• General FAQs

Questions & Answers

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Popular Questions

Is there a minimum amount to open or maintain?

Yes, the minimum to open or maintain an EarthFolio account is $25,000.   If the account’s average daily balance drops below $25,000 in a given quarter, a $31.25 flat fee will be charged in lieu of the 0.50% annual management fee.

What if I’m under the minimum?

If you’re under the minimum, consider consolidating accounts that share a similar account type. For example, if you have a Traditional IRA valued at $7,000 and an old 401(k) valued at $18,000, it may be possible to roll those two retirement accounts into one to meet the $25,000 minimum. You should consult your tax advisor to discuss the implications of account consolidation.

How much does it cost?

EarthFolio charges a transparent all-inclusive annual advisory fee of only 0.50%. The fee is based on your annual account balance and is deducted from your account on a quarterly basis. The only additional cost is the individual operating expenses charged by the underlying mutual funds which combined average about 0.80% per year.  See Our Pricing.

What makes EarthFolio sustainable?

EarthFolio is the only online advisory service that invests exclusively in funds classified as Sustainable or Responsible.  In order to be classified as such, a fund’s prospectus must state the specific environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria used in stock or bond selection.  See Why It Matters.

What types of accounts can invest in EarthFolio?

  • Individual Account
  • Joint Account
  • Trust Account
  • IRA or Roth Rollover
  • 401(k) or 403(b) Rollover
  • SEP

Does EarthFolio manage Institutional accounts?

Although our firm has been managing institutional accounts since 2000, we do not offer this service through the EarthFolio online advisory program. If you are interested in opening a corporate or not-for-profit account, contact us directly at 800-346-7789.

How has sustainable investing performed?

Studies show that there is a growing correlation between strong ESG practices (environmental, social, and governance) and competitive individual stock or fund performance. To read more about these studies and to see how sustainable indexes have performed versus the S&P 500 click here.  See Performance.

What are the steps to open an EarthFolio account?

Starting an EarthFolio account is simple and only takes about ten minutes to complete. To get started simply click on any Get Started button and you’ll be guided through three easy steps.

Step 1. Questionnaire
Answer a few straightforward questions, such as what type of account you’re interested in, how long you plan to invest, and what your risk tolerance is.

Step 2. Recommendation
Based on your answers, we’ll recommend a portfolio that is optimized to your investment needs. Your specific recommendation will include:

  • Personalized portfolio recommendation
  • Your recommended portfolio’s historical performance
  • Your exact management fee

Additionally, if you already have an investment account we’ll run a FREE head-to-head analysis comparing your existing portfolio to your EarthFolio recommendation.

Step 3. Application
Using a fast and secure online application, we’ll guide you every step of the way to start your new account.

Remember, if at any point you have a question or need some assistance, simply emails us at support@earthfolio.net or call us at 800-346-7789.

Can I see the historical performance of my portfolio recommendation?

After completing the questionnaire you will receive a specific portfolio recommendation along with its corresponding hypothetical performance over the past 15 years.  See How We Calculate Performance.

 

Is EarthFolio a mutual fund?

No. EarthFolio is a collection of online professionally managed portfolios that feature sustainable third-party mutual funds. The EarthFolio portfolios are managed by Blue Marble Investments, a Registered Investment Advisor.

Can I rollover my 401(k) or 403(b)?

Yes, but for most people, you may only rollover your 401(k) or 403(b) if it’s coming from a former employer.   By doing a “direct rollover” you avoid paying early withdrawal penalties and taxes. You should consult with your tax advisor to discuss the tax implications of a rollover.

How accessible is my money?

EarthFolio is designed to be invested over the long-term. However, all or a portion of your investments can be sold any day the markets are open and you will typically receive your money within 3 business days after your investments are sold. Keep in mind, a minimum $25,000 balance is required to avoid a quarterly flat fee of $31.25.

What are the risks?

Like all market investments, the mutual funds within EarthFolio will rise and fall with the market and subject your portfolio to gains and losses. While these fluctuations make it impossible to predict the market over the short-term, historic data shows that over the long-term the market has increased in value. In addition to market risk, mutual funds are subject to risks relating to global economic conditions, and interest rate fluctuations.

General Questions

Do I really need expert investment advice?

If you’ve ever tried to invest on your own, you know how difficult and stress-filled it can be. The alternative—hiring a professional manager—can be expensive, requires a high initial investment, and is rarely aligned with your social or environmental values.

