Full Blooom Review
Blooom is a simple, affordable robo-advisor to manage your retirement account. Read our Blooom review on why it is such a great choice. If you have a 401(k) or similar account and don’t want to manage on your own, that’s where Blooom can help.
Blooom is best for:
- Retirement accounts, including IRAs
- 401(k), 403(b), 457, and other employer-sponsored retirement plans
- Beginner investors
Blooom at a Glance
In this Blooom review, we’ll take a look at this robo-advisor that helps you manage your retirement account.
Most robo-advisors can only manage a taxable brokerage account or IRA. But if you wanted help with you retirement portfolio, you would normally be out of luck.
Not so with Blooom. But does it get the job done? Let’s find out.
What is Blooom?
If you are looking for investment help, there are many companies available. But if you want a company that specializes in specific investment plans, like 401(k) help, the options start to narrow down.
Here is where Blooom (yes, it has three Os) enters, an automated portfolio management service or, robo-advisor.
Founded by three men in Leawood, Kansas, their goal is to provide professional yet straightforward help to every American with their 401k accounts.
To them, typical investment companies thrive when their clients have a minimum amount of investable assets (usually in the millions).
But what ends up happening is those who have smaller to no investment portfolios at all are left without professional investment services.
Today, Blooom also has support for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts.
Click for Blooom Pricing and Details.
America has roughly 90 million people that invest in a 401(k) or a similar retirement account.
What the Blooom founders have figured out is out of that 90 million, about 80 million of them have no financial help available or that they can afford.
This is what made the founders create Blooom, a way for everyone to get the help they need for their 401(k) accounts at an affordable rate.
And Blooom is still alone in this field. Betterment offers 401(k) plans for employers, but not for individuals who want to manage their existing plans.
With the rise in popularity of robo-advisors like this one, here is a Blooom review to see if it is the right fit for you.
How Blooom Works
When you sign up for a Blooom account, you complete an onboarding questionnaire. It asks questions about your investment goals, current age, when you want to retire, your risk tolerance, and more. There is also an advisor quiz where you can answer more in-depth questions about your financial life. The latter makes for more productive conversations if you choose to work with a human advisor.
Once you start using Blooom, you will have control over your investment account accounts. You can have as little or as much control as you want. You won’t have to open up a new account or worry about transferring anything over.
When Blooom gets to work on adjusting your 401(k) or other retirement plan, it uses a four-step process and their algorithm to do the work to maintain your portfolio. Rebalancing occurs on an as-needed basis about every 95 days. If your portfolio hasn’t drifted enough to rebalance it, no changes will be made.
They get your account set up based on your current age against your planned retirement age. You can also adjust your asset allocation to match your risk tolerance and retirement date. Blooom’s algorithm will choose funds within your portfolio to define a fund lineup that is diversified and low-cost.
While the main draw of Blooom is the fact that it can manage your 401(k), it does have several features worth mentioning:
- Ongoing optimization. Blooom will monitor your portfolio on an ongoing basis and can make changes as needed. That includes researching new funds and optimizing your portfolio as needed (optional).
- Personalized portfolio. Rather than simply investing your money in a group of ETFs, Blooom optimizes your portfolio to help meet your goals. That includes researching a portfolio that works for you, identifying your proper risk allocation, and potentially minimizing investment fees.
- Access to financial advisors. For Standard and Unlimited subscribers, Blooom gives you access to financial advisors at no additional cost. You’ll receive a response within 2-3 business days—or access to a live chat.
- Withdrawal alerts. Blooom will send a text message alert if there is a withdrawal from your retirement accounts.
Blooom Account Types
The ability to manage 401(k) accounts is what stands out to many, but that’s not all Blooom can do. In fact, it can manage a variety of account types:
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- SEP IRA
- Simple IRA
- Spousal IRA
Notice that Blooom doesn’t support any kind of taxable accounts. It focuses on retirement accounts, so this makes sense.
If you need a great robo-advisor for your taxable accounts, check out Betterment or M1 Finance.
Blooom Asset Allocation Mix
Blooom prefers to use a more aggressive approach to asset allocation. The platform clarifies that younger investors saving for retirement should be more aggressive in where they invest their money.
Blooom’s asset allocation mix favors higher equity exposure rather than exposure to cash and bonds. The platform’s algorithm favors equities until the account holder is within 20 years of retirement age. Once they cross that threshold, the algorithm gradually shifts their asset allocation mix.
As far as conventional thinking goes, opting for equities at a younger age is the smart way to go.
Blooom Pros and Cons
Pros – Blooom has narrowed down its niche to investment management for employer-sponsored retirement plans. It handles a variety of retirement accounts, there is no account minimum, and you can get a free analysis. You have access to financial advisors and the costs to use Blooom’s help are quite low.
Cons – Blooom is limited to just 401(k) and similar accounts. The sign-up assessment is simple but is limited.
Overall – If you are new to investing in a retirement plan, need some help, and cannot afford high fees, Blooom is definitely a good starting point.
More In-Depth Bloom Review
Finding an advisor that deals with 401(k) plans isn’t easy; not many advisors deal with individual retirement assets. This is where Blooom excels.
Normally, employer-sponsored retirement plans have few investment options, often with high fees. Blooom works to get you into lower-fee funds if they make sense for your retirement goals.
