Not sure how to start investing for retirement? We’ve got you covered. You can get a recommended portfolio that makes sense for you—just answer a few questions to help us better understand your investing needs and retirement goals.
Our retirement recommendations are point-in-time. This means you can only invest in a recommended retirement portfolio once, and we won’t continue to monitor your portfolio going forward.
After you’ve opened your Robinhood IRA, you should be able to access retirement recommendations under Find investments on the Retirement tab.
You might not have access to retirement recommendations for a number of reasons, including:
If you have more than 20 equity investments in your IRA.
If you’re a resident of Massachusetts. Retirement recommendations aren’t available in Massachusetts at this time.
If you’ve already invested in your retirement recommendation for that IRA. You can only get one retirement recommendation per IRA.
If you’re trying to access retirement recommendations on the web. Currently, retirement recommendations are only available in your app.
If your app isn’t updated to the latest version.
A portfolio is a group of investments, and each recommended portfolio includes 5-8 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that we choose for you with an algorithm-based investment process we built. Our process uses your answers to our questions to match you to a portfolio that makes sense for you.
Let’s break it down: In investing, a fund tracks the performance of a bundle of investments, and exchange-traded means it’s bought and sold on a stock exchange. Put together: An ETF is a security that trades just like a stock, but performs like a larger bundle of investments.
ETFs allow you to invest in multiple things at once, meaning that you’re able to put your eggs in many baskets. If you just own a stock, you’re invested in a single company—but if you own an ETF with 50 stocks in it, that’s like owning a small slice of each of those 50 stocks. While all investments carry some level of risk, having your money spread across lots of investments may help reduce that risk, so you might have some cushion if one company or industry doesn’t perform well.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this article where we dive deeper into what ETFs are and how they work.
To make sure your recommended portfolio is diversified, our investment team recommends index-based ETFs across a variety of asset classes. An asset class is basically a category of investments that tend to behave similarly, and the asset classes we chose represent a significant portion of the overall universe of investments.
It’s generally considered good practice to have a mix of different asset classes in your portfolio so that asset classes that are performing well can help balance out those that are not. Keep in mind that this doesn’t guarantee that your investments will perform well or that you won’t lose money—it’s just one strategy for diversifying your portfolio and potentially reducing risk.
Your recommended portfolio may include ETFs that represent these asset classes:
US large cap stocks: Stocks from American companies that generally have a market capitalization (or market cap) of $10 billion or more. These are larger, more established companies that collectively make up the majority of the US stock market. You can calculate a company’s market cap by multiplying the stock price by the number of shares outstanding (publicly traded shares + restricted shares held by company insiders).
US small cap stocks: Stocks from American companies that have a market cap of $250 million to $2 billion. Small cap stocks tend to have more growth potential than large cap stocks.
High dividend stocks: Stocks from American companies that have historically paid out high dividends. Dividends are cash payments that companies regularly pass to shareholders.
Growth stocks: Stocks from American companies that are expected to grow at a higher-than-average rate. This increased growth potential generally comes with more risk.
Quality stocks: Stocks from American companies that have demonstrated strong profitability and good financials. They tend to be more stable long-term investments.
International developed markets stocks: Stocks from companies in developed international (outside of the US) markets, which are more established countries that are more advanced economically.
International emerging markets stocks: Stocks from companies in emerging markets, which are fast-growing countries that are developing economically.
US bonds: Government and corporate bonds from American companies. Bonds are essentially units of debt that you can buy, and that the borrower has to pay back with interest. Investing in bonds can help to balance out the risk of investing in stocks.
Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS): Bonds issued by the US government that are designed to help protect your money from inflation over the long term. TIPS are tied to the consumer price index (CPI), which is a figure released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures how prices for consumer goods have shifted.
High-yield corporate bonds: Units of debt that American companies that are considered below investment grade have issued. They’re considered high-yield because these companies pay a higher interest rate on the debt, but they’re also below investment grade—meaning they tend to be higher risk for investors.
Gold: Investing in physical gold bars. This can be a good way to diversify and potentially protect your money against inflation.
Among other factors, here are some of the main criteria that the investment team uses to choose the ETFs we recommend:
High assets under management (AUM): AUM refers to the total amount of money managed by the ETF—in other words, how much money has been invested in that ETF. If an ETF has a high AUM, it likely means that the ETF is a popular choice for investors. The team looks at AUM alongside trading volume—the average value of the shares traded on a given day.
Low expense ratios: The expense ratio is a small fee that helps cover managerial and administrative costs for the fund. They’re typically expressed as a percentage. For example: if you invested $100 in an ETF with a 0.1% expense ratio, $0.10 of your investment would go toward the expense ratio. Our investment team favors low expense ratios because this means less of your investment is going towards this fee.
