The term “robo-advisor” refers to an online service that uses an algorithm to help you choose and manage your investments.  Automated financial advice is already up and running in the U.S. and is now generating buzz in Canada as firms such as NestWealth, ShareOwner, and WealthSimple look to set up shop here.

The service is based around clients choosing from a suite of broad market ETFs and then sitting back while a robo-advisor (i.e. computer) reviews and rebalances the portfolio on the client’s behalf.

ShareOwner was the first out of the gate in Canada and offers five options ranging from aggressive growth to conservative.

Next week on the Because Money video podcast, we’ll be hanging out with Michael Katchen, founder of WealthSimple, to talk about the rise of the robo-advisor and why he hates that term.

For the record, Katchen’s WealthSimple model is described as “light-advice”, with a flesh-and-blood advisor overseeing the building and rebalancing of each portfolio.

This Week’s Recap

On Friday, Sandi Martin stopped by to explain why GIC investors are better off choosing the five-year GIC instead of buying a one-year term and waiting for rates to go up.

Monday, I looked at the power of small changes and how making things simple and automatic can lead to impressive results.

And on Wednesday, Marie explained that we all have different strategies when it comes to using credit cards and we need to identify our spending habits in order to find the product best suited for us.

On my Rewards Cards Canada blog, I looked at three of the worst rewards cards on the market.  I also mentioned that Costco and American Express have parted ways and what that means for TrueEarnings card holders.  Finally, I asked if loyalty programs and retailers have gone too far in pursuit of our data.

And over on Earn Save Grow, I explained some of the challenges we’ve faced with our fee-only business model and how we’ve overcome them.  I also opened up about my car buying mentality and whether I prefer new or used vehicles.

Weekend Reading:

The Globe and Mail’s Gen Y blogger, Victoria Hoffman, talks about FOMO (fear of missing out) and how she’s battled the urge to travel while she pays off her student debt.

Adam Mayers at the Toronto Star offered some tips to get the most out of your consumer loyalty (your annual reminder to call your cable company and insurance provider)

A financial advisor explains that, at its core, financial planning is about helping people realize their vision.

Yahoo Finance snagged a bunch of great writers to blog on its new Tumblr platform.  The first entry comes from Josh Brown – Seven truths investors simply cannot accept.  The next must-read comes from Ben Carlson, who offers these common sense investment guidelines.

Ben added another great piece on his own investing blog – Why does buy and hold have to be impossible?

Dan from Our Big Fat Wallet explained his decision to cut cable over the summer.

Finally, not financial news (unless you get a speeding ticket like I did the other day), but the Priceonomics blog explained why every speed limit might be too low.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!


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