EarthFolio gives you an alternative to DIY investing and investment advisors by providing you with sophisticated personal portfolio management at a fraction of the normal cost.

Our all-inclusive 0.50% annual fee covers…

  • Asset allocation that’s personalized to you
  • Comprehensive social, environmental, and governance screening
  • No loads, no commissions, and no transaction fees
  • Automatic monitoring and rebalancing of your account

How do I fund my account?

There are several ways to fund your EarthFolio account.

  • Direct Rollover from a former employer
    If you have a 401(k) or 403(b) at a former employer, you may be eligible to rollover the funds to an EarthFolio IRA and avoid taxes and penalties.
  • Bank Transfer (ACH)
    This option allows you to move funds directly between your U.S. based checking or savings account and your EarthFolio account.
  • Account Transfer (ACAT)
    If you have an existing investment account with the same title as your EarthFolio account, in most cases, you can liquidate your old account and electronically transfer the funds to your new EarthFolio account.
  • Wire Transfer
    This option is initiated by you and allows you to electronically transfer funds from a U.S. based bank account to your EarthFolio account. Most outside institutions charge $15 to $30 per wire transfer.

Can I add or substitute other investments into my account?

No. Every portfolio has a specific allocation of stock and bond funds that’s designed to optimize long-term performance and lower risk.

Can I invest in EarthFolio if I don’t live in the United States?

No. For regulatory reasons, a customer must have a permanent U.S. address, a U.S. Social Security Number, and a checking account from a U.S. bank.

How do I contact EarthFolio?

We welcome your comments and questions at support@earthfolio.net or by phone at 800-346-7789, Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm PST.

Sustainability

What is sustainable investing?

Sustainable investing is a proactive investment approach that goes beyond traditional analysis and includes the environmental, social, and governances practices of a company. Sustainable investing employs a variety of tools to promote change. To learn more click here.  See Defining Sustainable Investing.

How has sustainable investing performed?

Studies show that there is a growing correlation between strong ESG practices (environmental, social, and corporate governance) and competitive individual stock or fund performance. To read more about these studies and to see how sustainable indexes have performed versus the S&P 500 see Performance.

What is the history of sustainable investing?

Sustainable investing has been around since the early 1700s when pacifist Quakers avoided companies profiting from slavery and firearms. Today, 21st century investors use their financial voice to promote progress in areas such as gender and LGBT equality, water and forestry conservation, electric vehicles, and clean energy. To see a timeline and history of sustainable investing, click here. ESG Timeline and History

What does best-of-class investing mean?

Sustainable investing seeks or avoids companies based on social, environmental and corporate governance (ESG) criteria. Unlike negative screening which excludes companies based on undesirable ESG criteria (e.g. tobacco, weapons, Sudan, etc.), best-of-class investing proactively seeks companies that are industry leaders in ESG practices such as equality & diversity, clean energy, corporate governance, and community development.  See Best-of-Class Investing.

Can I customize EarthFolio to my sustainability preferences?

No. Mutual funds selected by EarthFolio use comprehensive environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria which is pre-selected by the respective funds and cannot be changed.  See ESG Screens.

 

Does EarthFolio have fossil-free portfolios?

Yes. Fossil-free portfolios are available through EarthFolio but must be specially requested after submitting your Questionnaire and receiving your Portfolio Recommendation.   Once these steps have been completed, please contact us at support@earthfolio.net or call us at 800-346-7789 and request the Fossil-Free portfolio option.

Fees & Expenses

Are there ongoing commissions or trading costs?

No. EarthFolio does not charge any trading costs or commissions. Even in cases when EarthFolio invests in funds that typically carry a commission (e.g. Calvert Funds at 4.75%), the commission is fully waived.

Is there a charge if I close my account?

No, as long as your money has been invested for more than 90 days, you simply pay for the pro-rated number of days your money was managed during the quarter.   However, if you close or make a withdrawal during the first 90 days, TD Ameritrade will assess a short-term redemption fee of $49.99 for every mutual fund sold.

How is the fee calculated?

EarthFolio charges an annual management fee of 0.50% that is automatically debited from the client’s account.  The fee is calculated in arrears based on assets under management at the end of each calendar quarter.  In cases where the account has been invested for a partial quarter, the fee is pro-rated based on the number of days it was under management.

