grow your dough challenge

Q1 is finally in the books! As part of the Grow Your Dough Challenge, I’m taking a look at how my $1,000 investment is doing inside of Betterment. I have to say, after three months of doing this, I am definitely a hands-off kind of investor. While I like checking in on my investments every now and again, I also don’t make frequent changes. That’s what makes Betterment so great. They will automatically readjust my portfolio if things start to turn for the worst (or for the better for that matter).


Here’s how my Grow Your Dough Challenge inside of Betterment did in March:

General investing was at a cumulative 12.1% return. This is amazing considering I made zero changes since I opened my account.

My overall balance is $1,129.40. That means that I have effectively made $129.40 since starting the challenge. I put maybe less than hour of time into learning this platform. So, if I made $129.40 and only spent one hour learning Betterment, I’m pretty happy with that.

However, I’m very curious if I had taken that $1,000 and used it in starting a side-hustle. Maybe I could have earned more than what I have made in Betterment. Think about it. That $129.40 divided by three months is only $1.43 per day. I feel like I could do better in a side-hustle.

But side-hustles take time. They take work. And I want to dedicate my time on other things, like growing my YouTube channel or telling more millennials about my debt free course. Yeah, things like that. I digress.

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What my Betterment portfolio looks like:

I’m still in an aggressive strategy. 91% of my money is tied up in stocks and 9% are invested in bonds. The biggest portion of my investment is in VTI: Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF. I love Vanguard, so this is great. Roughly 33% of my investment lies within this ETF.

What is Betterment Drift?

One thing I took notice of on my dashboard is this little feature called Drift. Drift keeps your investments at the right level of risk that you intended. My level of risk right now is aggressive. This means I am okay with taking on the heavy upswings and downswings of the market.

Drift helps rebalance your portfolio to keep the target weight of your portfolio to what you intended. As the stock market rises and falls, portions of your stocks and bonds will go up or down. So it’s best if everything remains balanced. That’s what Drift takes care of for you. And it does a good job of telling you what the deviation or how far off your current portfolio is compared to your investment strategy. Mine is currently at 1.1% which is normal.

The best part of Betterment

So, here’s my beef with financial advisors. I’ve seen so many of them skim through the management fees like no big deal. That’s the cost of playing the investment game, right? Let me tell you how freeing it feels now that I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid.

The best part of Betterment is the extremely low, like lower than low, fund fees per year. This is what makes Betterment better than working with an active financial advisor. Investing with Betterment is only costing me 80 cents. Yes–$0.80. Like, what?! Between this and investing directly with Vanguard, I’m sure to hit millionaire status in no time.

What my Grow Your Dough Challenge strategy is for April

As my good buddy, Joe Dirt would say, I’m going to “keep on keepin’ on.” No reason to try and church it up. What’s also really cool is that I had two people sign up using my Betterment link. This means they get 90 days managed free and I get 30 days managed free for each person. This is a huge win because I can shave a couple of cents off of my fund fees.

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