Swell Investing review: A robo-advisor for social impact | finder.com

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Swell Investing review

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How to invest in the future and innovation without spending hours poring over portfolios.

You want to do good in the world, but as an individual contributor it’s hard to make a recognizable impact. Through investing, you can potentially make that difference by assisting large companies in their ventures to push progressive change. That’s where Swell Investing comes in. With a relatively low minimum to open an account, this company keeps investing simple, socially-conscious and affordable.

0.75%

Annual fee

$50

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Annual fee0.75%
Minimum deposit to open$50
Available asset typesStocks

How does Swell work?

The team behind this robo-advisor vets potential companies for each portfolio and revisits them on a quarterly basis to ensure they continue to meet the set standards. Here’s how it works:

  1. Set up your account. Open a traditional brokerage account or an IRA, then easily link your bank account.
  2. Build your portfolio. Choose from seven themed portfolios, then create your diversified investment mix from Swell‘s selection of vetted companies.
  3. Manage your account. Log in to the Swell website to easily manage your portfolio. Swell doesn’t have an app just yet, but its website is optimized for mobile devices.
  4. Watch your money grow. Regardless of what you’re saving for, you can simply sit back and watch your money grow. Securities in your account are protected up to $500,000 by FINRA and SIPC insurance.
  5. Read up. Take a look at Swell‘s blog for investment tips, news, interviews and more.

How much does Swell cost?

Swell charges a 0.75% annual fee, which works out to $3.75 a year per $500 invested. Your money is used to purchase shares of your selected companies, so you won’t pay ETF or mutual fund fees. Plus, there are no trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios, just a minimum opening deposit of $50.

What are the benefits of Swell Investing?

Robo-advisors like Swell have become increasingly popular in recent years, but here’s what sets this company apart from the rest:

  • Social investing. Each company is thoroughly analyzed and held to high standards so that only those most dedicated to change are involved.
  • Low minimum. $50 is a rather reasonable starting balance in the investing world.
  • Simple pricing. With only a minimum balance and an annual fee to consider, it’s easy to keep track of how much Swell Investing costs you.
  • Referral bonus. Earn a $300 bonus for every three friends who sign up and fund their account using your custom link.
  • Flexibility. Unlike many other robo-advisors, Swell allows you to select companies and stocks you’d like to invest in.
  • Performance. As of this writing, six of the seven Swell Investing portfolios are outperforming the S&P 500.
  • Optimization. Swell automatically rebalances your portfolio, helps reduce your taxable gains and reinvests your dividends.

What to watch out for

No investment option is perfect. Here are a few things to watch out for if you choose to open an account with Swell:

  • High fee. You may find a less expensive option elsewhere; some robo-advisors even provide a $0 annual fee when under a certain amount is invested.
  • Volatility. Individual stocks can be extremely volatile. While the portfolios contain a significant amount of individual stocks to diversify, it may not be as stable as other options.
  • No 401(k) management. While you can roll over a 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) with Swell Investing, it currently doesn’t offer 401(k) management.
  • No app. While the Swell website is also optimized for mobile devices, it doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app.
  • Limited account options. Swell only allows you to open a traditional brokerage account or IRA account.

Compare with other robo-advisors

Name Product Minimum deposit to open Available asset types Annual fee
$500
Stocks
0.6%
Automated pure equity investing to help you achieve your goals. Free portfolio management for the first six months.
$100
ETFs
0%
Put your money to work. Pay zero SoFi management fees.
$0
0.25% on balances up to $99,999

0.15% on balances of $100,000+
Betterment's automatic investment site aims to improve your returns and support good financial habits with passive investing and financial planning support.
$500
Index funds
ETFs
0.25%
Wealthfront builds a free financial plan for the life you want and automate your investments at a low cost.
$100
Stocks
Bonds
ETFs
Cash
0%
No advisory fees for automated investing that's professionally managed. Now with a Socially Responsible Investing portfolio option.
$0
Stocks
Bonds
ETFs
$1 per month
Invest your spare change. Anyone can grow wealth.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I sign up?

  1. Visit the Swell website and click Sign up.
  2. Enter your name and email, then create a password.
  3. Confirm your email, then add your contact information and sign the legal documents.
  4. Answer questions about your investment preferences, goals and employment information.
  5. Read about each portfolio and potential stocks, then create your mix.
  6. Connect your bank account and transfer at least $50 to start investing.

From start to finish, the process takes about 20 minutes to complete, depending on how quickly the confirmation email arrives. And once your application has been submitted, it takes about four to eight days to be fully activated and invested.

Eligibility

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Make an initial deposit of at least $50
  • Have a valid Social Security number or tax ID number
  • Have a valid US address
  • Have a valid state-issued ID

Required information

  • Name
  • Email
  • Address
  • Social Security number or tax ID number
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship/residency status
  • Employment status
  • Investment preferences

How to contact Swell customer service

If you ever have any questions or concerns, there are a number of ways you can get in touch with Swell:

  • Email: support@swellinvesting.com
  • Phone: +1 (949) 566-8985
  • Instagram: @Swellinvesting
  • Twitter: @Swellinvesting
  • Facebook: Swellinvesting

I’ve signed up. Now what?

After you’ve signed everything and set up your account, it’s time to take advantage of everything Swell has to offer:

  • Create your mix. Use Swell‘s market research to choose a selection of companies that align with your beliefs and investment goals.
  • Set up recurring deposits. Grow your account faster by setting up recurring deposits into your portfolio.
  • Manage your account. Log in to monitor your account and adjust investments while Swell takes care of dividends, rebalancing and more.
  • Tax advice. Swell doesn’t offer tax advice, so you might want to consult an accountant or tax professional when it comes time to file your taxes.
  • Read up. Check out Swell‘s blog for investment news, tips, related interviews and more.

Bottom line

Swell Investing is a robo-advisor that’s designed for those who care about the world. Environmental and social impact is at the core of its values, and if that’s something you have in common, Swell might be right for you. However, more conservative investors may not find the stock-based securities as attractive, and its fees can be slightly higher than its competitors. To get the full picture of what automated investment companies can offer, compare your options with our guide to robo-advisors before you settle.

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