FAQ

You have questions. We have answers. We also have a lot of other really neat stuff if you stick around.

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Blooom Services


We like to think we do a lot of things:
•  Research, analyze and create a custom portfolio specific to you that is diverse, age appropriate, and, when possible, low in investment management fees
•  Optimize your account for your situation and adjust your allocation to more conservative investments as you get closer to retirement.
•  Monitor and alert you to any suspicious activity where applicable.
•  Advise you with any finance related questions/issues you may be having.


No. Your 401k stays put. You don't have to open up a new account or transfer it. We can work with many 401k plans as long as it has online access.


Nope! In fact, our mission is to give everyone access to independent, fiduciary financial services. We work with beginners, longtime investors, and everyone in between.


Nope. Way back when you signed up with them, you told them what percentage to invest and where. They merely help you implement your own advice - be it good or bad.


Yes. We are a fiduciary. This means we are required by law to act in your best interest, not ours. We wish this was the case for all advisors in the good ol' US of A, but it's not. Read more about choosing a fiduciary or The "F" Word in the Financial Industry


Most of the time no. Here is why: most brokerage firms won't allow their sales people to offer specific advice because that would mean they were acting as a fiduciary. Brokerage firms don't want the liability of bad advice from their sales people.


Most of the time the account will be adjusted within 7 business days. Sometimes it can take a bit longer depending on the institution where your account is held or the occasional access issue with the institution, but rarely longer than that.


Both. While our machine (algorithm) does all the heavy lifting, our registered advisors and account coordinators audit and perform quality assurance tests to review optimizations are completed accurately.


We'll review your account approximately 95 days after your last adjustment. If your account hasn't experienced enough drift to warrant an optimization, we will monitor changes in your account until another adjustment is necessary.


Sure. Shoot us a message on our contact us page and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!


Of course, you maintain full control of your account at all times. That said, keep in mind that any changes you make to your allocation may interfere with the service we are providing and may mean delays or issues with your blooom service the next time we attempt to optimize the account.


Yes. Anytime we make investment adjustments we will send you an email.


Not at this time. Each family member will need to have their own blooom profile, in order to enter their own individual information (age, retirement date, etc).


At this point, we work from a 'discretionary management agreement.' This is pretty much boilerplate for financial advisors. It basically states that you signed off on the allocation and we can place trades on your behalf.

The reasoning behind why we can't run each change by you is two-fold:

1. It's a bandwidth issue. We're aiming to help millions of Americans over the long-term and asking for approval before we take action would slow things down and increase your cost dramatically.

2. We're a fiduciary, which is fancy speak for blooom acting in your non-emotionally charged, rational best interest. If you really feel like you need control of every trade that's made then blooom may not be a perfect fit. We were designed for folks who want to delegate their 401k to professionals.


Not at this time. Each family member will need to have their own blooom profile, in order to enter their own individual information (age, retirement date, etc).


We manage each account individually. However, keep in mind that if each of your accounts is individually diversified, your holistic financial picture should also be appropriately diversified.


Our support team and advisors are available from 9-4 Central, Monday through Friday. Simply use our contact us form to send us your questions and we will get back to you as soon as we can!


Advisors are here to help with any questions you may have about your personal financial situation. Whether it's saving for your kids to go to college or finding the right time to refinance your mortgage, our experts are here to help our clients navigate through life's milestones. With blooom by your side there's no need to travel the journey to retirement alone.


First off, congratulations! This is an amazing accomplishment! Blooom was designed to help people with getting to retirement. Now that you're retired, it would be best to reevaluate if you need a more comprehensive plan to navigate retirement. Reach out to one of our advisors and we can help figure out the next steps to getting you the level of service that you need.


We don't currently have an app. It is definitely on our radar for the future, but no ETA on that. We will make an announcement once one is available, though. In the meantime, our development team has designed our website with mobile users in mind.

Linking an Account


We won't have every employer in our search currently. If you don't see your employer, don't fret we may still be able to help. Change your search to the institution that your account is being held or the website link you use to sign in instead and we can connect to your account that way.


