2019 Robo-Advisor Awards
Fidelity Go won an award in the following category:
Fidelity Go is designed with the young investor in mind and has a very simple user interface. The all-digital service lets you manage a single goal and is the introductory level for Fidelity’s various managed products. As the product has evolved since its launch in 2016, the focus has been on helping young and emerging investors overcome hesitations around investing. With that in mind, a new client can open an account without making a deposit, but you’ll need at least $10 to make any investments. Fidelity dropped the investment minimum from $5,000 in spring 2018 to attract more investors who are just getting started.
As your financial life grows more complex, you can choose one of the advisory offerings that include personal guidance from a financial advisor. Fidelity plans to launch a new service, Personalized Planning and Advice, later in 2019, with a minimum of $25,000. Beyond that, there are managed accounts for investors with over $250,000 through Fidelity Wealth Services.
Opening an account is simple and straightforward
Platform requires just $10 to start investing
Monthly costs are described in detail up front
The overall fees are low
You can only manage a single goal at a time
Portfolio contains only proprietary mutual funds
No socially responsible portfolio options
No tax-loss harvesting
Fidelity Go has an easy and straightforward account setup process. After answering five simple questions, such as the year you were born and your annual taxable income, you are presented with an overview of your proposed portfolio. You can tweak the assumptions at this point or choose a different risk level. You are shown, clearly, what the costs are associated with a Fidelity Go account, which is a much-appreciated feature.
The portfolios are invested solely in proprietary Fidelity mutual funds. Most of the robo-advisories invest funds in ETFs, but Fidelity uses its own zero-fee proprietary funds.
Once you choose to go forward, you open an investing account and connect a bank account so the Fidelity Go portfolio can be funded. You’re encouraged to set up regular deposits during this step. Unfortunately, you can’t transfer assets in from other accounts or brokers – you can only fund a Fidelity Go account with cash. However, it is possible to roll over cash from a 401(k) account to a Fidelity Go Rollover IRA account.
Fidelity Go has the advantage of being part of the Fidelity ecosystem. You can only track a single goal using Fidelity Go, but you can open multiple accounts if you want to dedicate funds to separate goals. Once the account has been funded and invested, you can choose a dollar amount you're trying to reach along with your target date. Fidelity then estimates the likelihood of reaching your dollar goal by your target date, based on your initial deposit and planned monthly additions. If it looks like you may not reach your goal, Fidelity offers some suggestions of things you can do that could improve your likelihood of success. If you set your Fidelity Go account up as an IRA, you’ll be shown the likelihood of reaching your retirement goal.
If you have other Fidelity accounts, you can see how they are all doing on a single screen. Selecting the Fidelity Go account from the list brings up an asset allocation graph and a performance summary.
Fidelity Go clients can access all the planning tools that Fidelity offers, which focus on major milestones that include having or adopting a baby, getting married, managing estate planning, getting divorced, starting a business, and other goals. These planning tools are available on the Fidelity Planning and Guidance Center rather than being built into Fidelity Go but they are still an incredible resource.
The Fidelity Go account does not offer margin, loan, or banking capabilities, although you can access those services with other accounts at Fidelity. If a customer changes his or her risk measurement and decides to move to a different portfolio, the account is reinvested as needed. Any cash in the account is swept into a money market fund that is currently paying over 2%.
Fidelity Go accounts are designed to have a regular annual review in addition to the monthly progress updates. These annuals reviews are meant to ensure that the strategy you are using and the goals you are working towards are still relevant. This is a nice touch, as the hands-off nature of robo-advisories may lead investors to take a set-and-forget approach to their portfolio otherwise.
- Fidelity zero-fee mutual funds
Fidelity Go draws on Fidelity’s team of investment professionals to create portfolios using Fidelity Flex zero-fee mutual funds exclusively. These funds are not available to investors outside managed accounts. Fidelity’s investment pros take care of monitoring and rebalancing the portfolios. So Fidelity Go doesn’t give you access to human financial advisors, but the humans are behind the portfolios that are matched up to your investment profile. Because Fidelity Go only offers access and exposure to Fidelity's own mutual funds, they received a significantly lower ranking than might otherwise be the case.
