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Basic economics show that when you and I buy anything, we are paying for more than just the product or service. This is true of cars, groceries, landscaping services, and of course, investment services. While many of these fees are one-time hits on your wallet, the painful impact of investment fees continues for years and wears away at the size of your retirement portfolio.
Consider the chart below, as produced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which illustrates the incredibly disastrous impact of investment fees over a 20 year time period.
A quick glance reveals that even a difference of 0.25% in annual investment fees can reduce portfolio value by $10,000 over 20 years (see the gap between the blue and red lines). The $30,000 difference is even more disastrous when comparing the 1.00% annual fee portfolio to the 0.25% portfolio (blue line and green lines, respectively).
Investment fees are far from the only factors worth considering when selecting investments and choosing an adviser or service, but the graph above is proof that failure to consider investment fees is a serious and costly mistake.
Many professional advisers and services tout their reputation and experience in an attempt to justify their high investment fees, but as an investor in today’s market, it is possible to design an investment portfolio to achieve your goals AND receive personalized professional advice without sacrificing thousands upon thousands of dollars of long-term portfolio growth to investment fees.
Enter Helium Investments.
What is Helium Investments?
Helium Investments has made it their mission to give average investors access to leading financial industry investment techniques at a fraction of the cost of large investment advisor firms.
Simply put, Helium offers low fee, low tax investment options to help investors maximize returns now and over the long haul.
How is Helium different?
Thanks to the internet, investors have more options than ever before. Stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs are available and accessible through a number of avenues.
However, many of these companies willingly set-up your retirement or taxable brokerage account, take your money, and then the air waves go silent. Your money is still invested, but when it comes to paying attention to your investments, you’re on your own. And if you want to make changes to your portfolio, perform periodic rebalancing, or make trades, you’re charged a fee.
Helium offers a different model built upon low fees and professional advice. When you deposit or withdraw money from your account, there are no fees. As your portfolio grows over time, Helium performs rebalancing for you based upon your goals at no cost to you. There are no fees for buying or selling securities within your portfolio, and if you want to connect with your advisor online or via phone, that is also free.
How does Helium earn a profit?
With extremely competitive low fees, Helium generates its profits based on a simple fee model.
- Accounts valued under $10,000 are free
- Accounts valued over $10,000 and under $250,000 are charged a 0.50% fee each year
- Accounts valued over $250,000 are charged a 0.40% fee each year
As our opening example from the SEC above showed, investment fees can eat away at your retirement and other investment accounts in dangerous ways over time. Maximizing your returns and access to professional advice while carefully minimizing fees is one of the best ways to protect your future.
What can Helium do for you?
Helium’s mission is to help you save money while also investing your money in a manner that aligns with your goals and dreams. They achieve this by offering a rare combination of individually tailored client services, tax loss harvesting, automatic investing and rebalancing, carefully crafted portfolios, and low fees.
Whether you’re looking to build for your retirement, save money for a home or boat, or even build an emergency fund, Helium offers a variety of accounts to help you meet your goals:
A traditional IRA is a great investment account to help you save for retirement. Yearly contributions are deducted against your gross income, which you’ve most likely already paid income tax on. The IRS will typically issue you a refund for the excess income tax paid.
Taxable: No (Deposits), Yes (Withdrawals)
Maximum Contribution: $5,500 per year under 50 years old, $6,500 above
Maximum Age to Contribute: 70½
Withdrawal Must Start: April 1st after you turn 70½
A Roth IRA is an excellent investment vehicle to save for retirement, but it has income limits. If you earned more than $132,000 in 2016 – you’re unable to contribute to a Roth IRA. Unlike a Traditional IRA the gains and withdrawals from a Roth IRA are generally tax-free even before age 59½
Taxable: Yes (Deposits), Typically no (Withdrawals)
Maximum Contribution: $5,500 per year under 50 years old, $6,500 above
Unregistered accounts are still a valuable investing tool as short term savings and when you reach your yearly IRA contribution limits. With an unregistered account the deposits are not taxed, however the gains are taxed at your capital gains tax rate. This rate varies based on your marginal rate – typically between 0% for those making $37,650 and under to 20% for those making $451,051 and over.
