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KaChing Becomes Wealthfront

One year ago, I wrote about KaChing, an investment site that aimed to provide a better option than mutual funds for small investors, by letting them map their portfolios to the investment strategies of expert professional investors and talented amateurs. It was an intriguing idea, but I wondered how many real people would be comfortable entrusting their savings to a startup with a silly name, not to mention relying on the advice of finance hobbyists rather than pros.

Well, KaChing is relaunching today. It’s now called Wealthfront, and it’s phasing out the amateur advice in favor of a roster consisting entirely of professional money managers. It turns out that its founders decided that sounding a bit more serious and less seat-of-the-pants was a good idea.

Speaking of serious, the minimum amount new members need to invest is now $10,000, up from $3,000. (Founder Dan Carroll told me that the smallest investors tended to be in it in search of a quick payoff, which is just a bad idea.) And besides adding more professional managers, the site is also adding a questionnaire that aims to help investors build a portfolio that matches their goals. (KaChing was centered around a toteboard of managers ranked by “Investment IQ” and didn’t do as much to help new members allot their monies wisely.)

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