As mentioned, the portfolios are made up of funds managed by Fidelity itself. Approximately 0.5% is held in cash. Fidelity Go does not offer tax-loss harvesting, most likely due to using its proprietary mutual funds rather than ETFs that can be used to minimize the taxes due on a taxable account. It should be noted, however, that Fidelity Go taxable accounts may contain tax-advantaged investments like municipal bonds. This is a tax-minimization/performance enhancement strategy, but it isn’t equivalent to tax-loss harvesting.
Portfolio rebalancing happens when cash in the account hits an internal limit (around 1%), drifts significantly from the target allocation, or semi-annually. Fidelity Go portfolios are continuously monitored, so if markets move significantly in either direction and the portfolio strays significantly from the selected investment strategy, a rebalance could be triggered.
If you want a complete picture of all of your assets, you can consolidate outside accounts on the Fidelity platform so you can see them all in one place and do some overall portfolio analysis. However, the Fidelity Go goal-setting process does not consider these external accounts in its calculations.
Fidelity Go is built in to Fidelity’s mobile app. You can open an account via mobile device on the responsive web experience. Once the account is opened, it can be viewed in the native mobile app. Tap on the “Fidelity Go” account in the Portfolios list to see the activity in the account.
Because Fidelity Go is built into the overall Fidelity platform, it can be confusing to find the exact feature you want.
There is a separate web address for Fidelity Go, but that just gets you to the landing page to open an account. Once your account is open and funded, it shows up within the standard Fidelity web platform. Each Fidelity Go account is dedicated to a single goal, so those with multiple goals should be sure to use the account settings tool to give each goal its own name. Otherwise, the list can be confusing.
Fidelity Go is a digital-only offering, so almost all support is online. You can use the chat function 24/7. The FAQs are somewhat brief, so if you have a question that requires more assistance to answer, you’ll end up in a long phone queue. Once an agent picks up the line, however, we found that our questions were answered in depth by a knowledgeable representative.
Education & Security
When it comes to education and security, Fidelity Go is once again able to benefit from the larger Fidelity ecosystem. The Fidelity Go website and mobile app both employ very high-security features. The website has 128-bit, two-way data encryption, fraud detection, and all the other standard offerings for sites handling financial information. Mobile apps can be unlocked with a fingerprint or with facial recognition technology. Fidelity Go also offers two-factor authentication, money transfer lockdown, security text alerts, and voice recognition technology on calls to customer service.
Fidelity’s website is packed with investor education, although the assistance offered within Fidelity Go focuses on the robo-advisory itself. Once you have an account funded with Fidelity Go, all of the videos, articles, and classes published by Fidelity are available. Fidelity has also launched a site for new investors called MyMoney (https://www.fidelity.com/mymoney) aimed at guiding young people toward financial security.
Commissions & Fees
The management fee for a Fidelity Go account is 0.35% per year, charged monthly. This doesn’t sound as competitive as it actually is because the underlying mutual funds in the account carry no additional fees. Some lower fee robo-advisories may actually end up being more expensive than Fidelity Go when the average expense ratios of the underlying funds are added into the mix.
- Monthly cost to manage a $5,000 portfolio: $1.46
- Monthly cost to manage a $25,000 portfolio: $7.29
- Monthly cost to manage a $100,000 portfolio: $29.17
Is Fidelity Go a Good Fit for You?
It is easy to cast Fidelity Go as a defensive maneuver for the firm, designed to keep its clients’ cash from flowing out to other robo-advisories. Generating a financial plan can involve wading through information on Fidelity’s main website and the tools needed for some goal planning are not built into the Go offering. It’s missing some key advantages of a robo-advisory such as tax-loss harvesting. However, this view overlooks the intended target for Fidelity Go.
Fidelity Go is aimed squarely at hands-off investors who are looking for a low-cost option that comes with professional human oversight for the portfolio, but not for the planning. Yes, you are giving up your ability to really customize a portfolio or grab ETFs that personally interest you.
The whole point of Fidelity Go is that you can put your money into a portfolio and Fidelity Go takes care of the rest – and they’ll even prompt to review your investments once a year in case you’re not reading the monthly updates. If you want more control and want to be more actively involved, then this isn’t the robo-advisory for you. If, however, you want to invest with a well-established player on the cheap, then Fidelity Go is a very strong candidate.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of robo-advisors. Our 2019 reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of 32 robo-advisor platforms, including the user experience, goal setting capabilities, portfolio contents, costs and fees, security, mobile experience, and customer service. We collected over 300 data points that weighed into our scoring system.
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