SigFig Review [2022]: Human Investing Advice for No Extra Fee

SigFig will manage your portfolio and offer unlimited free advice from a human. But is it the smartest investing platform for you? Here’s what you need to know.
Last updated May 17, 2021 | By Miranda Marquit
SigFig Review

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SigFig is a robo-advisor that helps manage your investment portfolio for a low fee. On top of that, the fee allows you unlimited access to free financial advising services. There’s also an innovative free portfolio tracker that can help you manage your own portfolio if you’re not interested in having a robo-advisor handle your investments.

For those looking for a simple way to start investing, SigFig could help you get started, or even help you manage a portfolio you already have. But how do you know if this investing service is right for you? Keep reading this SigFig review for all the information you need.

In this SigFig review

What is SigFig?

SigFig is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and was founded in 2007. It has gone by a couple of other names, including Nvest and Wikinvest. Co-founder and CEO Mike Sha previously helped launch the Amazon Visa credit card and Amazon Prime. The company’s leadership and boardmembers include those with backgrounds in technology companies like Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo!, and Google, as well as financial professionals and university professors.

Today, the company focuses on portfolio management and has developed an advanced portfolio tracker. The stated mission of the company is to bring high-quality investment advice to people of all wealth levels.

On top of that, SigFig offers unlimited human financial advice and counseling for its relatively modest management fee, something that is fairly rare in the robo-advising space. The ability to access human interaction more typically comes with an additional advisory fee.

SigFig

Minimum investment $2,000
Management fees Free for the first $10,000, 0.25% after that
Asset classes
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Real estate (REITs)
Account types available
  • Taxable accounts: Individual and joint
  • IRAs: Traditional, Roth, rollover, SEP
Features
  • Advanced portfolio tracker
  • Unlimited access to human advisors
Distributions Dividend reinvestment
Taxes Tax-loss harvesting
Best for... No-fuss portfolio management
Visit SigFig

What does SigFig offer?

SigFig made our list of the best robo-advisors in part because of the low management fee and access to human advisors. However, this robo-advisor operates a little differently than many others in that it manages accounts with supported brokerage partners.

Rather than just opening an account with SigFig, you actually connect SigFig to your Fidelity, Charles Schwab, or TD Ameritrade account. If you don’t have an investment account with one of those partners already, SigFig will open an account for you with TD Ameritrade. Once that’s taken care of, SigFig invests your money in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available at each brokerage.

SigFig makes it a point to focus on stocks, bonds, and real estate investment trusts (REITs) that don’t incur transaction fees. On top of investing your money according to your goals, SigFig also offers tax-loss harvesting and portfolio rebalancing services designed to help you make the most of your money. It’s important to note, however, that some transactions might incur an additional fee, although SigFig claims to take that into account and ensure that the benefit outweighs the fee.

On top of providing portfolio management services, SigFig also features unlimited access to financial advisors who can help you with your money. This is a somewhat unique feature at this price point. Some robo-advisors, like Betterment, offer access to financial advice, but you must meet a higher minimum and the management fee is also higher.

SigFig suggests a portfolio based on your goals, your timeline, and your risk tolerance. In general, this service might be well-suited for investors who want help managing their portfolios with medium- to long-term goals in mind. It could work well for someone who hopes to grow their wealth over time. It’s possible to choose only a portion of your portfolio for SigFig to manage as well if you are using a bucket strategy for investing.

Realize, though, that once you designate a portion of your portfolio for SigFig to manage, they will replace your existing asset holdings with other holdings. As a result, you’re likely to see your portfolio change if you have investments already. If you don’t have investments, SigFig will help you start from scratch. For those interested in learning how to invest money, this could be a good place to start.

Portfolio tracker

If you want to manage your own portfolio, SigFig offers a free portfolio tracker. The portfolio tracker can allow you to connect outside accounts when you’re using SigFig for management, and the advice you are given is based on your outside accounts as well as your SigFig managed accounts.

As a result, you can track all your accounts in one place, and even see where you might be paying too much in fees. SigFig offers portfolio analysis tools designed to help you get the big picture, as well as see where you might be overpaying in various accounts. You can use that information to adjust your holdings and save money in fees.

SigFig does offer a mobile app for Android and iOS. It’s fairly clean and easy to use, offering access to everything on the go. The SigFig app currently has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.5 stars out of 5 from the Apple Store.

SigFig can be a good choice if you want hands-off portfolio management, especially for the long term. The portfolio tracker is a valuable tool that can help you stay on top of your total finances, even the accounts that aren’t being managed by SigFig.

Pros and cons of SigFig

Pros

  • Unlimited access to financial counseling services with humans
  • Free portfolio tracker that includes fee analysis
  • No management fee on balances under $10,000

Cons

  • Relatively high minimum balance compared to other robo-advisors and investment apps
  • No banking or cash management products
  • Some transactions might incur additional fees

Who can open an account with SigFig?

