If You Like Vanguard, You’ll Love Wealthfront

I am often asked by people unfamiliar with our service, “Why should I use Wealthfront to buy a portfolio of Vanguard index funds, when I could buy the same funds directly from Vanguard without paying any advisory fee?” It’s a perfectly reasonable question, but it has a very simple answer.  Wealthfront can save you significantly more money in taxes than the 0.25% a year you’ll pay us in advisory fees — up to eight times as much, in fact. There’s also the comfort of knowing that you can take a “set it and forget it” attitude towards your investment, confident that professionals will be looking after the routine housekeeping tasks that are crucial for any investing strategy. Even Vanguard’s management […]

What Client Data Teaches Us About Chasing the Market

When it comes to investing for the long term, Wealthfront is an advocate of staying the course and making regular deposits, even when your account is down. In a previous post, we compared the returns of two hypothetical investors, one who invested consistently and one who only invested when her total investment returns since inception were positive. Using simulated returns for Wealthfront portfolios, we found that the investor who disregarded market performance and consistently invested outperformed in the long run. What Does Actual Client Behavior Show? Wealthfront has the advantage of having access to actual client behavior and subsequent account performance. In the below analysis, we group clients based on their deposit-timing behavior and compare investment performance of each group. […]

Is Indexing Worse Than Marxism?

Index funds have always been ridiculed by active mutual-fund managers.  Two recent events have fueled a new set of criticisms.  The mid-year 2016 Standard and Poor’s report on index fund performance showed that the superiority of low-cost indexing, whether in the form of mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), has increased over time.  Over the preceding five and ten-year periods, index funds outperformed over 80 percent of their active peers.  It has become increasingly untenable to claim that passive index investing produces mediocre results.  The second related event is that investors have increasingly taken note.  Money has been pouring out of active mutual funds and into passively-managed index funds.   Last year investors pulled over $200 billion out of actively-managed […]

Navigating Taxes for the Self-Employed

If you’re one of the many people who work as an independent contractor or self-employed individual, you’ve probably wondered if you’re doing the right thing when it comes to your tax returns.  Are there tax benefits you’re missing out on?  Should you form a business entity?  These are common questions and the answers will vary depending on circumstances.  Let’s explore some basic guidelines for dealing with taxes when you’re self-employed. What’s deductible? I tell my clients that nearly every dollar you spend in relation to your business is tax deductible in some fashion.  There are three keys to remember for staying out of trouble: Expenses should be ordinary and necessary. You can’t deduct personal expenses. Don’t spend more money than […]

Our Advice After Election Night

Last night’s election results came a shock to many people. If the past is any predictor of the future, I would expect a lot of our clients to feel incredibly unsettled as a result. The situation reminds me a lot of what happened immediately after the Brexit vote. Most people have forgotten that the FTSE 100 (an index of the 100 largest market cap stocks on the London Stock Exchange) declined 3.15% the first day after the vote, but finished the week up 1.99%.  Markets around the world dropped, recovered, dropped again and then rose to a level well in excess of where they were before the election. So what’s our advice for worried investors? Same as always: Do nothing. […]

Let Wealthfront Help You Save for College

We are pleased to announce that after weeks of internal testing we are ready to make the Wealthfront 529 College Savings Plan available to everyone. We are so excited about this new plan because we think 529s are the best type of account Congress has provided to parents who are saving to help pay for the college expenses of their loved ones. Why? Because they allow your investments to grow tax-free, so long as they are used for qualified higher education expenses, which include tuition, fees, books, computers and a variety of other expenses. Unfortunately, three out of every four Americans have never heard of a 529 and the plans are therefore being underutilized. A recent Sallie Mae study shows […]

Passing the Baton, Again

I never thought I would be a founder.  After 25 years in venture capital, my intention was to focus my time on sharing what I had learned with the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Fate, as it would seem, had a different idea. After countless frustrating experiences trying to explain to my students why they couldn’t access quality financial advice, I realized that I should do something about it. But it wasn’t until I met Dan Carroll that I knew that I would do something about it. Dan and I launched Wealthfront at the end of 2011, and a new way to invest began to form. Not long after we launched, […]

Not all software is created equal

I am constantly amazed at how often people ask me, “Why can’t any bank or broker with a large budget hire a bunch of engineers and easily replicate Wealthfront?” The answer is simple: not all software is created equal. If it were, you probably wouldn’t be doing all your searches on Google and buying most things from Amazon. We believe our software is simply better than our competitors’. Real World Example: Tax-Loss Harvesting A great example of our superior software is tax-loss harvesting, an important feature Wealthfront pioneered in October 2012. The goal of our daily tax-loss harvesting service is to minimize investment taxes for our clients. The service does this by selling securities that are trading at a loss […]

The 2017 Wealthfront Career-Launching Companies List

Today we are pleased to present our fifth annual list of US mid-sized information technology companies with momentum. We publish this list because it is our responsibility as a financial advisor to provide the advice that maximizes your net worth. As proud as we are of our investment service, we think we can add even more value by helping you start your career on the right foot. That’s because choosing the right job can add far more to your ultimate net worth than making good planning or investment decisions. We believe the companies we list each year are the ideal places for young people to start their careers because they are all highly likely to turn into large businesses, and […]

Financial Advice for Young Lawyers in Debt

What to Do First? Invest or Pay off Debt? Among the many decisions facing young professionals as they embark on their careers is how to begin a lifetime of financial planning. And young attorneys have an especially tough call. Most of them leave law school with significant student debt, but without the sort of starting salary necessary to quickly pay off their loans. At the same time, they are usually smart enough to appreciate that they need to start saving for major life events, including a home, college for their children, and their own retirement. So what to do? Pay off their loans, or start in on a nest egg? The answer for young lawyers, just like it is for […]