If you’re not a lottery winner, selling a business or inheriting a considerable amount of money — the only way to become financially independent and have the ability to stop working is to save … and invest, said Chris Costello.
Blooom’s elevator pitch: We Fix Your 401k for You and Keep it Fixed: you ditch your current strategy of ignoring-it, meaning-to-get-around-to-it, and hoping-for-the-best. After all, you and your family are going to depend on your 401k someday … you better get it right. And you if you aren’t doing it, you better find someone to do it for you.
Founders: Chris Costello, Kevin Conard and Randy AufDerHeide
Founding year: 2013
Amount raised to date: $13M
Noteworthy investors: QED, KCRise Fund, Commerce Ventures, Industry Ventures
Current employee count: 18
“That’s what life looks like today,” the founder and CEO of Blooom noted. “… and the problem is that, yes, some people are good about saving and putting money into a 401K; but if the money is not invested properly, it seems like a gigantic waste to me.”
As a way to help more people strategically invest, the Leawood-based fintech firm — founded in 2013 as a more approachable financial management tool — is launching a mobile app through which clients can conveniently access their accounts.
“We hope to release it by mid-year ,” Costello stated. “That’s going to provide an easier way for clients to get a snapshot view of their retirement accounts in the palm of their hand.”
Click here to check out Blooom.
Blooom customers will also be able to chat with a human — not a bot — financial advisor through the app.
“Our clients are totally free to ask questions about anything related to their finances,” he continued. “It could be: Is right now the right time to buy a home? What’s the best way to get rid of student loans the fastest?”
This service — which is also available on Blooom’s web platform — comes at no extra cost; it’s included in the company’s annual $120 subscription fee. Along with providing people with the tools to understand the complexity of investing, it is critical that the service be affordable, Costello said.
“Oftentimes there are some things in life that are totally OK to DIY, but there are a couple things in life that shouldn’t be DIY,” Costello explained, noting that Blooom leverages technology in order to provide their services at drastically-reduced rates.
“Blooom is here today to bring critical financial help to people who oftentimes don’t get access to it.”
For those just starting out on the platform, Blooom offers a free analysis of individuals’ 401K plans.
Retirement income calculator
Blooom started the year strong with a launch of its retirement income calculator, Costello added.
“This tool allows our clients to take their retirement accounts — or even any accounts they’ve got earmarked towards retirement — and they can link them to their Blooom account,” he said. “Then, we can give them an estimate of what their income in retirement will look like.”
This tool incentivizes clients to link additional accounts, even if Blooom is not managing those accounts, because it will give them a more accurate estimate of their retirement income.
Blooom manages a total of about $5.3 billion in retirement assets, but it is linked to $12.2 billion in assets.
“The other thing people find helpful is that Blooom is a one-stop-shop to see an aggregated snapshot of all of their retirement accounts with one login,” Costello noted. “Because if you have three or four accounts at different institutions, it’s a pain to log into four different places to see how your accounts are doing. By linking them to Blooom, you can see them all in one place.”
With the dependency on technology increasing every day, Blooom’s latest innovations will help in keeping them prevalent players in the digital field, Costello said.
“The demand for digital financial services will continue to accelerate,” he shared, “and I feel very excited about Blooom’s position in that market.”