Security & Privacy

Where is my money held and how is it protected?

EarthFolio assets are custodied at TD Ameritrade Institutional, one of the world’s largest discount brokerage firms. TD Ameritrade is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) which protects your account up $500,000. For details please visit SIPC.org

In addition to SIPC coverage, TD Ameritrade provides each client $149.5 million of protection for securities and $2 million of protection for cash through supplemental coverage provided by London insurers. In the event of brokerage insolvency, a client may receive amounts due from the trustee in bankruptcy and then SIPC. For account protection details please visit TD Ameritrade.

What is SIPC Insurance and how does it work?

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) protects a customer up to $500,000 if their brokerage firm fails. It is important to recognize that SIPC protection does not work like FDIC protection at an insured banking institution, because SIPC does not protect the value of any security. Instead, SIPC works to restore to customers their securities and cash that are in their accounts when the brokerage firm liquidation begins. For more details visit SIPC.org

How is my personal information protected?

We protect the privacy of your information and only share your data with third parties to perform our services to you or in limited circumstances as outlined in our Privacy Notice. EarthFolio and TD Ameritrade each use a secure website that is protected with 128-bit encryption on the transmission of all data. For more details see our Privacy Notice.

Design & Management

How does EarthFolio build its portfolios?

EarthFolio models are available in a range of styles and investment objectives.   To determine the best fit for each investor, EarthFolio uses an online questionnaire to match the investor’s specific goal and risk tolerance to the optimal mix of stocks and bond funds needed to minimize risk and drive performance.

Once the client’s asset allocation is determined, the underlying asset classes are invested in mutual funds that meet specific criteria including:

  • Consistent cap size and value style
  • Low internal expenses versus peers
  • Established track records
  • Verifiable ESG standards

See How We Invest.

How diversified are the portfolios?

The typical EarthFolio account holds between 7 and 12 mutual funds and holds over 1,000 underlying individual stocks and bonds.  Mutual funds are selected across a wide spectrum of sizes, styles, ratings, and maturities in order to maximize overall diversification.

The primary asset classes EarthFolio invests in are:

Stock Funds
U.S. Large Companies
U.S. Medium Companies
U.S. Small Companies
International Developed Companies

Bond Funds
U.S. Short-Term
U.S. Intermediate Term
High Yield
Community Development

How often does EarthFolio rebalance?

Over time, market fluctuations can cause a portfolio’s holdings to shift. Rebalancing controls risk by resetting a portfolio back to its original allocation and helping it benefit from changes in the markets. In non-retirement accounts, the buying and selling needed to rebalance an account can have tax implications. In order to minimize taxes and maximize a portfolio’s diversification, EarthFolio typically rebalances taxable and non-taxable accounts on an annual basis.

Why doesn’t EarthFolio invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)?

ETFs and mutual funds are investment vehicles that bundle securities in order to offer investors diversified portfolios. Over the past few years, the universe of ETF options has grown rapidly due to their passive investing approach and low-cost structure. In similar fashion, the sustainable investing universe has grown dramatically from 201 investment funds in 2007 to over 900 fund choices in 2014.*

Despite the rapid growth of sustainable investing options, the actual number of sustainable ETF options—particularly within the broad sustainable indices—remains limited and relatively expensive. In an effort to keep fund costs low, create broad diversification, and seek competitive long-term performance, we’ve chosen to invest in sustainable mutual funds instead of ETFs.

As sustainable ETFs enter the market over the coming years, we will evaluate them and integrate them when they add value to our portfolios. In the meantime, EarthFolio will continue to invest in the most diversified and affordable sustainable investment choices available.

*2014 Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends.

What type of portfolio reporting is provided?

For many investors, diversification requires juggling statements from a variety of fund families. EarthFolio simplifies your life by consolidating  your accounts according to type (e.g. Individual, Joint, IRA) and creating one household login for everything.   Tracking your progress is as close as your computer or smart phone,  with daily updates of  your holdings, balances, and account performance.

Where is my money held?

EarthFolio assets are custodied at TD Ameritrade Institutional, one of the world’s largest discount brokerage firms.   TD Ameritrade is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) which protects your account up $500,000. For details please visit SIPC.org.

Customer Support

1-800-346-7789

Support Hours:
Monday - Friday:
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM PST

1308 Monterey Street, Suite 250
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Own a portfolio that asks better questions.

800-346-7789