The best way to determine the institution your account is currently being held at is to contact your HR representative. If this is an old 401k, you may need to do a bit more digging into where the account was being held at. You can reach out to the former employer or a good place to start your search is at BrightScope.


We service hundreds of institutions but if you are not finding your institution in our search, reach out to our support team and we can double check if there are any options to allow you to connect your account. If we don't currently have your institution we can put you on a waiting list to contact you if it ever becomes available.

Pricing


Our pricing is on a per account basis, offering a discounted rate for accounts added after the first account, whether it be your second account or your 10th, you get the same discounted rate.

We only offer a flat fee option, so you will always know what you are paying to have blooom manage your account(s). There are 2 billing options to choose from. You can pay quarterly or annually, whichever one makes the most sense for you. During registration you are presented with these options, along with your rate.

Accounts are automatically renewed each quarter or year depending on the subscription you have selected, using the payment method indicated during registration. The auto renewal feature can be cancelled once you are registered and your account will then automatically cancel at the end of your billing period.


Blooom doesn't have any hidden fees. However, the investments in your 401k have internal expenses. Blooom seeks to use the most cost effective funds in your 401k allocation.


None. You will pay as you go. You can cancel anytime or turn off auto-renewal for your subscription so that you are not billed again at the end of your billing cycle.


We sure do! You get a $10 Amazon gift card for every friend of yours who analyzes their account (AND, if your friends become blooom members, they get $10 off their subscription!) Sign up for our referral program and share your link to get referring.


We don't currently offer an option to pause service. You do have the option to either cancel services or stop automatic renewals on your account.


If you would like to stop your membership from automatically renewing:

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Billing → Renewal Settings→ Turn Off

Turning off the renewal setting will automatically cancel your blooom membership at the end of your current subscription. We will continue to manage your account until the end of the subscription. You can turn this back on at anytime before your renewal date to avoid cancellation.


To disable your service you can sign in to your blooom account:

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Account Settings → Click the 3 dots on the account you'd like to unmanage → Click Cancel Management


You may be eligible for a prorated refund based on the time frame you have left on your subscription. You will be presented with the refund amount prior to completing the cancellation process. You can also choose to discontinue the auto renewal in order to finish out your current subscription time.


To update your billing information:

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → BillingUpdate Payment

Your new card will be charged on the next billing cycle.


Sometimes we run promotions to attract new clients. If you're currently a client and you've found a promo code online, unfortunately that only applies to new blooom clients.


Promo codes are for people that are new to blooom. You can enter the promo code directly on the payment page if you have one. There's no doubling up on promo codes so you will have to choose one, we would suggest the one with the best deal for you.

IRA


We are happy to say that we are able to manage both IRAs and Roth IRAs at specific institutions. We are currently offering this option for accounts held at Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab.


Our pricing works on a per account basis, with the same flat fee structure as with our 401k management service.


We will contact you if we need any additional information from you. Making the investment changes to your account is a two part process:

1) Selling your current investments into cash.

2) Buying into the recommended investment portfolio. This process can take multiple days to complete.

Please reach out to our service team for any additional questions.


If you have individual stocks in your IRA you are prompted during the registration process to either keep your current positions in those stocks or allow us to sell those stocks and manage your entire account. While we aren't believers in holding on to any individual stocks within your retirement accounts, we do offer you the option.
We will not actively manage individual stock holdings.


During the process of implementing our recommended portfolio there may be transaction fees associated with the funds that you are currently invested in. We will continue with processing the transaction if those fees do not exceed $50. If they do exceed $50 we will reach out to you directly for how you would like to handle those fees.


While you will need to contact your institution in order to complete the rollover process, we can help with the management of your new IRA, once it's opened. We can currently manage IRAs at Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab.


Each one of our clients have circumstances and factors to consider that are unique to them. Once you have a blooom membership, our advisors can take a look at all the factors specific to you and help you determine the best plan of action.

HSA, 529, Coverdell, etc.


