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Inspiring Action Brand of the Week: Betterment

Betterment is our sixth Inspiring Action Brand of the Week. Past winners have been ShinolaBonobosEverlaneCasper and ThePointsGuy.


Investing Made Better

Make a quick visit to Betterment’s mission page and you’re greeted with the following:

“We created a company. It changed an industry.”

It’s a bold and direct statement chock-full of pride. And guess what? It should be.

Why? Because here’s the thing: it’s the absolute and undeniable truth, and if wealth managers everywhere haven’t realized this yet, they will very, very soon. The financial investment industry is on the cusp of a revolution, and Betterment Is leading that charge.

Similar to the way AirBnB wedged its way to the top of the hospitality landscape, or how Uber flipped the script on transportation, Betterment is using smarter technology to outduel its competitors.

And like AirBnB and Uber, Betterment isn’t your cute little trendy start-up competing for its fifteen minutes of Silicon Valley sunshine. It’s an absolute force. Based in New York City, Betterment has the mecca of finance grasped in its hands, and it’s not loosening its grip anytime soon.

Through its simple, yet beautiful user-friendly design, Betterment is snatching customers at a rapid pace. It’s the largest, fastest-growing automated investing service out there, and grew it’s AUM (assets under management) from 1.1 billion to 3.5 billion in this past year alone.

That type of uncanny, jaw-dropping growth is the reason financial managers and wealth advisors should be shaking in their boots. Betterment isn’t just influencing behaviors, it’s redirecting them. They’re puppeteering a shift in culture, one where managing your wealth can be as easy as scrolling through your iPhone. And while the suits on Wall Street can kick back in their leather chairs for the time-being, they may not want to get too comfortable. Betterment is knocking on their door, and if their influence continues to grow at the staggering pace it is, that door won’t just be opened, it will be blown off the hinges.

But don’t get it twisted, Betterment wasn’t created to put financial advisors out of work or to lead an assault on an industry riddled with corruption.

It was created for you. It was created for me. It was created so that normal everyday people had a better option. With Betterment, it’s always been about the customer.

It all started with an inspiring idea – an inspiring idea that CEO Jon Stein then put to action.

“Friends and family asked me, ‘What should I do with my money?’ There were no good answers – so I set out to build one.”

So why Betterment?

Because managing your finances is hard, and they make it easy. It sounds so simplistic, but simplicity is Betterment’s favorite instrument, and they play it better than anyone else. It’s what sets them apart from imitators and its why Quartz dubbed them “The Apple Of Finance”. Stated eloquently in their mission statement, they “built an experience that replaces confusion with delight and uncertainty with control”.

Let’s face it. Finance is confusing. It’s a textbook of complex acronyms that only get more complex when expanded to their true meaning. It’s daunting and causes headaches.

Yet, it’s absolutely necessary. It cannot be ignored, and up until just a few years ago, there was no alternative.

Betterment uses an algorithm that implements financial advice that is widely agreed upon. That means no in-person counseling. No conflict of interest. It’s all executed online. It’s quite literally a well-oiled machine.

“You’re trusting somebody, but why? Especially when you can do the same thing with a massively scalable platform like ours” says Stein.

It also means that it’s cheaper for you and me. It’s not nearly as expensive as the typical cost of a traditional financial advisor, which leaves both you and me with more money to invest. Without the overhead of traditional brick and mortar establishments, they can afford to charge less for its services, which again, means more money for you and me.

Their customers include everyone from the old to the young and from the rich to the poor. Their approach to managing money is fundamentally democratic.

However, Betterment has established quite the kinship with millennials. This should come as no surprise, seeing as the tech-savvy generation would be the most likely to trust a website over a human advisor. And then, of course, you have the beautiful and unprecedented luxury of accessibility. How many young professionals in their mid-twenties do you know who have financial advisors?

Now they all can – on their laptop or in their pocket, on the subway or at the ball game. It’s a simpler, more painless way to save and earn a lot more over time. It’s also simpler, more painless way to start today.

That’s why Betterment is our Inspiring Action Brand of the Week.

-James Nieman, Integrated Marketing Manager