Like most robos, Merrill Guided Investing begins with a questionnaire that asks you for personal information regarding your age, investing time horizon and risk tolerance. You also choose an investing goal for your portfolio, plus a target dollar amount to guide asset allocation. Goal options include:
- General investing
- Family support
- Special occasion
- Other large purchase
Unfortunately, with Merrill Guided Investing, you can only choose a single goal for one account. If you want to pursue multiple goals, you’d need to set up additional accounts, unlike rivals like Betterment that allow you to allocate your balance to as many different investing goals as you like.
The platform offers two service tiers: A basic “online” service and an “online with an advisor” service. Whichever you choose, you’ll get to see your recommended asset allocation but not the specific funds that make up your portfolio.
If you choose the basic service, the platform generates a recommended portfolio tailored to your situation and goals. You’ll also get details about the likelihood of reaching your goal and the contributions you need to make to reach your goal.
The more expensive service tier gives you direct access to a Merrill investment advisor. After filling out the questionnaire and choosing a goal, you’ll meet with an advisor to refine your investing goal, discuss your recommended portfolio and adjust your asset allocation.
Available account types include:
Merrill Guided Investing doesn’t offer trust accounts, although you have the option to transfer an existing trust to Merrill.