RBC InvestEase is designed for millions of Canadians in the same boat: They have some money saved and sitting in a (low-risk, low-gain) savings account. They know investing would be wiser, and they’re curious about it, but their emotions get in the way. The process feels intimidating and scary, and truthfully they don’t even know where to start.
Luckily, there’s an online investing platform called RBC InvestEase from the brains at RBC. Colloquially, for better or worse, it’s known as a “robo-advisor.”
Rajan Bansi, head of RBC InvestEase, does not love that name. “We joke in this business about who came up with the name ‘robo-advisor’ because no one is owning up to it,” jokes Bansi. For anyone who hears the word robot and automatically thinks Total Recall, he’s quick to dispel any dystopian fears. “There’s no robot in a robo-advisor any more than there’s a robot in your phone when you order an Uber. It’s not a robot, it’s just technology being used to solve the problem at hand.”
When it comes to investing, pesky human emotions often hold us back. Among the most common culprits are fear, uncertainty and anxiety; but less-obvious ones like boredom, frustration, shame, guilt or greed can also drive rash decision-making. There’s a reason the old adage “Emotion is the enemy of investing” is still going strong.
Even Bansi, a financial whiz, is not immune to the deleterious effects of big feelings. Many years ago, the then-student watched others’ investment successes with a mounting unpleasant feeling: jealousy. In haste to catch up, Bansi decided to gamble and at first, he won. “Very quickly I turned $40,000 into $100,000—which was obviously very exciting,” he recalls. “But in the next few months, I watched it dwindle down again, all the way down to $2,000. I couldn’t let it go and basically lost everything.”
It was an expensive lesson, Bansi admits, but one that was ultimately worth it: “I learned that I can’t worry about what other people are doing, and I can’t let my emotions get the better of me.” Twenty years later, RBC InvestEase helps remove those unwanted outside influences and lets users manage money from the privacy of their own home (or wherever their phone and laptop takes them).
There are many benefits to this no-meetings-necessary model: If you’re interested in dipping your toe into stocks but your $100 budget feels too insignificant to tap a financial advisor, this service is for you. If you want to start (very) small and (extra) slow, RBC InvestEase doesn’t judge. If you’re trying to build up confidence a little bit at a time, RBC InvestEase will never run out of patience. (If and when you would like some human interaction, however, the service also includes help and advice from RBC experts of traditional flesh-and-blood form, who are there to take your call or email.)
Still not sure where to start? Start with whatever amount you like. “We have people who open an account with zero dollars,” says Bansi. “They start with a contribution of as little as $5 a week—which sounds small, sure, but it does a big job of getting someone comfortable with investing. Sometimes those same people get confident very quickly and now they’re adding $200 a week.”1
To sign up, all you need to do is answer a few quick questions—employment status, salary, risk tolerance, etc—and then sit back while RBC InvestEase creates a personalized investment portfolio of low-cost Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) based on your answers. And now comes the fun part: “You see your money, the stocks you own, you can make contributions or request withdrawals,” says Bansi. “Basically, you watch your money perform in real time.”
Moreover, RBC also has educational resources to help you better understand investing. RBC InvestEase users get a monthly newsletter, weekly insights from an investment committee, access to an online library of content to help you understand tax-free savings accounts and RSPs or the difference between the two. The platform even offers exclusive rewards—refer a friend and you both get $25, for example—to engage users with each other.
Bansi says the time is right to embrace the upsides of robo-investing. “The pandemic has made a lot of people in the last 18 months much more tech-savvy than they were before,” says Bansi. “People who before had shied away from technology embraced it, we all learned to use Spotify and UberEats with ease. RBC InvestEase could just be the next platform you master.”
Learn more on how to start saving with RBC InvestEase today. Open an RBC InvestEase account and pay no management fee for 1 year2. Offer ends September 15, 2021. Click here to sign up!