SigFig is a next generation robo-advisor that offers to manage accounts using Modern Portfolio Theory. Investors get up $10,000 managed free. And once you pass that threshold to become a paying client, you'll get unlimited access to human financial advisors.
Unlike many popular robo-advisors today, SigFig does not directly manage funds. Instead the company partners with Fidelity, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade to house its client accounts.
SigFig offers algorithm-based portfolio management. Its free portfolio tracking tools, automated guidance, and access to human financial advisors set it apart from other robo-advisors. This is what you need to know about the product.
- Robo-advisor that will manage your first $10k for free
- Reasonable advisory fee on balances above $10k
- Fee-paying clients get unlimited access to human advisors
- Minimum balance requirement is on the high side
IRA, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE, Taxable
What Is SigFig?
Originally names Wikinvest, SigFig was founded in 2006 by Mike Sha as a direct-to-consumer investment site. "Wikinvest was built around this notion that people have a hard time keeping track of all their investments, which is a side effect of the fact that today people tend to have a lot of investment accounts,” said Sha to Financial Advisor Magazine.
In 2012, the company was renamed SigFig and soon pivoted into offering portfolio tracking robo-advisor services. Today, it manages investor’s money by investing in low cost, diversified, and tax-efficient assets. SigFig’s investing strategy is mostly a commodity in the world of robo-advisors. But it still manages to differentiate itself in other ways.
Account holders can request a consultation with an investment advisor at any time. These advisors can help tune your approach to investing, offer advice on managing a SigFig account along with retirement accounts such as your 401(k), and point out options for tax savings.
SigFig charges a 0.25% annual management fee. The fee is deducted at the end of each month from your brokerage account. The 0.25% fee is only charged on balances above $10,000. Balances under $10,000 are managed for free.
Investors will also pay product fees ranging from 0.07%-0.15%. Investors won’t pay commissions or sales charges.
SigFig Features And Benefits
SigFig has both a free product tier and a “managed account” tier. The free tier includes robust tools that can be valuable for people who want to manage their investments on their own. Here are some of the benefits that SigFig offers its clients:
Free Portfolio Tracking
All investors, including those who don’t have a SigFig account can track their entire portfolio using SigFig’s portfolio tracker. The dashboards are impressive considering that SigFig is a free tool. Users can connect their accounts directly to SigFig to gain access to these dashboards.
Free Investment Guidance
Investors can struggle with “cash flow drag,” diversification, or tax strategy. SigFig Guidance is a free tool that provides automated investment advice to investors using the Portfolio Tracker.
For example, the guidance tool may point out that a portfolio is too heavily invested in domestic stocks, or that it is too heavily tilted towards the tech sector.
First $10,000 Managed Free
Investors who want a taste of robo-advising can have their first $10,000 managed by SigFig for free. After that, SigFig charges 0.25% of assets under management. Find other ways to invest for free here >>
Unlimited Access To Human Advisors
Investors who pay for a managed account will gain access to investment advisors. These financial advisors can help investors develop a holistic investment strategy.
Notably, there is no extra cost for human advisor support. It's included in the 0.25% advisory fee. However, you must be a paying member to take advantage of this benefit. This means you'll need an account balance of at least $10,000.
SigFig understands the importance of reducing tax costs. Through tax-loss harvesting, it systematically buys and sells assets in a way that minimizes an investor's taxable income in a given year. For investors with money in taxable brokerage accounts, this can be a big deal.
Partnerships With Top Brokers
Instead of having your money in a “SigFig” account, your investments are actually held in an account at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, or Charles Schwab. If you’ve got IRAs or brokerage accounts already, SigFig can simply start managing the money that’s already there.
SigFig invests according to an algorithm. It keeps investor’s portfolios in balance, reinvests dividends, and buys and sells intelligently. In theory, any investor can learn to do these things.
However, many get antsy during market volatility and make too many trades. Robo-advisors like SigFig make it easy to stick with your investing plan.
SigFig exclusively invests in low-cost, commission-free ETFs. That keeps internal costs low for investors.
Where SigFig Falls Short
Although SigFig has some distinctive benefits, it may not the best value proposition for everyone. These are a few areas that other automated investing platforms may do a better job.
Limited Asset Selection
SigFig invests in up to 9 ETFs for investors. All the ETFs are broad-based index funds. Investors who want to select individual stocks will need to manage part of their account outside of SigFig.
Limited Tax-Advantaged Accounts
High Account Minimum
SigFig has a $2,000 account minimum, which is higher than average. Most of the companies on our best robo-advisors list have minimums ranging from $0 to $500. In fact, only Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has a higher minimum balance at $5,000.
0.00% to 0.25%
0.25% to 0.40%
Any Concerning Fine Print?
SigFig uses Modern Portfolio Theory for all of its recommendations. This is a solid approach to investing, but it may not be the right strategy for everyone.
Value investors who want to select individual stocks may be more concerned with overall growth rather than risk weighted management. Dividend investors may focus more on portfolio income generation than long-term growth.
It's important for investors using any robo-advisor to understand its basic investing methodology so they can feel confident in their long-term strategy.
If you haven’t adopted a portfolio visualization tool, SigFig’s portfolio tracker is a valuable tool (and free for all investors). In terms of paid products, SigFig’s managed accounts are a great deal with an advisory fee of just 0.25%.
SigFig's fees rival the lowest offered by many of its competitors. And, unlike many robo-advisors, it offers its paying members untethered access to financial advisors at no extra cost. For quick comparison, human advisor support will cost you 0.40% at Betterment and Wealthfront doesn't offer human advisor access whatsoever.
Not everyone needs a robo-advisor. But if you’re searching for one, SigFig could be a strong option to consider. See how it compares to all the top robo-advisors here >>
Up to 1.70%
0.25% (First $10,000 managed free)
0.15% average expense ratio
Socially Responsible Investments
Access to Human Advisors
Yes (for accounts above $10k)
Customer Service Number
Customer Service Hours
Mon-Fri, 6 am-3 pm (PT)
Other Customer Support Options
Online chat (Mon-Fri, 6 am-3 pm (PT)
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
- Commissions and Fees
- Ease of Use
- Customer Service
- Portfolio Options
- Features and Tools
SigFig offers algorithm-based portfolio management. Its free portfolio tracking tools, automated guidance, and access to human financial advisors set it apart from other robo-advisors.
- $10,000 of free management
- Low 0.25% advisory fee for $10k+ accounts
- Paying clients get unlimited access to advisors
- High minimum investment requirement
- Limited investment choices
- Limited account types (no 401k or 529 plans)
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.