBanyan can, due to automation, reduce its day-to-day costs. Instead of charging an asset-based management fee, WiseBanyan only charges for optional products and services. This allows clients to pay for what they need, rather than paying a “one-size-fits-all” fee for services they currently can’t or don’t want to use.

  • Trading fees: Free
  • Management fees: Free
  • Rebalancing fees: Free
  • Core Portfolio funds: Charge an average of 0.12%

Check out a full list of all fees, which includes premium package fees, transfer and account fees and statement and mailings fees.

WiseBanyan Platform and Tools

As mentioned before, you can work with WiseBanyan to create an individual goal and with WiseBanyan’s help, you can easily add in a time horizon for each opportunity you create. You can use a simple bar slider to adjust your stock/bond allocation for each. It’s a very visual way to implement your very own personalized financial plan, which undoubtedly makes its interactive platform appealing.

A peak at WiseBanyan's mobile interface. Source: Facebook.com/WiseBanyan
A peek at WiseBanyan’s mobile interface. Source: Facebook.com/WiseBanyan

In addition to its website, WiseBanyan’s mobile app is excellent. You can do all the same things on mobile as you can on your laptop, including deposits, transfers, and withdrawals. You can also change or add to your accounts and milestones.

WiseBanyan offers a blog where you can learn more about investing in general, and included in these educational experiences is more information about WiseBanyan’s products, such as WiseHarvesting. (Here’s a link to that particular article: https://blog.wisebanyan.com/tax-loss-harvesting.)

A look at WiseBanyan's educational tools available on their website. Source: WiseBanyan.com
A look at WiseBanyan’s educational tools available on their website. Source: WiseBanyan.com

WiseBanyan Customer Service

You can contact WiseBanyan using a few options, including email and phone: (646) 593-8359 and support@wisebanyan.com. Phone support is offered Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. EST.

WiseBanyan & Its Ease of Use

The process for getting started with WiseBanyan is pretty similar to many other robo-advisors, and it’s about as easy as anything else you might do during an average workday. Here are the steps in a nutshell:

  1. Create a login with your name and email and walk through an investment plan.
  2. Plug in some personal information including date of birth, annual income, and net worth.
  3. “Activate” your milestones, which could include anything from an emergency fund, general investing and retirement.
  4. You’ll help WiseBanyan “decide” which type of growth you’d like, from aggressive to conservative.  
  5. There’s a sliding scale of stock/bond allocation to be able to choose more stocks or more bonds, depending on what you’d like the makeup of your investments to be.
  6. You’ll plug in your bank account information to fund your account, which, of course, requires a routing and account number.

WiseBanyan’s website is easy to use and offers an interface that is both instructional and understandable. It’s a point-and-click scenario in every aspect of the website. The mobile app is also sleek and slick to use. It’s easy to keep an eagle-eye on those investments no matter where you are. You can transfer money whenever you feel like it, or you can set up automatic deposits as well.

Final Thoughts on WiseBanyan

As you might have gleaned from our overall snapshot, WiseBanyan is not completely, 100% free. There are charges for various items, and here’s the list again, just in case.

However, with its goal-oriented and very segmented approach to investing, WiseBanyan has a few major celebration points:

  1. They get goal-setting.
  2. Having your financial goals written down has a major effect on you.
  3. You can visually see all of your investments creep up as time passes.

It’s exciting, it builds momentum. It removes investing concepts long thought of as “humdrum” and translates them into an exciting, applicable, real-life adventure.