Right now we only manage employer-sponsored accounts and Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab IRAs but blooom members can get a custom HSA portfolio recommendation if you reach out and send us your fund lineup and one of our advisors will get back to you with a recommendation!


Right now we only manage employer-sponsored accounts and Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab IRAs but similar to HSA blooom members can get advice on education savings. Reach out and one of our advisors will get back to you with a recommendation!

Account Management


Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Profile → Your Information → Phone Number → Click Update at the bottom of the page.


Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Profile → Edit Risk Tolerance. You can retake your risk quiz and change your allocation.


Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Profile → Edit Retirement Age.


To change the password for your blooom account, simply click forgot password on the sign in page. You will then be sent an email and can change your blooom password.


We see provider changes all the time.

The best way to handle this is once the new account is established:

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Account SettingsSwitch Management at the bottom of the page​.

This will walk you through the steps to link/enroll the new account and cancel the old account. If you've already added the new account, you'll get the chance to select that account when you go through the process.


Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Profile → click 'delete blooom profile' at the very bottom of the page

If you are a current blooom client you will first need to cancel service.


We review your account approximately every 95 days and optimize if necessary. We'll send you a confirmation email whenever we make trades on your account. To see when your account was last optimized, sign in to your blooom account and select Activity from the menu.


We monitor your account continuously, but will only adjust it at most every 95 days. If your account hasn't been optimized recently, that's probably because your account hasn't experienced enough drift to warrant a re-optimization—you're in good shape. High five!


Your account will eventually move out of the allocation that we set it to, which we refer to as “drift.” This happens as various funds move independently of one another. For instance, one or more funds may be performing really well, which makes that fund's percentage of the total portfolio become larger than the desired proportion. We've set an allowance for each fund category to drift, and once it moves out of that range, a optimize will be scheduled to reset the allocation.

Markets move daily, which means that your account will too. If one fund, or a category, moves enough, the portfolio may no longer be in the recommended percentages. We have different metrics that we'll watch for your allocation, diversification, and individual funds. Once something is off, our system will create a optimize and get it back to where it needs to be.


When you sign in to your blooom account we will automatically try to update your account information by connecting to your institution. If there are additional steps you will receive a notification or further instructions right in your blooom dashboard. If we are unable to connect to your account please reach out to our support team via the contact us form for additional information.


Please confirm you are able to sign in directly to your institution. Once confirmed, please follow these steps to update on blooom's side:

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Account Settings → Click 'Update Credentials' button next to the account that needs to be updated

Please make sure if you have a password tool that populates your username/password it is turned off.


If you are seeing that your account is listed twice (or more), this typically indicates that there was a recent change to the account at your institution. When this happens, reach out to our team via contact us and we can get that updated for you.


If you would like for us to manage a different account than the one we are currently managing.

Click the menu in the upper right hand corner → Account SettingsSwitch Management at the bottom of the page​.

This will walk you through the steps to link/enroll the new account and cancel the old account. If you've already added the new account, you'll get the chance to select that account when you go through the process.


First things first, sign in to your blooom account. There should be prompts to guide you to the correct steps to provide the needed information. If you need help, our team is here! Send us your questions via our contact us form.


Let time do it's thing. We have constructed a beautifully diversified, global allocation for you. As you near retirement we will make adjustments for you, establishing the appropriate stock-to-bond ratio. If at anytime you have questions about what's going on in your account or the stock market, please reach out to our support team before making any drastic decisions about your account. After all that's what we are here for!


Allocation changes will be be implemented on your next optimization. Contact our support team for more details of when your next optimization will be.

Please note: If you are making drastic changes to your allocation, we have a team of advisors that are available to help with making informed decisions regarding the investments in your account.

Investments


We are not believers in market timing. Our goal is to get you into an appropriately diversified allocation based on your age and years to retirement, focused on long-term growth. So while we will adjust your allocation as you get closer to retirement, we will not adjust it for normal market fluctuations—recessions and market drops are normal parts of the economic cycle.