Tracking error and underlying investments: Most of the ETFs we recommend are index ETFs, which means that they aim to track a certain benchmark index. Tracking error is the difference in actual performance between an ETF and the index the ETF is tracking. Our investment team looks for ETFs with a lower tracking error because it helps to ensure the ETFs provide the intended investment exposure. Our investment team also reviews data specific to each asset class (like sector, market cap, and regional allocations) to double-check that the ETFs we recommend are actually investing in what they want them to track.
Overlap with other ETFs we recommend: To avoid recommending multiple ETFs that provide exposure to similar investments, our investment team looks carefully at the holdings of the ETFs we recommend to ensure there isn’t too much overlap across them in terms of industries, regions, market cap, and holdings, among other factors. This helps ensure that your retirement portfolio is truly diversified.
We recommend splitting your money across your portfolio a certain way so you take on an amount of risk that makes sense for you. This is called asset allocation, and the general idea behind it is that some asset classes are more risky than others, which determines how you may need to split your money across them.
If we learn from your answers that you are risk-averse, we may recommend investing in a lower-risk portfolio with a greater weight in bond ETFs because bonds tend to be less risky than stocks and generally seek to produce income.
After deciding which asset classes to recommend, our investment team uses a tool called an optimizer to determine which asset allocation to recommend for each possible portfolio. Then, the team takes the results from the optimizer and makes small adjustments based on their research and what they believe will do well over the long term.
The investment team revisits this analysis quarterly to make sure our recommendations still make sense based on what’s happening in the market.
It has to do with the math behind our investment process. It requires the $20 minimum in order to correctly calculate and divide your money across the recommended ETFs to meet your investing needs.
If you answer the questions differently each time, you may receive a different portfolio based on how your answers change.
If you answer the questions exactly the same each time, you’ll receive a portfolio with the same risk level. However, if you repeatedly fill out the questionnaire using the same answers across several months, you may notice that the way we split up your portfolio across the recommended ETFs may be different over time.
Our investment team also reviews the portfolios and ETFs we’re recommending quarterly, so allocations may be different and we may swap out individual ETFs as a result of this process.
We round to the nearest whole number when we display your recommended ETFs and their respective percentages in the app, so it may look like the percentages of all of the ETFs in your portfolio don’t quite add up to 100%. Don’t worry—we’ve got all the precise numbers on our end!
The short answer: A lot of thought went into the investment process behind it!
Here’s some additional context on how we come up with our recommended portfolios:
Robinhood’s investment team and data scientists designed the investment process and ETF selection approach that generates your recommended portfolio. The main goal is to recommend a portfolio that seeks to optimize your expected returns while taking on an amount of risk that makes sense for your retirement time horizon.
Our investment team is made up of investment professionals with tenured backgrounds in investment strategy and research, portfolio management, and wealth planning. They’re led by Stephanie Guild, CFA, an investment strategist with over 20 years of experience. You can read her thoughts on current market conditions in her in-app column, the Weekly Rundown, which you can find in the Browse tab of your app.
When we make any recommendation to you, we’re legally required to learn about your investing needs and prioritize your best interest above all else. You can read more about this in our Regulation Best Interest disclosure.
If you’re not ready to invest in your recommended portfolio, you can always come back and get a new one at a later time (assuming you still have less than 20 equity positions and don’t reside in Massachusetts).
We save the answers you provide to our questions in your investor profile, which you can access from the Account tab. You can update your answers at any time.
At this time, you can only invest in one retirement recommendation per IRA you have with Robinhood. Note that once you invest in your recommended retirement portfolio, we won’t continue to monitor your portfolio going forward or provide additional recommendations.
After you invest in your recommended portfolio, you’ll have the option to set up recurring investments in the ETFs for which you’ve invested. This allows you to continue investing in those ETFs on a schedule that works for you.
Note that this is an optional, self-directed step, because your retirement recommendation was based on what we knew about your investing needs and market conditions at that time. As a self-directed investor, you’re responsible for all investment decisions you make with those ETFs going forward including when to make additional purchases for an ETF, considerations for rebalancing the portfolio, and when you’d like to sell those investments. Robinhood will not monitor your portfolio or provide ongoing recommendations for it.
We don’t currently offer any other way to get recommendations or ongoing advice in our retirement accounts. We make recommendations based on what we know about your investing needs and market conditions today, so they don’t apply going forward.
If you haven’t placed a trade in your taxable brokerage account yet, you can get a recommendation for your first trade. If you’d like to learn more about starting to invest and setting goals, you can explore our investing basics lessons.
All investments involve risk and loss of principal is possible. Investors should consider their investment objectives and risks carefully before investing.
Investors should consider the investment objectives and unique risk profile of any Exchange Traded Product (ETP), including any Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) and any Exchange-Traded Notes (ETNs), carefully before investing. A prospectus contains this and other information about the ETP and should be read carefully before investing. Please access the ETF Details Page for any ETF to obtain a prospectus.
Securities trading offered through Robinhood Financial LLC, a registered broker-dealer and Member SIPC, and a subsidiary of Robinhood Markets, Inc. (“Robinhood”).