Updated: Jan 04, 2024

Merrill Edge Guided Investing 2024 Review: Best Advisor for Your Investments?

Learn how Merrill Edge Guided Investing, an online investment advisory service, work to manage your portfolio - and find out if it is worth the cost.
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Robo-advisors make it easy to build an investment portfolio. You can invest based on your goals, timeline, and risk tolerance.

Compared to working with a human advisor, robo-advisors can save money with lower fees.

But is it right for you?

Merrill Edge (the investing arm of Bank of America) is yet another company that's joined the robo-advisor ranks. Merrill Edge Guided Investing combines online investing with professional portfolio management.

You get the benefit of Merrill Edge expertise when choosing investments. Rebalancing is also built-in.

Merrill Edge investing experts are available when you need them. You can get in touch online, by phone, or at Bank of America locations.

Doing your homework before choosing a robot advisor is a must. Our review takes an in-depth look at Merrill Edge Guided Investing's features.

Merrill Edge Guided Investing is Good for.

  • People who have at least $5,000 to invest
  • Investors who prefer exchange-traded funds
  • People who want affordable professional portfolio management
  • Taxable and tax-advantaged investing

Merrill Edge Guided Investing Pros & Cons

  • Professional portfolio management
  • Low annual fee
  • Portfolio rebalancing included
  • Investment choices features low-cost ETFs
  • Preferred Rewards benefits for existing BofA customer
  • $5,000 minimimum investment
  • No individual stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • Trusts and inherited IRAs not available
  • No tax loss harvesting
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Types of Accounts Offered

There are several different account types you can open with Merrill Edge. They include:

    • Individual and joint brokerage accounts
    • Traditional and Roth IRAs
    • Rollover IRAs (for employer-sponsored retirement plan rollovers)
    • SEP and SIMPLE IRAs
    • Custodial accounts
    • 529 accounts

    Merrill Edge doesn't offer trusts or inherited IRAs as an investment option.

    But there are plans to offer those in the future.

    Merrill Edge also doesn't allow power-of-attorney access for Guided Investing accounts. But you have plenty of choices for opening an account.

    Are There Different Tiers for Merrill Edge Guided Investing Accounts?

    Some robo-advisor platforms tier their accounts based on your balance.

    So, if you have a balance below a specific limit, you might enjoy one set of benefits for a certain fee. If your balance climbs, the price might increase, but you could unlock more perks.


    With Merrill Edge Guided Investing, there are no account tiers.

    Every account has the same features and a low annual management fee. There's one potential hitch, however.

    You'll need at least $5,000 to start investing with Merrill Edge Guided Investing.

    Some online investing platforms have higher minimums. Others have no minimum at all.

    If you have less than $5,000, you may need to pick another robo advisor. Or, wait until you hit that mark to start with Merrill Edge.

    Investment Options

    Merrill Edge Guided Investing focuses on exchange-traded funds( or ETFs).

    ETFs have two main benefits:

    • They offer simplified diversification
    • They tend to have lower fees compared to mutual funds or individual stocks

    Merrill Edge uses a variety of ETFs to build portfolios through Guided Investing.

    Generally, those ETFs focus on five investment areas:

    • Domestic equity - U.S.-based stock ETFs
    • International equity - ETFs that invest 40% or more of their holdings in foreign companies
    • Taxable fixed income - ETFs whose returns are subject to local, state, and federal tax
    • Non-taxable fixed income - Non-taxable bond ETFs (with a focus on municipal bonds)
    • Miscellaneous fixed income - Bond ETFs that include U.S. and non-U.S. fixed-income securities

    Investments are divided up further in each grouping.

    With domestic equity, you can choose from large, mid or small-cap companies. With fixed income, ETFs focus on short, intermediate, and long-term bonds.

    As you can see, there's a good range of investments. Remember that stocks tend to be riskier than bonds.

    Building a portfolio

    You know what you can invest in with Merrill Edge. The next question is, how do you do it?

    It's pretty simple. You fill out a short questionnaire telling Merrill Edge about yourself. That includes your investing goals.

    From there:

    Merrill Edge offers a recommended investment strategy. If you're comfortable with that strategy, you can move on to opening and funding your account.

    Can you invest in anything other than ETFs?

    Some online investing platforms offer individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Merrill Edge Guided Investing focuses on ETFs only.

    The upside is that ETFs have some advantages.

    • They tend to have lower management fees than traditional mutual funds.
    • They're tax-efficient, which is a plus if you invest in a taxable account.
    • ETFs let you diversify easily through one fund.
    • Check your current account balance.
    • Review investment performance history.
    • Check your progress towards your investing goals.
    • Review earnings and cash flow.

    You can also use the dashboard to view other Bank of America or Merrill Edge accounts if you have them. That includes checking, savings, and other investment accounts.

    Overall, the interface has a clean design and is easy to use.

    Research Tools

    As mentioned, you can contact an investment professional by phone, web chat, or at a Bank of America location if you have questions.

    Merrill Edge also has an extensive library of research articles and tools you can tap into.

    For example, you can read up on different types of investments, get real-time streaming quotes, and use a stock screener tool to choose investments.

    You can also access thought leadership articles from Merrill Edge and Bank of America on investment trends and what's happening in the market.

    Merrill Edge does a great job of giving investors a steady stream of helpful information.

    Is Merrill Edge Guided Investing a Good Way to Invest?

    Merrill Edge Guided Investing could be a great choice if you can meet the $5,000 minimum investment and prefer ETFs to other investments.

    The annual fee isn't overwhelming, and the professional management aspect could appeal to investors who want more than a DIY approach.

    On the other hand:

    You might want to check out another robo advisor if you're hoping to build a portfolio with more than ETFs or you want to get started with less money.

    Remember that you might not be rebalancing or professional guidance with other online platforms.

    Weigh those benefits against the cost and investment choices.