Wealthsimple Review: Is This the Best Financial Platform for Canadians?

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Robo-advisors are becoming significantly more advanced and commonplace than they were even just a decade ago. There are many advantages to robo-advisors, but two of the most significant benefits are that they are more accessible and less costly to use than traditional financial advisors. They leverage technology to provide guidance that is much more cost-effective than humans. One of Canada's largest robo-advisor sites is Wealthsimple. Headquartered in Toronto, this organization employs engineers and data scientists that used to work at some of the world's leading tech companies. The result, in theory, should be a platform that makes it easy, intuitive, and straightforward to invest. And, recently, this company has branched out with other financial products, including stock trading, crypto, taxes, and more. As we will see in this Wealthsimple review, Canadians genuinely now have a one-stop-shop for everything financial!

Wealthsimple Review: First, What Are Robo-Advisors?

Before delving into Wealthsimple and its platform, it's worth reviewing what, precisely, robo-advisors are and how they can help investors.

With a traditional financial advisor, clients would typically meet with someone in person and describe their financial situation. They might say something like, “I have $100,000 to invest, and I am looking to retire early.” The financial advisor would then listen to the client's needs, goals, how much they have and advise a course of action. Everyone would be different. Having $100k to invest at age 60 is much different than having $100k to invest at age 20. At 20, the advisor might suggest going more aggressively because there is time to make up for any losses. At 60, the strategy is probably much more conservative to preserve capital.

Robo-advisors use technology to automate this process. These sites frequently have questionnaires that prospective clients fill out and the system, using some proprietary algorithm, suggests one or more investments. A robo-advisor firm might have five funds, for example, from ultra-conservative to ultra-risky. Once you fill out the form, the system can algorithmically determine which fund is best for your circumstances.

Importantly, these firms still have a fiduciary duty to their clients. The only difference is that you're taking advantage of technology to make these recommendations instead of relying on a natural person.

It's more cost-efficient, faster, and sometimes even leads to better advice!

Wealthsimple got its start as a robo-advisor – and did this well. But, the company has recently expanded into stock trading, taxes, crypto trading, payment processing, and more. The added services have truly made Wealthsimple a financial powerhouse that has made it much easier for Canadians to invest!

What Does Wealthsimple Provide?

Wealthsimple provides essentially everything people need to begin investing. There is nothing else quite like it in Canada yet.

Prospective clients can open any one of the following account types: personal, joint, corporate, cash savings, RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, and LIRA. Crypto clients can only open non-registered accounts due to various regulatory restrictions.

There is no minimum investment, so whether you want to start with $1 or $100,000, you can sign up for Wealthsimple to try it out! Indeed, whether you invest in the robo-advisor platform, buy stocks, or trade crypto, you can get started for as little or as much as you want.

Wealthsimple also provides some features that are somewhat uncommon for the Canadian market. For example, you can invest with fractional shares. There is even a section dedicated to socially responsible investing so you can invest in what matters to you!

One other significant benefit of Wealthsimple is that they have an offer to get a free stock if you open a trading account! We'll get into that in a little bit, but it's an incredible offer that could be worth up to $4,500 – just for opening an account!

Ultimately, Wealthsimple has a depth about it that you would be hard-pressed to find with the other competitors.

Wealthsimple Review: The Apps

Wealthsimple's apps are part of what makes it such an attractive platform. Indeed, the apps that Wealthsimple provides make it so easy to get started using their platform. Whether you want to take advantage of the robo-advisor or trade stocks on your own, the apps make it intuitive and straightforward.

Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, Wealthsimple has two apps of interest to those looking to invest: Wealthsimple Invest and Wealthsimple Trade. They also have two other apps, Wealthsimple Cash, for those looking to send and receive money, and Wealthsimple Tax, for those looking to have Wealthsimple handle all their T1s, T4s, and other tax documents.

Wealthsimple Invest

Wealthsimple Invest is for those who are looking for the essential robo-advisor experience.

From the moment a prospective client opens the app to the moment they start investing, it's clear that the developers behind this app have thought about the experience. The interface is clean and vibrant. You'll get an initial questionnaire about your retirement goals, timelines, and overall risk profile. From those answers, the automated algorithms will suggest a portfolio that fits into one of three categories: growth, balanced, or conservative.

