After an especially difficult year for teachers — navigating safety protocols and virtual classrooms, among other pandemic challenges — a Kansas City startup plans to offer its finance and retirement services free to educators for 12 months and at any price level, said Chris Costello.
blooom is a digital financial management service working to bring affordable retirement advice to the masses. The retirement analysis is complimentary. Connect your IRA, 401k, 403b, 401a, 457 or TSP today for a free check-up of your investments.
Click here to read about blooom’s plan to launch its new mobile app.
“Many [traditional] plans are needlessly expensive and complicated, which is why we’ve decided to take this ‘homework’ off teachers’ plates,” said Costello, CEO and co-founder of Leawood-based blooom, noting public educators have a unique option when it comes to saving for retirement: In addition to pension plans, they may qualify for 403(b) accounts, which share similarities to the better-known 401(k).
For 403(b) plans, money goes in pre-tax and is only taxed when it comes out during retirement, he explained, adding that high fees and insurance products, like annuities, can wipe out potential gains, making 403(b) accounts difficult to manage.
“I’ve always been frustrated that our teachers — including many of my family members — give so much of their time, talent and treasure to educating the next generation, can be put into a financially difficult situation due to 403(b) accounts,” Costello said.
Educators may click here to sign up for a full year of blooom’s proprietary financial service, using the code “TEACH.”
Once a teacher links their account to blooom, the technology reviews the existing investments and makes recommendations based on several variables including: age to retirement, risk tolerance and, most importantly, expenses of the available investment options in their plan, Costello said. By identifying the lowest cost options in line with the client’s goals, blooom potentially can save a significant amount in investment fees alone, he added.
“Our goal with this program is to better position participating educators for the retirement they so greatly deserve,” Costello said. “We also hope to drive awareness about the obstacles teachers and others who qualify for 403(b) plans face when it comes to navigating retirement investments.”
Click here to learn more about blooom’s year-long teacher appreciation initiative.