A retirement-planning robo-advisor available through employer-sponsored plans.
Robo-advisors have become increasingly popular in recent years, but there’s a shortage of automated investment products that help customers plan for retirement. Blooom fills that gap with portfolios designed for employer-sponsored plans. However, its services are only available for 401k, 403b, 401a, 457 and TSP plans.
|Annual fee||$10 per month|
|Available asset types||Stocks|
Who is Blooom Financial Planning best for?Blooom differentiates itself from other robo-advisors by creating and managing portfolios that are specifically designed for retirement planning. It’s typically best suited for:
- Investors with employer-sponsored plans. Blooom only works with employer-sponsored plans like 401k, 403b, 401a, 457 and TSP, so you’ll need to create a plan if you don’t already have one.
- Hands-off investors. While you’ll still have control of your plan, Blooom is designed to let customers sit back while the company does all the research, investing, management and rebalancing.
How does it approach investing?Blooom‘s straightforward approach allows customers to get a quick analysis of their retirement plan before moving forward with their investments:
- Start. Answer a few introductory questions, set up a password and connect your existing retirement account.
- Analyze. Get a free analysis of your investments and the adjustments Blooom would make, along with a breakdown of the potential fees you could save.
- Sign up. If you’re satisfied with the service, you can sign up and set up an account to start investing with Blooom.
- Invest. Blooom will develop a personalized investment strategy based on research and diversification, then build your portfolio according to your situation.
- Manage. Your portfolio will be managed and adjusted by Blooom, and you can log in any time to get a simple or in-depth look at your investments.
Blooom Financial Planning fees
Like many other robo-advisors, Blooom aims to reduce fees so you can save more for retirement. The company makes decisions based on fund costs and tries to minimize transaction costs by condensing the amount of trades it makes.
You can get started with an analysis for free, but the company charges a flat fee of $10 per month or $120 per year for simple portfolio management and monitoring. On top of Blooom‘s fees, you’ll need to watch out for expense ratios of the underlying investments.
What are the benefits of Blooom Financial Planning?
Many robo-advisors help you invest and manage your money, but Blooom‘s retirement-focused plans stand out for a number of reasons:
- Stay in control. While Blooom will build and manage your portfolio for you, you’ll still be able to make adjustments on your own.
- Financial advice. You can get financial advice whenever you need it, even on investments outside of Blooom.
- Free analysis and personalized plans. Answer a questionnaire to get a free investment analysis, then sign up to get a personalized investment plan.
- Flat, transparent fees. Unlike many robo-advisors, Blooom only charges a flat fee. Plus, fees are paid from your debit or credit to avoid cutting into your earnings.
- No account minimums. You can start investing with Blooom no matter how much you have saved.
- No conflict of interest. Blooom is a fiduciary and is not associated with any of your investments, so it will only suggest funds that actually benefit you.
What to watch out forBlooom could be an effective way to build up your retirement savings, but there are still a few things you should watch out for:
- Employer-sponsored plans only. Blooom only works with 401k, 403b, 401a, 457 and TSP plans.
- No branches. Blooom doesn’t have any physical branches, so you won’t be able to get in-person support from your advisor.
- Lack of phone support. While you can get assistance via email and live chat, there’s no phone support if you want to speak with a representative.
- High fees for low balances. Blooom‘s flat fee will have little impact on larger balances, but could account for a higher percentage of accounts with lower balances.
- Stock-heavy investments. Blooom tends to invest heavily in stocks — so if that differs from your preferred investment style, it may not be right for you.
- Doesn’t consider other investments. Your other investments won’t be considered when creating your portfolio, which could be an issue since retirement accounts are often only a portion of a long-term financial strategy.
Blooom Financial Planning reviews and complaintsBlooom was established in 2013 and has quickly grown to have over $3 billion under management. It’s backed by bank-level security to protect your information, along with 256-bit encryption for both its website and your data.
The company doesn’t have a page on the BBB or Trustpilot websites and there are few customer reviews online. Some customers expressed frustrations with communication or poor returns, but you should keep in mind that most people will only leave a review after an overly negative experience.
Compare with other robo-advisors
How do I get started?
Kickoff with Blooom in as little as a few minutes:
- Visit the Blooom website and click Start now.
- Enter your name, birth date and expected age of retirement, then click Next.
- Enter your email address and create a password, then click Create account.
- Answer questions about your existing accounts and investment preferences and click Next.
- View your recommended mix of stocks and bonds, then link your account if you’re satisfied.
- View your analysis and recommended adjustments then submit your application.
- Email address
- Social Security number
- Employment information
- State-issued ID
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid state-issued ID
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Have an employer-sponsored retirement plan
- Risk tolerance
- Investment goals
- Expected retirement age
How do I contact Blooom customer service?Blooom doesn’t offer customer service by phone, but you can start a live chat from your account or send an email through the contact page on the Blooom website.
Bottom lineBlooom is a robo-advisor designed specifically for retirement planning, using a personalized approach to help you grow your retirement savings. It has a low, flat fee of $120 per year and comes with financial advice. Just keep in mind that it can only be used for employer-sponsored plans.
If you’re still not sure if Blooom is right for you, you can compare other financial planning options to see what else is out there.