After that simple questionnaire, you become a passive investor! All you need to do is monitor your account as little or as much as you want. You can set up contributions, too, so you can slowly begin to build wealth over time.

If you don't want to pick and buy individual stocks, the Invest part of the platform is the best way to start investing! You won't have control over which investments you make, but that's the point: Wealthsimple's automated platform will pick the right blend of investments for your particular profile without you needing to do all the research and manage them yourself!

Wealthsimple Trade

For those that enjoy a little more control over their investments or desire to invest in something more specific, there's Wealthsimple Trade.

Much like Wealthsimple invest, Trade is equally well-thought-out and presents a clean, enjoyable experience for the user. The app is clean and straightforward. Unlike many trading platforms that show a lot of charts and other information that may be overwhelming to novice investors, Wealthsimple keeps it simple. You'll see the stocks that you own and the sign-up process quite literally takes five minutes. You can buy and sell stocks in a straightforward, intuitive manner. The app truly is about simplicity, and it works well.

There are some downsides, however. First, if you're looking for fancier stock trading choices, this does not provide it. You can buy U.S. and Canadian stocks and ETFs, and that's it. There's no short selling here and no options! If you want those more fancy trade choices, you'll need to go elsewhere.

Another downside is that stock quotes have a 15-minute lag on them. The lack of real-time data seems like a glaring oversight, considering that many competitors have this. Therefore, if you enjoy trading stocks and want real-time data, you'll need to look for that information in other apps and sources.

Other than that, the app itself is straightforward and intuitive. If you want the easiest, most elegant way to buy and sell stocks and cryptocurrencies, Wealthsimple Trade is the platform you should pick!

Wealthsimple Review: The Free Stock Promotion

As mentioned above, part of the allure of Wealthsimple is their free stock promotion. (Please note that this promotion excludes Quebec.)

Wealthsimple Trade will provide a free stock to anyone that opens a new account. That single share may not sound like much, but its value could be as high as $4,500!

According to Wealthsimple, the stock bonus ranges between $5 and $4,500 with an average award of $15. 95% of clients receive less than $50.

However, that means there's about a 1 in 20 chance you'd get over $50 just for signing up for an account!

Free stocks are such a powerful motivating tool for investing for various reasons. Something feels good about putting some money in and getting a free share. It's a nice bonus that makes you feel good about investing. And, the free share you receive might be in a good company that you've never heard about – so maybe you'll buy more shares, and it will lead to you building your wealth in an unexpected way!

Alternatively, you can always sell the share and put it towards something you want. For new investors, that gives people the experience of selling their first stock!

Free is always good, but it's even better when free is a powerful motivator for securing your financial future!

Wealthsimple Review: It's a Fantastic Platform for Canadians

As is evident from this Wealthsimple review, it's a phenomenal platform for Canadians. Between Wealthsimple Invest and Wealthsimple Trade (they are not mutually exclusive), most Canadians will have everything they need to build wealth and grow their investment portfolio. There is also an excellent opportunity to diversify – having, let's say, your RRSP in Invest but your TFSA in Trade. Or, maybe you have part of your RRSP in Trade and the other part in Invest. The point is: you can take advantage of the skilled robo-advisor for part of your money and take charge of your investment portfolio with the other – all using the same company's clean, intuitive apps!

Therefore, if you are looking at investing: sign up for Wealthsimple today and take advantage of their free stock offer. With some luck, it could make you $4,500!

Weslthsimple Free Stock Offer

Wealthsimple Referral LinkClick here to sign up
Sign-up BonusThe free stock bonus has a value of between CAD$5 and CAD$4500
Referral Bonus TermsThis offer is only applicable to new Wealthsimple Trade clients residing in Canada.
The free stock bonus has a value of between CAD$5 and CAD$4500 with an average of CAD$15 and ~95% of clients receiving less than CAD$50 based on the stock value at the time of selection. The free stock bonus is calibrated to these values on a regular basis but remains subject to market movements.
Last ValidatedDecember 2021

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