Taxable: No (Deposits), Yes (Withdrawals)
The Helium Advantage
A major value at Helium is helping investors start early and receive good advice from the start. They believe in a continuous cycle of getting advice, setting your goals, reaching them, and setting new goals.
Prospective investors can use their intuitive calculator to evaluate just how much money they can save with Helium compared to remaining in a portfolio of higher-fee mutual funds.
For example, I used the calculator to evaluate how much I could save in Helium’s aggressive portfolio based upon an initial $2,000 investment and $750 monthly contributions over 10 years. Based upon a reasonable estimated return of 6.5%, the calculator showed that I could save nearly $10,000.
How to get started with Helium
Registering with Helium is fast, simple, and even fun. It only took me a few minutes to work my way through the process on my laptop when testing it out.
If you prefer, you can also download the mobile app to your device and register that way. It is available on both iOs and Android devices. Users can even begin registration on one device, pause midway, and resume on another platform.
You’ll start by choosing a username and password, then proceed to entering typical identifying information, such as your name, address, and contact information.
Next you’ll be asked a series of interesting questions designed to help the Helium team get to know you better, such as:
- If you were on a TV game show and could choose from one of the following, which would you choose?
- If you needed $2,000 tomorrow, what would you do?
After answering approximate questions regarding income, net worth, savings goals, current debt levels, and preferred account types, all that remains is adding a beneficiary, social security numbers, and linking your preferred banking account.
The Helium Investment Dashboard
In order to help me provide maximum insight in this review, the team at Helium built a test account for me. After logging in, I was shown a centralized dashboard which highlighted my overall portfolio composition.
By navigating to the Portfolio tab, I was able to take a quicker look at the composition of each account by date by using the drop down menu. Here is a look at the test Roth IRA account as of February 5, 2017.
The Performance tab provides helpful linear graphs to help investors see performance trends over time. Here is a snapshot of the performance of the Traditional IRA within the test account.
I was pleased to see a tab for users to create and update goals within the dashboard; this is a great example of how Helium strives to live up to its mission of helping their clients achieve their goals. Establishing a goal within the test account was simple. I named the goal, established a monetary figure and target date, selected a corresponding account, and saved the goal.
Why Should I Sign-Up With Helium?
As an investor, you have several viable options when it comes to building for your retirement or other financial goals. It is important to keep in mind that your unique situation, goals, and desired level of involvement will play a big role in determining the best way to manage your investments.
For an investor who is looking for regular access to professional advice without paying high fees, Helium Investments can provide very high value. They offer a rarely seen combination of tailored advice, low fees (or no fees for accounts under $10,000), automated rebalancing, and sophisticated tax loss harvesting. And by all indications, they’ve cracked the code on leveraging technology and low-cost ETFs to maximize portfolio gains and minimize fees.
For investors who embrace the notion that what you keep is more important than how much you make, this is a perfect approach. If you’re interested in actively trading on a daily basis (which I do not recommend), Helium isn’t for you.
I recommend connecting with Helium Investments and giving their team the opportunity to review your portfolio. By simply uploading a statement, Helium can review your portfolio and analyze it for potential savings. They may be able to save you several thousand dollars.
What’s Not to Love?
To be perfectly transparent, I tried very hard to uncover “the catch” with Helium. I thought I might discover hidden fees, high set-up costs, or other red flags.
But I didn’t.
After an in-depth review, it appears that the Helium Investments team has built a client-friendly model that is also profitable for their company. As their website shows, they have a small core team and, therefore, likely have low overhead. Some may see this is a disadvantage, but I don’t.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is the future direction of Helium Investments. They are a newer company competing in a saturated market. However, no market is too saturated for a new company which provides incredible value when compared to its competitors.
So far, Helium is doing exactly that.
For more information about Helium Investments, click here to visit their website.
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Helium Investments™ and the Helium Investments Balloon are trademarks of Helium Investments Inc, all rights reserved. Helium Investments Inc is a registered Investment Advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the jurisdictions of
CA, TX, FL, NY, IL, PA, OH, GA, NC, MI. Investment accounts are free up to $10,000 USD after fees apply. Any historical returns are not indicative of future performance. Investment values will fluctuate over time. SIPC Member, Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee.
This review is sponsored by Helium Investments; however, all analysis, review, and opinions are the the product and intellectual property of FinanceSuperhero.com.