Specifically, its investment strategy is to select mutual funds and ETFs with the lowest cost in their asset class. In doing so, it selects the right funds to help you achieve your retirement goals.
Providing help exclusively to 401(k), 403(b), and other retirement plans hits a market that is lacking investment advice. Other companies offer guidance in 401(k).
But Blooom offers direct management of your 401(k). Your employer does not need to be in partnership with Blooom for you to utilize their services.
If you have an IRA or Roth IRA with Fidelity, Blooom can manage that, too. Because Blooom lets you still maintain control of your portfolio, you can make the adjustments needed yourself. Through the setup process, Blooom will give recommendations for your allocations. However, you can still make changes on your own.
Having no minimum account balance means anyone can get the professional help Blooom has to offer. Beginner investors can sign up and start developing their portfolio and Blooom will make sure they get on the right track.
If you decide to try out Blooom, they offer free analyses. This means you can register and link your 401(k) account for no charge. You’ll see a flower once you connect your account. This tells you how your 401(k) is going and offers ways to improve its health.
Blooom is a fiduciary financial institution which means it is legally required to act in your best interest. It has bank-level security with 256-bit encryption as well.
Another nice feature of Blooom is that it can identify hidden investment fees. High expense ratios can eat away at investment returns, and Blooom helps mitigate that.
One last point to consider is the support Blooom provides. The company is made up of tech-savvy and registered financial advisors.
If you have any questions or anything that may affect your finances (a big purchase), you can talk to Blooom’s support to help you make your decisions. They offer live chat and email support to their clients.
How Investment Expense Ratios Work
Blooom is one of the few robo-advisors to manage 401(k) accounts. Investment expense ratios on funds and ETFs work a little differently on this platform.
Most employer plans allow for a limited range of investment options. Many of them come with above-average fees. Blooom can only work with the investments available, such as index funds or mutual funds. They will always choose the lowest internal expense ratio to charge you.
Some investors may discover there’s only a single fund within each category. What this means is that there’s no way to lower expenses.
Blooom investing uses an investment expense audit to help its users lower their overall expenses without impacting diversification and asset allocation.
Blooom will analyze your 401(k) plan for free. All of its plans, including a free account, will monitor unlimited retirement accounts. With its free plan, you get quite a few features:
- Retirement Goal Setting
- Financial Planning Tools
- Expert Insights
- Optimal Strategy Defined
- Analysis of Current Investments
- Ideal-to-Actual Comparison
- Tips for Improvement
Blooom also has three paid plans that give you additional features. The three plans are:
- Personalized Portfolio: $120/year. This plan includes a personalized portfolio, plan research, and fund recommendations.
- Advisor Access: $245/year. Adds trade capability, withdrawal alerts, and advisor access.
- Financial Consulting: $395/year. Adds annual one from a Financial Advisor with a 30-minute phone or video consultation.
These annual fees are charged to a credit card or debit card on file. It’s that simple; there are no hidden fees.
Now comes the part where we’ll answer some of the more common questions about Blooom.
Is Blooom Legit?
Yes, Blooom is a legitimate company. It is an American company based in Leawood, KS. Unfortunately, it is not Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insured at this time.
However, Blooom is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). And being an RIA means it must adhere to the strict standards of the SEC.
Is Blooom a Fiduciary?
Yes, Blooom does act as a fiduciary. As the company says on its website, “Beyond the legal binds of being an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, and fiduciary, we treat our clients like our best friends and family.”
Clearly, it takes its commitment to serving its customers seriously. In fact, it even considers them part of the family.
Is Blooom Worth the Money?
Blooom can be a great investment, especially if you want help managing your 401(k). That’s because it is still the only robo-advisor capable of managing this type of account.
The fees aren’t incredibly high, either. For the Essentials plan ($45/year), you’ll get a personalized portfolio analysis.
That said, Blooom won’t actually place trades on your behalf unless you upgrade to the Standard plan ($120/year). If you don’t want to manage your own portfolio, it could be worth paying $10/month for Standard.
The main thing that is added with the Unlimited plan ($250/year) is it can manage an unlimited number of accounts (hence the name). The other plans only support one retirement account.
The other big feature added with Unlimited is priority advisor access, meaning you have access to a live chat with a financial advisor.
These flat fees are certainly reasonable, but deciding if Blooom is worth it means deciding if it’s worth paying a small fee to have your 401(k) managed for you.
Final Thoughts on Blooom
Is Blooom worth checking out? If you are a beginner investor, do not have an extensive portfolio, and have no idea what you are doing with a 401k plan, then yes, Blooom is worth checking out.
Where most robo-advisors only deal with taxable accounts, Blooom can help with retirement accounts. Normally you would have to manage them on your own.
It’s free to get an analysis, and the monthly fee is quite affordable. They also allow you to cancel at any time.
But if you have other accounts besides a 401(k), Blooom cannot consider those with your allocation. A different investor or robo-advisor may be better suited.
All in all, Blooom is an excellent low-cost robo-advisor for managing your retirement savings. If you need financial advice, Blooom can offer that as well.
If that sounds like something you need, Blooom might be the right tool for you.
Click for Blooom Pricing and Details.