Blooom

4.5 out of 5

Managed by: Blooom

At A Glance

Blooom is a digital investment platform that focuses solely on retirement funds management, including 401(k)s and a range of IRAs. There's no minimum account balance, it's free to sign up, and members can ask human advisors for financial guidance.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Specializes in retirement funds
  • Free retirement fund analysis
  • Withdrawal alerts
  • $0 minimum balance
  • Single transparent fee

Cons

  • No mobile app
  • Fees are expensive if your account balance is low
  • No phone support

Blooom is best for:

  • Hands-off retirement planning
  • Anyone with IRAs at Vanguard or Fidelity
  • Managing employer-sponsored retirement funds
  • Free retirement fund analysis

Blooom Key Details

Account minimum

$0

Management fee
  • Essentials: $45 per year, per account
  • Standard: $120 per year, per account
  • Unlimited: $250 per year for unlimited accounts
Account fees

None

Portfolio mix and average expense
  • Blooom only invests in plan offerings, but it does prioritize funds with the lowest expense ratios
  • All investments are in plan offerings, but Blooom prioritizes index funds and occasionally uses actively managed funds.
Account types
  • 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSPs, and 401(a)
  • Traditional, Roth, SEP, Spousal, and Simple IRAs through Fidelity or Vanguard
Tax-loss harvesting

Not relevant for the tax-optimized retirement plans that Blooom offers

Automatic rebalancing

Accounts are reviewed approximately every 95 days, and rebalanced if needed, or monitored until rebalancing is relevant. Blooom rebalances accounts one to four times each year.

Human advisor option

Only for Standard and Unlimited members, via email and chat only.

Socially responsible investing

Not available

Fractional shares

Not available

Access

Online via web app

Customer support
  • Live chat and email support, 9am to 4pm Central time, Monday to Friday
  • No phone support
Promotions

No promotion available at this time

Blooom Review

Our Experts Take
Sarah Pritzker - Spade Business Team
Sarah Pritzker
December 9, 2020

Blooom is a robo-advisor that only manages retirement funds, namely 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, TSPs and 401(a)s, as well as Traditional, Roth, SEP, non-deductible, spousal, simple, and self-directed IRAs. It only manages IRAs held at Vanguard or Fidelity. It’s unusual to find a robo-advisor that specializes in retirement funds.

You won’t need to move your plans to use Blooom; it can manage employer-held accounts no matter where they are lodged. It takes around 7 days for Blooom to adjust a new account.

Blooom makes it easy for anyone to get started investing for their retirement, with no minimum balance and transparent, flat fees for accounts. You’ll pay $45 per account, per year for the Essentials membership; $120 per account, per year for Standard; and $250 per year for Unlimited membership, which also allows unlimited accounts. There are no other hidden fees, and Blooom does their best to minimize the investment fees paid on every trade.

The Essentials plan offers a diversified portfolio, helping you research and choose funds,  and minimized investment fees. When you upgrade to Standard, Blooom will place trades on your behalf and send you alerts when it detects a withdrawal, plus you’ll enjoy access to expert advisors who reply to all your financial questions via email within 2-3 business days. The Unlimited plan adds priority advisor access so you’ll receive answers much faster, and supports as many accounts as you like.

It’s admittedly difficult to compare a flat fee with the pricing of other robo-advisors that charge a percentage of your assets under management. When you translate it into percentage terms, the costs mostly work out in the range of 0.05% to 2.25%, although if you have a very low account balance and are paying for the highest levels of service, you could end up paying the equivalent of 12% of your assets. Most robo-advisors charge 0.25% to 0.50%, but it’s rare to find any that touch retirement funds. Human advisors charge around 1%, so as long as you pay attention to your balance, you’ll be paying a reasonable amount for asset management.

How Does Blooom Manage Your Money?

Blooom uses a combination of advanced algorithms and human insight to optimize the performance of your retirement investment funds. It’s up to you whether you use Blooom’s hands-off, auto-optimization, and management services, or implement its recommendations yourself.

It’s free to register for a Blooom account, so that’s the first step. You’ll be asked for some personal information and a bit about your investment goals and retirement plans. Then you need to connect your 401(k) or other retirement funds by finding your provider and logging in through the Blooom platform. Blooom’s algorithm analyzes your current portfolio choices and makes recommendations for asset allocation and risk management. You can adjust these according to your preferences and the level of risk that you’re comfortable with.

At this point, you can take Blooom’s recommendations and implement them yourself, without paying any fees. If you sign up for a paid account, Blooom takes over for you to diversify your portfolio, minimize investment fees, and constantly adjust your portfolio to keep you on track to meet your retirement goals.

Blooom doesn’t offer socially responsible investing, because it’s restricted to the plans offered within retirement funds frameworks, and almost none of them are socially responsible.

Advantages of Blooom

Retirement fund specialists: It’s rare to find robo-advisors that specialize in retirement accounts. Blooom focuses solely on helping you maximize the impact of your 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, and other retirement funds.

Free analysis: Blooom makes it’s retirement portfolio analysis available free to everyone so that you can enjoy expert advice and still DIY your retirement savings.

Extensive support: Blooom’s expert advisors are available to chat about any aspect of financial planning, even if it’s not related to retirement, via email, webform, or live chat.

Withdrawal alerts: If Blooom detects a withdrawal from your funds, it will send you an immediate alert.

Disadvantages of Blooom

Retirement funds only: Blooom doesn’t manage any funds that aren’t retirement funds.

No app: At the moment, Blooom only has a website, there’s no mobile app to use to check your accounts from your phone.

No goals-based investing: Blooom is retirement-focused, so the assumption is that if you’re here, you want to save for your retirement.

Is Blooom Safe?

Blooom is a registered investment advisor (RIA), which means that it serves as a fiduciary, with a legal obligation to act in your best interests at all times. Although there’s no way to be sure about how stocks, bonds, and other funds will behave, Blooom does its best to maximize your returns and minimize the risk.

Blooom takes your security very seriously, with bank-level 256-bit encryption, secure servers, and full compliance with data privacy regulations. You’ll also receive an alert if anyone tries to make a withdrawal from your account.

Is Blooom Right For You?

If you’re looking to help to optimize your retirement funds, but you don’t want to pay for a human fund manager, Blooom is one of the only options around. It’s also great for anyone who wants free advanced analysis of their risk level and asset allocation, but also wants to manage trades

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