We don't use a tactical approach. Tactical is a glorified version of market timing. We believe in constructing well-diversified portfolios and then actively rebalancing when necessary.


We take your current age, retirement age, and comfort with risk into account in order to determine the ideal mix of stocks and bonds for you to be invested in. We then implement a plan that will automatically move you into more conservative, less volatile investments as you get closer to retirement.


Target date funds are a great tool for 401k participants that want a one-size-fits-all approach. Blooom clients get customized portfolios that are tailored specifically for their retirement goal and adjusted accordingly.


At this point, we work from a 'discretionary management agreement.' This is pretty much boilerplate for financial advisors. It states that you signed off on the allocation and we can place trades on your behalf.

The reasoning behind why we can't run each change by you is two-fold:

1. We're aiming to provide affordable financial advice to millions of Americans over the long-term. Asking for approval before each action would impede the pursuit of that mission.

2. We're a fiduciary, which is fancy speak for blooom acting in your non-emotionally charged, rational best interest. If you really feel like you need control of every trade that's made then blooom may not be a perfect fit. We were designed for folks who want to delegate their 401k to professionals.


Here is how the blooom algorithm works (at a high level): We research and classify each of the fund options within your plan into one of about 14 different categories (things like large cap, mid cap, international, emerging mkts, etc). Once each of the funds is in its 'asset class bucket' our investment algorithm optimizes for funds that meet your target allocation while maintaining the lowest internal expense ratio

Here is the order of importance within our methodology:
1. Get the stock-to-bond ratio appropriate for your timeframe to retirement.
2. Get you exposed to all appropriate asset classes available within your 401k fund lineup.
3. Select the lowest cost funds for each asset class.


We don't recommend having more than 10% of your portfolio invested in company stock. Keep in mind that if you have company stock holdings, we won't account for those extra equity holdings when we create your custom portfolio. The result is that your portfolio will skew more aggressive than your chosen allocation if you have company stock. We will only manage the portion of your account balance that is not invested in company stock.

However, in some cases your institution may not allow a optimize without including the company stock in each transaction. In these cases, if you have less than 10% of your account in company stock, we may need to round your holdings to the nearest whole percent and either buy or sell shares of your company stock. The company stock transaction in this scenario will never be more than 0.499%.

If you have more than 10% of your account in company stock, we will round your holdings down to the nearest whole percent, meaning we will sell your company stock. The company stock transaction in this scenario will never be more than 0.999%.

Our advisors can take care of the process of reducing your company stock for you, should you choose to do so. Just let us know what specific percentage you would like to hold in company stock, and we will take care of it from there.

If you have your future contributions to company stock percentage set above 10%, blooom will lower it to 10% for ongoing contributions and adjust the remaining 90% of your future contribution portfolio accordingly. If you have less than 10% set for future company stock contributions, we'll leave your company stock future contribution percentage the way it is and adjust the rest.


We will manage ONLY the portion of your account balance that is not invested in the self-directed brokerage.


Any individual client's returns will depend on a wide range of factors unique to each individual - This includes things like the performance of the specific funds offered in each individual's employer retirement plan and the mix of investments blooom recommends to each client based on their age, time until retirement, and risk tolerance. Providing an average rate of return among all blooom clients, across thousands of institutions would not only be highly improbable, but also misleading.


At this point, we encourage folks who are really curious about performance to sign in to their provider's website to check-in. Overall, we try to help folks invest for the long-term. We don't want to get too caught up in short-term performance.


Generally yes, but in some retirement plans, there are funds with restrictions on moving money in or out. If you have a fund or funds in your plan with transaction restrictions we may not be able to include those assets in your account optimization.


We do keep them on file, but we don't track them. It may help to understand how the blooom algorithm works. We will research each fund available to you in your plan, including the funds you were previously invested in. If we didn't choose to use them in our recommended allocation, then we have already ruled those funds out based on what we believe are the most important factors for hitting your long-term goals. If you're curious why you don't see past/current performance on our list of importance when choosing funds see Do you choose the best performing funds? for more details.


