The bottom line up front: I’m part of a team that is launching a new, online, comprehensive financial planning service. You can sign up and get a plan for free at http://www.myfinancialanswers.com by entering in your e-mail address and getting started. We are only offering this free, 60 day trial to the first 1,000 users who sign up. After the 60 day trial period ends, and after we reach 1,000 beta users, we will be charging $99/year. You can read more below or head over to myFinancialAnswers and get your free plan.
Let’s face it: the vast majority of Americans have been largely ignored by the traditional financial planning industry.
Most planning firms provide services only to high-net-worth individuals and families, setting an asset minimum of anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million or higher. The problem? 70% of the population of the U.S. has less than $250,000 in net worth, let alone in investable assets.
Even those who meet the thresholds don’t necessarily want to pay someone else to manage their money—they might want to manage it themselves, but still need guidance on some of the finer points of financial planning. Where should they turn?
Wire house brokers and insurance companies are a common option, but they come with their own limitations on expertise, not to mention potential conflicts of interest. Hourly and flat-fee financial planners are supposed to help fill the gap, but it’s hard to know which planners to trust, and their fees can often be too high to lure the casual client. Unsure what to do, most of the “underserved” population simply shrugs their shoulders and tries their best to do it themselves, making use of whatever online tools and DIY/help-yourself bloggers are out there.
I know, because I’ve seen you. In 2014, over 200,000 of you visited my website—200,000 people who were looking for answers to financial questions. But only about 100 of you ever decided to even contact me about working with you. That means that 199,900 of you who came here last year left without taking action with me. Some of you might have a plan. Some might be retired. I’d bet a lot of you are still looking for answers.
The biggest problem standing between reading websites and boards and execution is that you still have to apply what you’ve learned to translate it to your personal, specific situation. Even then, you may be trying, as we used to say in the Army, to stuff 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag, and you’re going to have to consider some difficult trade-offs. Sometimes it takes a professional to sort through it all. Retire later? Spend less? Pay less for the kids’ education?
That’s why, when I was approached in May 2014 by my now business partner Ben Pitts about joining him in a new business, I jumped at the opportunity.
What was that business?
Online comprehensive financial planning. Thus, myFinancialAnswers was born.
What is online comprehensive financial planning?
The concept behind myFinancialAnswers is pretty simple.
We take in your relevant personal and financial information, and just like I’d do with any of my personal clients, and run a ton of calculations to determine what steps you need to take to meet your financial goals. In fact, we run more than a billion calculations to get there.
Then, we make recommendations based on what we’ve learned. Those recommendations vary from how much you should be spending and investing to how much insurance you should own to how much you should be putting aside for your kids’ college education.
We also answer whether or not you can retire when you want to retire with the lifestyle that you want to have—the question of whether or not you’ll have more heartbeats or money.
It takes between 30 and 90 minutes to go through the process and come up with your comprehensive plan and set of recommendations, depending on how organized and accessible your information is.
The software we use is based on the same software used by leading private wealth management firms when they advise their high-net-worth clients; it’s just been reformulated and optimized as a web-based tool for wider consumption. We’re trying to expand the scope of the traditional financial planning industry, to fill in the gaps that have existed for so long and left so many people without a plan.
Everyone deserves a financial plan; with myFinancialAnswers, it’s possible.
Is this for everyone?
myFinancialAnswers will help a lot of people, but it will not help everyone. If you have a complicated situation or a complicated estate, then you’re going to want to connect with a financial planner who can use his or her specialized knowledge to assist you. However, the underlying technology behind our tool has been in use for financial planning clients for several years, and it has served those clients very well.
Another group that this service will not serve well is the self-employed. Because the tax accounting for the self-employed is so complex compared to rank-and-file employees, our tool’s tax and other assumptions are not well-suited to the self-employed.
What will this cost me?
As we launch our product for the first time, we’re eager to learn more about how users are engaging with the product. We want to hear how you like it, how it’s working, and what you do and don’t like about it (or maybe what you’d like to see that you’re not already seeing). We also need to work out any final bugs that we might not have been able to catch in our testing, so if you find one for us, please let us know and bear with us as we work to fix it.
To help meet that goal, we’re offering this service for free for 60 days to the first 1,000 users who sign up. We want you to be our partners in helping to bring comprehensive financial planning to “the 70%”—all those who have previously wanted a financial plan but didn’t know how to get one. After the first 1,000 users sign up, we are going to charge $99 per user per year. Once your 60 day trial is up, you will be requested to subscribe in order to continue accessing your account.
We want our users to take the actions they need to take to meet their financial goals and be happy with the outcomes after they’ve gone through our service. We want you to tell your friends about us and for your friends to be happy as well. If we provide information that doesn’t provide you with the best financial plan possible, then that happiness, satisfaction, and sharing the word is not going to happen.
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of something special; head on over to myFinancialAnswers now to get started.
What about Hull Financial Planning?
Because I am now the CTO of myFinancialAnswers, I will no longer be directly offering financial planning services. I am going to keep this site up because, hey, if I can get 200,000 people to go use myFinancialAnswers in the next year, that’s going to be a great start for us!
Because of this venture, I will no longer be operating as a fee-only, hourly financial planner.
What about you?
What are you waiting for? Go to myFinancialAnswers and sign up to get a free comprehensive financial plan! And please, take the actions that the software recommends. If you’re not going to act on its recommendations, please don’t use our tool—it costs us money for each user who goes through the system, so we need people who are going to act on what the software recommends.
This offer of a free 60 day trial expires after the first 1,000 users have signed up. After that, we are charging $99/year for the service. So, if getting a full financial plan is something that you’re interested in, and you’ll actually act on what the plan tells you that you need to do, then get your information together and head over to myFinancialAnswers. Have more questions? Go to the myFinancialAnswers FAQ Page and take a look.
Thanks for all the fish. We’ll see you at myFinancialAnswers!