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Empower Crypto and Bitcoin (2024)

Empower crypto investing. How to buy Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) alt coins cryptocurrencies on Empower Retirement?

Cryptocurrency at Empower

You cannot invest in Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) or any other cryptocurrencies on Empower Retirement at this time. As an alternative, you can use a $0 commission broker called Webull that does offer cryptocurrencies investing.

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Empower Retirement Assets Under Management (AUM)

Empower Retirement assets under management $1 trillion
Empower Retirement plan participants 12 million
Retirement plans under administration 67,000

VOYA IRA vs. Acorns vs. Empower IRA Overview

Investing for retirement can be a daunting task when it comes to figuring out how much to save, where to invest it, how to manage it and so on. While many workplaces now offer company sponsored 401K plans, what if you don’t have that option? There is no shortage of personal retirement platforms but today let’s look at a relative newcomer, Acorns, which touts itself as a “microinvesting” company. We’ll compare Acorns to a pair of big-time workplace retirement providers – VOYA and Empower.


VOYA’s dashboard captures all the relevant details you would expect like account balance, recent performance and asset allocation. You can also find overall market news and access account modeling tools that are presented in functional, if dated design.

Empower has a bright, fresh layout with easy access to portfolio status and estimated income in retirement. You can also play with criteria like contribution amount and investment style sliders for a quick visual on how they impact your long-term plans.

Acorns has clearly spent a lot of time on the user experience as evidenced by their modern design with intuitive layout and clean graphics. Along with the account overview and hypothetical future income, there is a section to earn referral dollars when friends sign up.

Acorns takes the cake on dashboard layout and design. It gives users the same functional information about their account as Empower and VOYA but offers a friendlier and more pleasant interface.

Investment Lineup

While all 3 of these platforms aim to simplify things through limited securities options, Acorns is the most limited on the IRA front. After answering questions about things like employment status and annual income, you are shown the retirement plan – Traditional, ROTH or SEP – and portfolio that Acorns’ algorithm has chosen. While you can request to switch from ROTH to Traditional, for example, you cannot choose the securities within.

Both Empower and VOYA allow customers to choose how their funds are allocated across funds. In both cases, target date funds make up the majority of options with between 6 and 10 additional funds falling into small, medium and large cap along with international and fixed income securities. Also in both cases, there is a self-directed brokerage option that is run through TD Ameritrade offering a much broader pool of assets to work with.

Empower and VOYA are tied when it comes to available securities. They have identical self-directed options and nearly the same number of initial offerings broken out in very similar categories.

Mobile Options

Empower, VOYA and Acorns all have mobile optimized websites and free mobile apps on the Apple and Android stores. Empower’s mobile friendly site has somewhat clunky menu bars but otherwise comes close to the app’s functionality. When logged into VOYA’s site on a mobile device, you’ll find most pages have been setup for mobile viewing but will occasionally land on pages that are from the desktop version. With Acorns, the app is so good it almost seems like it was developed before the desktop site. All the capability is there except viewing statements; you’ll need the desktop version for that.

Acorns has done the best job of spanning the gap from the desktop-based website to mobile devices. There is a uniform look and functionality that makes it easy to switch back and forth while also having the best usability.

Professional Management

This is an interesting topic for these 3 competitors as Acorns is entirely digital with no opportunity for interaction with a live investment advisor while Empower and Voya do have that option. The retirement plan though Acorns, which they call “Later, has a flat monthly fee of $3. Empower and VOYA charge a percentage of assets under management, in the range of 0.15% to 0.45%, if you want access to professional management. You could argue that Acorns is managed by a robo-advisor while the other two offer human advisors so it’s hard to choose a winner here. But from a purely mathematical perspective, Acorns is the lowest cost - on a hypothetical $10,000 account - at $36 annually. For that size account, Empower’s managed account would cost $45 per year while VOYA would run you $90.


On the financial learning front, you’ll find 3 different areas within VOYA to help – Financial Finesse, Get Advice and Financial Wellness. Financial Finesse uses articles and live webinars around personal finance, Get Advice focuses on the use of long-term planning and Financial Wellness scores you on current status in areas like life insurance and emergency funds. Empower offers a personalized report called “My Financial Path” based on a battery of question but is generally designed to point users towards professional management. You will also find general finance related articles and learning modules with Q&A sections to give you feedback based on preferences. With Acorns, you’ll find dozens of articles categorized by topics like Investing, Retiring and Borrowing but no video or live content.

VOYA has the broadest variety of topics for learning the ins and outs of retirement planning, particularly with the access to live webinars led by financial professionals. However, they could do a better job incorporating these resources more cohesively into the overall platform the way Acorns does.


If you’re not utilizing the professionally managed feature, VOYA is technically the lowest cost in this comparison, as administrative and record keeping charges are baked into the expense ratio of funds. Empower only charges 0.2% annually for this work so if you could compare expense ratios on identical funds between VOYA and Empower, you might find identical cost to the customer that is just charged more creatively. To use the Acorns “Later” retirement platform, you’ll pay $3 monthly for their Personal plan which does include access to the Invest and Spend platform. These are brokerage and checking account related, respectively. Interestingly, the spare change “Round Ups” feature, that sets Acorns apart from other microinvesting companies, is available only with Invest and Spend but not in the Later account.

Customer Service

If you have questions around your retirement account, Empower has customer service phone hours Monday through Friday from 6 AM – 8 PM and Saturday from 7 AM – 3:30 PM. They also offer up an email address, mailing address and direct line to the Vice President of Participant Services. Within VOYA, you’ll find phone-based help Monday to Friday from 7:30 AM to 8 PM or an email form on their website. While Acorns offers no option for talking on the phone with a live rep, they do have a robust knowledge base with helpful answers on a wide range of FAQs. You can also submit a request form on the site but need to click through several knowledge base screens first.

When it comes to customer service, Empower is out front here with all traditional methods of contact included as well as the surprising direct phone line to a company executive.


VOYA and Empower fall squarely into the traditional notion of retirement investing; regular paycheck contributions into a company sponsored plan. Acorns is clearly marketing itself to a younger audience that may not currently have access to workplace provided IRA and may prefer how easy Acorns is to setup and use.

On the workplace front, Empower has the upper hand on VOYA mainly because it has a more intuitive and fresher interface. Otherwise, they are very similar in terms of investment options and education offerings. If you’re not currently using a workplace IRA or want to supplement one with a personal IRA, Acorns is an excellent place to start with their easy-to-use platform.