Betterment is partnering with a company backed by Shaq to help gig economy workers manage their finances

Courtesy of BettermentBetterment CEO Jon Stein.

  • Workers in the gig economy account for more than one third of US workers. These include workers at companies like Uber, Lyft and Instacart.
  • Robo-advisor Betterment is partnering with Steady, an upstart income-building platform, to offer gig workers free financial advisory and money management services for one year.

The emergence of companies like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart has brought about the rise of the gig economy – short term workers who do everything from drive taxis to shop for your groceries.

More than a third of US workers participate in the gig economy, according to a recent report from Gallup, and that number is only expected to grow. While these workers benefit from a greater degree of autonomy and flexibility than employees in more traditional jobs, many suffer from an irregular income which makes financial planning difficult.

That’s where a new partnership between robo-advisor Betterment and Steady, a startup that helps gig employees find new shifts and short-term employment, comes in. Betterment said on Friday it’s offering Steady users a year of free financial advisory and investment management services.

The aim is to help independent workers prepare for retirement and maximise their earnings. “When we surveyed gig economy workers, we found that almost 40% of them felt unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during their retirement,” Jon Stein, founder and CEO of Betterment, said in an interview. “We have a retirement crisis in the US – no one is saving enough for retirement. The gig economy workers appeared to be even less well prepared than average workers.”

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Bertterment, the largest independent roboadviser with $US15 billion under management,said it would offer Steady workers a customised financial plan adjusted to their income, investing goals and other financial information after they sign up for the service. Users of Steady will also get free access to Betterment’s new feature, dubbed Smart Saver, which automatically shifts extra fund from customers’ checking accounts into low-risk assets generating returns of 2.09%.

Atlanta-based Steady has raised $US9 million from investors including Propel Venture Partners and Omidyar Network. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is also an advisor.

This is not the first time that Betterment has extended its financial services to workers in the gig economy. In 2016, it inked a deal with Uber to offer its drivers flexible retirement accounts with no fees for the first year.

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