Humans vs. Robots: Which investor is better?

With all the talk about robo-banking, do you really understand what it’s about? Do you ever lie in bed at night and wonder about humans versus robots, which investor is better? For that matter, do you truly understand what a human advisor is — and how they help you?

We thought it would be interesting to pit them against each other and see who wins the battle of the investor, using practical situations and most likely occurrences. After reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of who to go to for financial advice; robot, human…or maybe both!

The pros and cons of each type of advisor

Whether you’re better suited to using a human advisor or a robo-advisor to invest, it all comes down to what you’re looking for as well as your experience as an investor. There are pros and cons to both. Although, before you decide, it’s important to understand each option.

And contrary to popular belief, cost is not everything, as that can be just a small piece of the puzzle. As long as you gain value from the solution, the cost is justified for either option.



If you’re not familiar with the term “robo-advisors,” in a nutshell it’s a digital platform that provides you with automated, algorithm-driven financial planning. 

As you might expect, robo-advisors are more geared towards the do-it-yourself investor. They offer a one and done solution at a lower cost. But that lower cost is for a reason, since on their own they do not give advice or any planning. You’re largely on your own for that matter.

For ACU members, our VirtualWealth® solution is a simple and convenient online investing service that offers digital advice and professionally managed, low-cost portfolios to match your personal financial goals. This also includes automatic rebalancing to keep your investments on track, no matter what happens in the markets.

Learn more: Ready for digital investing? These 2 tools are your gateway


A human advisor is when you’re able to sit down with an actual human being and get financial advice in real time. Unlike robots, human advice provides a holistic approach which might cost a bit more.

Even though a human experience might cost a bit more, you have access to so much more advice on many levels. Those personal services include budgeting, tax planning, family education planning, retirement planning and the list goes on and on.

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Humans vs. robo-advisors: pitting them against each other

Now that we have a good understanding of the key differences between humans and robots, let’s pit them against each other and see who wins the battle of the investor!

Let’s say you’re an investor who’s just starting out and looking to grow your money. If you’re tech-savvy and looking to gain a better understanding of how to invest, you may be better suited for a robot. You’ll get more hands-on experience and, because of that, you will become more knowledgeable as a DIY investor. The robot wins in the first battle.

Now let’s say you’re a more knowledgeable investor. You’re comfortable investing on your own and have years of experience, having learned about the market and what funds you’re comfortable with — also understanding your risk level and returns. You’re more or less looking for a platform to invest in. If that describes you, then again, you may be leaning towards a robo-advisor. In this second battle, the robot also takes the crown.

In our third battle, let’s say you’re someone starting out and you don’t have a clue about investing. You have a small amount to invest, so fees aren’t a big concern of yours. In this case, investing with a human can make a lot of sense. Although the fees will be a bit higher, the one-on-one nature will pay dividends (pun intended) by helping you grow as an investor. That’s one win for humans.

In our fourth and final battle, let’s say you’re a baby boomer nearing retirement. You’re looking for advice on how to draw down your sizable investment portfolio in a tax efficient manner. That’s when a human advisor can make even more sense. That’s another win for humans.

In the end, it’s a tie!

Who’s better for you? You decide!

As you can see, it all depends on what you’re looking for. There’s no one size fits all solution. Depending on where you fall, one solution might be a better fit than the other.

The bottom line is that it’s not all about fees. Good financial advice from a human is worth paying for if it will set you on the right financial path.

Ready for the next step in your investing? Speak with an advisor from ACU Wealth and Credential Securities about your finances and investment strategy. Call us at 204.958.8588 (toll-free at 1.877.958.8588) or book an appointment online.

Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc. VirtualWealth is a trade name of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

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