Contributor, Benzinga
August 23, 2021
Overall Rating:
securely through UNest's website

UNest was founded to help parents build a better future for their kids with unique savings options that are both tax-advantaged and simple to use. As a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), UNest makes it easy to save and invest for a child’s future. Family and friends can bestow unlimited gifts into a child’s account. Savings can be put toward several different financial goals when the child is of age — including a college savings plan, first car, down payment for house, wedding or even towards financial security.

Best For
  • Parents who cannot save thousands at a time
  • Someone who needs passive savings assistance
  • Parents who do not understand unique savings plans
  • Parents who do not understand unique savings plans
  • Sharable accounts — anyone can give
  • Premium accounts can handle 5 kids at a time
  • Automatic deposits
  • Quality mobile app
  • Basic accounts that only help with one child
  • Mobile-only; the website only offers information

UNest Ratings at a Glance

UNest Savings Options

UNest offers 2 distinct savings plans: Regular and Family. 

The Regular savings plan comes with 5 different advisor-guided investment account options, which can be adjusted based on the child’s age. Unlimited gifts from friends and family can be put toward the child’s accounts. This plan also features a rewards program — granting extra cash earned from the numerous brands via UNest Rewards. There’s also a savings calculator, financial literacy resources and tax advantages. However, this plan is limited to only 1 child. 

The Family plan is ideal for households with more than 1 child. Under this plan, you can add up to 5 different kids. The Family plan maintains all the same features as the Regular savings plan — the primary difference being the ability to add several kids. 

You decide which investment plan you want to try, set up your automatic deposits and the app will manage the rest. 

All UNest tax-advantaged investment accounts are SIPC-insured for up to $500,000 (up to $250,000 for cash claims), with UNest’s broker-dealer Apex Clearing Corporation. Gift funds received but not yet invested are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 with UNest’s bank partner, First Horizon Bank.

UNest Customer Service

UNest maintains a dedicated customer support team during business hours, 7 days a week. Customers can get in touch by calling or emailing, however, there are no live chat options available. UNest also provides an extensive FAQ page with answers to common questions. 

Some customers who prefer to contact support via live chat may be disappointed to learn this option doesn’t exist. However, the UNest support team is available every day of the week and customer service is still easy to get in touch with. 

UNest Pricing

UNest is a much more affordable tax-advantaged investment account than those offered by traditional financial advisors. Most financial advisors charge about 1% of the total investment amount as an annual fee. With UNest, you can maintain an account for a flat rate per month. 

The Regular plan is $3 per month while the Family plan is $6 per month. UNest estimates that families can save an extra $26,472 on fees over the lifetime of an UNest account versus investing with a traditional financial advisor. 

UNest Mobile App

UNest’s mobile app is available for download on iOS devices and Androids. While UNest maintains an online website, investment accounts are primarily available on the mobile app. This may frustrate some customers who prefer the option to review accounts on various different channels. Nonetheless, UNest’s mobile banking app is straightforward and easy to use. 

UNest User Benefits

UNest investment accounts are SPIC insured for up to $500,000. This means the securities in your child’s investment account are protected up to this amount if the brokerage firm becomes insolvent. Gift money and other cash deposits are also FDIC insured for up to $250,000.

UNest allows users to set up automatic deposits, making it easy to stay on top of a savings plan. You can customize the frequency and the amount of funds you’d like to be deposited. 

As a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the SEC, UNest manages your investments on the backend. There’s no need to actively trade or research which securities to buy. UNest does the bulk of the work for you. In this way, UNest has many of the same perks as working with a traditional financial advisor. 

UNest also offers a savings calculator to help users understand their progress when it comes to achieving certain financial goals. For example, you can calculate how much college is expected to cost when your child is of age and also compare your monthly savings. 

Finally, UNest offers distinct tax advantages — helping your child keep more of their earnings. Users can earn up to $2,100 of tax benefits each year on the earnings in the investment account. The first $1,050 in earnings are tax-free. The next $1,050 is taxable at the child's tax rate. 

UNest User Experience

UNest offers a seamless and clean user experience. The website and mobile app are both intuitive and easy to navigate. The mobile app is incredibly efficient and simple to set up. Creating an investment account only takes a couple of steps. It’s also easy to log in and monitor the progress of your account. 

As with any investment account, there is always some element of risk. Market performance and the performance of securities is never guaranteed. It’s advisable to proceed with caution and never invest more than you can afford to keep put away for some time. 

UNest vs. Competitors

In recent years, a number of robo-advisors have entered the market, acting as alternatives to traditional financial advisors. UNest stands out from competitors by offering multiple different investment accounts — as opposed to only 1 option. UNest also comes with very low fees. However, UNest is primarily a mobile banking application, which may frustrate some users who prefer a more multichannel experience. 

UNest Overall Rating

UNest is a clean, easy-to-use application option for a tax-advantaged savings plan. The company maintains good customer service, despite not offering a live chat option. Many tools are available for families, including multiple investment accounts, a savings calculator and financial literacy resources.

However, it’s only possible to view and manage investment accounts through the UNest mobile app. The website maintains very few features. This lack of options may be frustrating for customers that value an omni-channel experience. 

Overall, UNest comes with a ton of perks and can be a valuable resource for families looking to give their children a head start on their financial goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Is UNest legit?


Yes. UNest is a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the SEC and based in North Hollywood, California.


Is UNest a 529 Plan?


UNest offers Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts. These accounts are tax-advantaged and ideal for saving for a child’s future. Through UTMA, UNest is able to offer distinct tax advantages. 

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