In today’s low-interest rate environment, most investors know that parking their money in a bank CD is a nearly surefire way to lose against inflation. But at the same time, to the average individual, investing in the stock market can seem overly complicated. So what’s the smart money to do? Questrade seeks to solve this.
In the past, investing in the stock market required an individual to have either basic financial skills and knowledge or the resources to pay a financial advisor. As a result, everyday investors struggled to find themselves entering and being able to compete in the stock market.
Enter the robo advisors. These services use computer algorithms to generate personalized advice and manage your investment portfolio. So they offer a solution that takes some of the stress, frustration and high fees out of investing.
Betterment has risen to the forefront as one of the biggest robo investing platforms in the industry. But it’s far from being just a cold algorithm. Betterment prides itself on its ability to give retirement advice as a fiduciary as well as its sterling customer service record. For an extra fee, you can even have unlimited phone access to a human advisor or purchase a personalized financial advice package.
But is Betterment the best robo investing service out there?
What Is Questrade?
The service Questrade is an online Canadian broker that not only lets you trade in the Canadian stock market but also in the American stock market. This allows you to earn even more money by trading in stocks. It was founded back in 1999, and as of quarter 3 of 2018, they have over 8 billion dollars worth of assets under administration.
How Does Questrade Work?
Questrade works by allowing Canadian citizens to trade on all Canadian stock markets as well as the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange. They offer 2 different methods of accessing these features, via a browser or a desktop application known as IQ web and IQ edge, respectively. Both are similar, but the desktop application allows for more customization and more tools than the browser version.
The great thing about Questrade is that it does not require any annual fee in order for you to use its services. Instead, they have you pay depending on the plan that you choose. For Democratic pricing, you will pay them around $.01 per share you purchase, or if you choose The Questrade Advantage, then you will pay them about $.10 per share. That means that you are either paying them around $.01 or around $.10 cents per share.
How It Compares
We picked a few products that are similar to Questrade that are available on the market to see how they compare to it and if it is truly worth it to get this product.
Price: $.01 – $.10
As was stated earlier, the price changes based on which plan you use: one plan will set the price per stock to around 1 cent, and the other will set the price per stock to around 10 cents. Keep in mind that these are what they charge for using their service; however, the price for the stock itself is much different and is highly unlikely to be around a price that low.
Ease of use
After you get past the initial confusion of having so many graphs and charts pop up in front of your face, it is a breeze, even more so if you are used to dealing with stocks that appear like this. We also had no issues installing the desktop application to our computers which have Windows 10 operating systems; these programs even surprised us by allowing the ability to skip the payment confirmation screens and to use hotkeys which can make the whole process go by much faster.
This service both appears and feels to be of professional quality while still remaining easy for those that don’t have as much experience in dealing with the stock trade normally. Everything looks sleek once you get the hang of it, and you realize that they have wasted no space in their program, everything that is shown has a purpose, you may not necessarily use it, so you don’t see its purpose, but there is something for everyone even if you were to believe it to be pointless.
The great thing about this program and some others on this list is that since it is in your hands and it’s all online, there is nothing to break so there is nothing that a warranty would have to cover. You have to put in the effort yourself, and you can make more money by investing in the stock market.
Wealth simple is much like Questrade except for one major difference, someone else is in charge of your money and using it to buy stocks for you. They hire experts in the field that will automatically manage your portfolio for you and continue re-balancing and investing what you make into other stocks, that way you will keep making more money with you having to do practically nothing, just pay the initial amount and add some money each month.
Price: Around 1% for fees ($)
They charge about .5% for their management fees and ETF’s charge about .15% for their fees which is pretty amazing considering how much money you can earn from entrusting your money with them.
Ease of use
All that you have to do is pay money and some deposit more money into the account so that they can still keep investing more which enables you to continue earning more. You just have to invest your money and leave it all up to them, if you want to you can also inform them if you would like to be more conservative with the money or if you would like to focus on growing your portfolio, which determines how much and how fast you will earn money.
Everything is so simple, and you don’t have to do anything. It is much nicer on new people than Questrade is and allows for anyone to invest so long as they have some startup capital. When we were investigating it, they appeared to have an option for investing with as little as 500 dollars. This leads to being able to grow your money without really doing anything but decide to put your faith in them that they will earn you money and lots of it.
Your money is protected for up to $500,000, so if anything happens lthen you won’t lose too much of your money in the process, it will still protect you and your money.
Nest Wealth is much like Wealthsimple because all you need to do is invest the capital and aside from that you don’t need to do anything besides paying a small monthly fee. This is the big difference it has from Wealthsimple at our first glance where they charge less than 1% in fees this company charges a monthly fee that will not go past a certain point no matter the size of your account or how large it grows.
Price: $20 – $80 Monthly ($)
Ease of use
After giving them a set amount of money, you wish for them to invest all you will have to do is watch as your portfolio grows in size and pay the monthly fee. It doesn’t get too much easier than that; you just need to ensure that you have the start-up capital to make a difference for your portfolio.
Everything is simple to follow along on this site; it displays how much your gross profit is that you earned from their investments so that you will always know how it is that they are handling your money and how well they are doing with it. If you ever need help with your portfolio, there is also the ability to talk to someone experienced to explain a problem that you are having or help you if you see any issues or discrepancies in your portfolio.
The bank where all of their client’s accounts are held is part of the National Bank Independent Network in Canada which protects you for up to $1 million from insolvency and bankruptcy. That is why this has higher stars than Wealthsimple, they only cover $500,000, but this one has you insured for up to $1,000,000 which is a welcome improvement.
Wealthfront is the last product we will review for this, but that does not make it the worst, by any means, this product is amazing in its own regard and has some things that separate it from the others, especially Questrade. The thing that we find impressive about this service is that it tells you if taking a vacation or buying a home would be something that is doable with your current financial status. This enables you to make more financially sound decisions for your retirement.
Price: Around .25% ($)
Ease of use
Everything is straightforward like the other ones, but with more of a twist, it allows you to set a goal for what you want to do, like sending your kid to college, and it tells you how much you need to save monthly to do that, it also tells you at what the age you’d be able to retire at is and what your spending habits can be once you do retire.
It accomplishes so much by charging such a low price, and it does it well too, everything looks so sleek on its app, you can check your returns anywhere that you have data via their app. In their program, they even made it so that it automatically reduces the taxes that you pay when you invest with them, and as far as we were able to tell none of the other services had that capability.
Due to the company being based in the US, they have the same coverage as Wealthsimple in which you are covered for $500,000. If you have more money than that and something happens, you will not get all of it back. If you have $500,000 or less than you are fine and will be covered for the amount of money that you lost.
Our final decision on Questrade is that it deserves 4 stars, due to it being only for Canadians and that it is best if you are used to the stock market; that way you know what you are doing and will not do something you will regret later. If you aren’t experienced with the stock market, or you are not a Canadian Citizen, then the best option we found was Wealthfront which is available to US citizens only and offers the widest array of help for you.