TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios 2021 Review

Top perks

Excellent portfolio selection

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offers one of the most extensive selections of portfolio options among the best robo-advisors. Investors can choose from five Socially Aware Portfolios which focus on environmentally and socially friendly companies, as well as a number of core portfolio options.

Tax-loss harvesting

This is one of the biggest differentiators of TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios. Few other robo-advisors offer free and automatic tax-loss harvesting, and those that do generally only offer it for large accounts. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, for instance, offers tax-loss harvesting to clients with $50,000 or more of invested assets. This can save investors hundreds of dollars in taxes.

Large branch network

If you’d rather get customer service help in person than over the phone or through email, TD Ameritrade has more than 275 branches across the United States. Few other brokers can match this physical presence. However, it’s worth noting that TD Ameritrade had closed all of its branches temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some are reopening on a local basis. 

Low-cost ETFs

While TD Ameritrade’s management fee isn’t the lowest in the industry, the low-cost ETFs it uses to construct client portfolios helps make up for it. ETFs in the core portfolios have expense ratios of just 0.06%-0.07%, and even the 0.10%-0.17% expense ratios charged for its Socially Aware Portfolios are rather cheap.

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Frequent rebalancing

Essential Portfolios automatically rebalances client portfolios annually and on an as-needed basis. Some competitors only rebalance assets at predetermined intervals, such as every six months.

Customer service

You can contact TD Ameritrade by phone, email, text, and chat through Facebook and Twitter.

Many account types

Unlike many of TD Ameritrade’s robo-advisor competitors, Essential Portfolios supports a long list of account types. In addition to individual and joint brokerage accounts, you can open an Essential Portfolios IRA (traditional, Roth, rollover, SEP, or SIMPLE), Coverdell ESA, trust, solo 401(k) (traditional or Roth), custodial, or business account. Virtually every type of investment account can be accommodated.

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