In order to open an account with SigFig, you need to meet the $2,000 minimum. After that, you need to make sure you meet the requirements to invest, including being at least 18 years old and providing personal identifying information, such as your birth date, Social Security number, address, and phone number.

You also need to provide bank account information so that SigFig has a way to fund your managed brokerage account.

SigFig’s streamlined process could work well for beginners, especially those with less than $10,000 to start since there are no management fees. Additionally, if you have a long time horizon, SigFig might be a good choice, since you can use the service for hands-off investing to build wealth in your retirement account or for another long-term goal.

How much can you earn with SigFig?

All investing comes with the potential for gains — and losses. With SigFig, how much you could earn over time depends on your timeline and the assets included in your portfolio.

When recommending a portfolio, SigFig takes into account your time frame and other factors to determine your risk tolerance. Then a combination of stock and bond ETFs, along with REITs, is put together in your portfolio. The ETFs are chosen from SigFig’s partner brokerages and have different performance levels.

With any investment, you need to be prepared for the inherent risk and there is never a guarantee of returns. But for many investors, SigFig could provide an opportunity that could help you meet your long-term financial goals.

FAQs about SigFig

Is SigFig safe?

It’s important to note that SigFig isn’t a member of the SIPC. However, since SigFig isn’t a broker, it doesn’t need to be a SIPC member. Instead, SigFig manages your portfolio, which is held at a brokerage. All of SigFig’s partner financial institutions are members of the SIPC, so your money in those managed accounts is protected.

However, it’s important to note that SIPC insurance only protects your money against brokerage failures. It doesn’t protect against market or economic events. Any investment you make could see a loss. So while your original amount is insured, you are not guaranteed gains and your gains are not protected either.

What does SigFig recommend for your portfolio?

SigFig makes recommendations for your portfolio based on your time horizon, goals, and risk tolerance. In general, SigFig recommends ETFs for your portfolio, since they are relatively low cost and can make adjusting asset allocation easy. SigFig recommends an asset allocation based on various factors, but you can override the asset allocation if you wish to pursue a different diversification strategy.

Is SigFig free?

SigFig is free for the first $10,000 managed. After that, there is a management fee of 0.25% of assets under management beyond the initial $10,000. Additionally, there are expense ratios related to the ETFs chosen. Those expense ratios are generally between 0.07% and 0.15%. Finally, some transactions do trigger transaction fees, especially in regards to tax-loss harvesting. However, SigFig claims it only uses those transactions if the benefits outweigh the fees.

The portfolio tracker offered by SigFig is free to use, whether or not you have assets under management. This can be a way to see all of your accounts, including retirement accounts like a 401(k), in one place, free of charge.


How to open a SigFig account

When opening a SigFig account, you’ll be asked your age and for how long you want to invest. SigFig offers the choice to choose short-term (less than five years), intermediate-term (five to 10 years), or long-term (more than 10 years).

You will also fill out a questionnaire requesting the following information:

  • Household income
  • Savings rate
  • Worth of liquid assets
  • Risk tolerance

SigFig will then recommend a portfolio and have you provide a username and password, as well as an email address. Once that’s done, you’ll have to verify your identity with your Social Security number and birth date, as well as your home address.

You also need to have your bank account credentials ready so you can fund your account. If you already have an account with one of the partner brokerages, you’ll need those credentials so SigFig can access the account and manage your money.

Other investing platforms to consider

If SigFig doesn’t seem like it’s the right wealth management fit for you, there are other robo-advisors to consider, as well as some of the best investment apps.

Betterment is one of the original robo-advisors and has no account minimum requirements. If you don’t have $2,000 to start with SigFig, Betterment could be a good fit. Additionally, Betterment offers cash management products, including a savings product and debit card. If you want to have money management choices along with investing, Betterment might work better. However, you do have to pay extra to get access to financial planning and counseling services, and the portfolio tracker for outside accounts isn’t as robust.

Wealthfront has a lower investment minimum, requiring only $500 to get started. This robo-advisor has the widest variety of account choices, with the ability to open a 529, as well as trust accounts. On top of that, Wealthfront offers access to banking products for cash management purposes. You can also borrow against your portfolio with a line of credit. Finally, Wealthfront uses various tools and calculators to help you plan out budgets to reach various goals. Outside portfolio tracking isn’t as robust, however, and you don’t have the same access to human investment advisors as you do with SigFig.

Public Benefits

  • Get $3-$300 in free stock when your account is approved*
  • Invest in 1000s of stocks and ETFs with fractional shares—no account minimums
  • Follow friends in a social feed and learn from a diverse community of investors
  • * Free stock offer valid for U.S. residents 18+. Subject to account approval.

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has been covering money for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.