At this point, we work from a 'discretionary management agreement.' This is pretty much boilerplate for financial advisors. It basically states that you signed off on the allocation and we can place trades on your behalf. We are unable to optimize around certain funds outside of our recommended fund line up.

As a heads up, blooom is a fiduciary, which is fancy speak for blooom acting in your non-emotionally charged, rational best interest. If you really feel like you need control of every trade that's made then blooom may not be a perfect fit. We were designed for folks who want to delegate their 401k to professionals.


At this point, we work from a 'discretionary management agreement.' This is pretty much boilerplate for financial advisors. It basically states that you signed off on the allocation and we can place trades on your behalf. We are unable to exclude asset classes outside of our recommended fund line up.

As a heads up, blooom is a fiduciary, which is fancy speak for blooom acting in your non-emotionally charged, rational best interest. If you really feel like you need control of every trade that's made then blooom may not be a perfect fit. We were designed for folks who want to delegate their 401k to professionals.


There is something called socially responsible funds (also referred to as ESG funds) that would avoid certain industries. However, most 401ks don't offer these funds in their limited fund lineups and that may be the case with your 401k. So some of the funds you're invested in could have a small allocation to one or more of those companies.

We think we'll start to see more ESG funds in 401k plans as they have become more popular. For now though, if you have any outside investment accounts, like an IRA or taxable brokerage account, you could invest in socially responsible funds in those accounts, but blooom does not take this into consideration at this time.


We don't factor in a fund's past performance when we're picking funds. Reason being, past performance is often a terrible predictor of future performance. If anything, funds that have outperformed recently are often the funds most likely to underperform going forward. ​

Mountains of research consistently show that the best predictor of future returns is cost; low-cost funds tend to outperform high-cost funds over time, regardless of past performance. Here's a great article on this topic if you're interested: Fund Fees Predict Future Success or Failure


We are limited to the funds within your 401k line up and rarely (if ever) have these options available. And, even if they were available, this is not something our financial advisors would recommend because investing in a single stock is typically riskier than the allocation we create for our clients.


While fees are important to us, they aren't our number one priority. It may help to understand how the blooom algorithm works


This is a term used to describe money that is contributed to the 401k or IRA, but after taxes are taken from your paycheck.


Our advisors generally recommend doing half of your contribution amount in a pre-tax (traditional) and half in a Roth. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like a more personalized recommendation. Note:: There are unique tax benefits to each contribution type. While splitting between the two is a solid rule-of-thumb, you may benefit from speaking to a tax professional regarding your specific tax situation. Blooom does not provide tax advice.


Yes, when we optimize your 401k account we do it in two parts: Current balances AND future contributions. We take care of it all for you!


Short term gains are not our goal, we invest for the long term so while it is possible your coworker is doing well, it has been our experience that the two most exaggerated topics are fishing and investment returns. We are focused on your account and can't really speak to how your coworker is doing.

Deposits, Withdrawals, Transfers


No. We never will take money out of your account. You will have to contact your custodian to initiate a withdrawal or a loan. That said, if you're thinking about dipping into your nest egg, don't hesitate to reach out to a blooom advisor using our contact us form. They can lay out the implications of doing so and help you consider some alternatives, if appropriate.


Reach out to us! A blooom advisor can compare your employer plans and make a rollover recommendation.


No, we will not change the amount that you are withholding out of your paycheck to fund your retirement. But if you want advice from our advisors, we'd be happy to help you determine an appropriate percentage, based on your plan's match and your financial situation. Just use our contact us form to let us know you are looking for help determining how much to contribute and an advisor will follow-up!

Security


Yes. We take security and privacy very seriously. We recognize that before we can help you with your 401k, we have to keep your information safe and secure. This is a big step and blooom wants you to feel comfortable with your decision. As a startup it only takes one incident to lose credibility so we take all the measures we can to ensure your information is safe. Blooom uses bank level security with encrypted servers. We wouldn't recommend blooom to our family and friends if we had ANY hesitation.

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