The best robo-advisors offer extensive account services including portfolio management, planning, and investor education. Clients should expect tight account security, low fees and responsive customer service departments. This 2021 review details the pros, cons, costs and services of Blooom.
Blooom: Best For
Blooom is a robo-advisor specializing in management services for most employer-sponsored plans and IRAs at Vanguard and Fidelity. The robo investor analyzes the investment options available to you in your retirement plan and helps you optimize your portfolio to best meet your needs. Blooom is best for:
- Investors with an IRA at Vanguard or Fidelity
- "Autopilot" investors who rebalance but don't do a lot of trading
- Investment newbies who want support and access to a human advisor when needed
Blooom focuses mainly on the employer-sponsored retirement account - 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP and 401(a) in addition to traditional and Roth individual retirement accounts. (As of this writing, Bloom only manages IRAs held at Vanguard or Fidelity.) Investors can try out the company's analysis tool for free before signing up.
Blooom at a Glance
|Minimum balance needed to access advisory services:||$0|
|Cost per stock trade:||It depends. Blooom says you may incur transaction fees with some funds, and that it will get your permission before incurring any transaction fee over $50.|
|Cost per options trade:||N/A|
|Promotions:||Blooom offers $10 off to new clients. And anyone can try Blooom with a free 401(k) analysis.|
|Tradeable securities:||Available stock and bond and mutual fund offerings depend on your retirement plan. The plan administrators determine your investment options and Blooom helps you choose among those options.|
|The number of commission-free mutual funds or ETFs:||Trading is done through your retirement plan and the fees, if any, come from them. Blooom says you may incur transaction fees with some funds, and that it will get your permission before incurring any transaction fee over $50.|
|What securities are used in portfolios(options, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, derivatives)?||Blooom limits your options to those offered by your retirement plan.|
Is Blooom Personal Advisor Services Right for You?
Robo investing with Blooom can help you make the best retirement account choices, aligning your investments with your retirement goals.
|There is no minimum account balance.||For small accounts, the fees are high.|
|Manages employer-sponsored retirement plans (most robo advisors do not).||Investments are limited to what's offered by your retirement plan.|
|Offers a free analysis so you can be sure that you want the service before you pay.||The least-expensive option does not include access to an advisor, and no plan offers phone support - only online.|
|Blooom does not require you to open a new retirement account. You can apply its services to existing accounts.||There's no app. You have to use Bloom's website to conduct your business.|
Financial Planning Services at Blooom Personal Advisor Services
Blooom reviews your retirement goals and risk tolerance and makes recommendations to maximize your return and minimize fees.
However, Blooom is limited to the funds available in your retirement plan. Its algorithm classifies those funds into 14 categories and selects a mix of those options for you.
Blooom tends to favor funds with low expense ratios. Blooom diversifies your asset class allocation based on your age and years left until retirement to maximize long-term growth.
You can manually rebalance your account after looking at Blooom's recommendations or elect to have Blooom do it automatically for you. As you near retirement, Blooom's algorithm swaps out aggressive investments for more conservative vehicles.
If you have individual stocks in an IRA, however, Blooom won't make any changes to them as it manages the rest of your portfolio. But you can allow Blooom to sell those stocks so it can manage your entire account.
How Blooom Personal Advisor Services Invests Your Money
Blooom is not a full-service brokerage putting all investment vehicles at your disposal. Its focus is very narrow and you can either go with Blooom's recommendations automatically or make your own choices after reviewing its suggestions. However, your only investment choices are those offered by your retirement plan.
Getting Started with Blooom Personal Advisor Services
Here's how Blooom works:
First, you'll launch its free retirement account analysis. You complete an online questionnaire and Bloom generates a retirement portfolio based on your responses.
Next, you link your retirement account to Bloom in just a couple of easy steps. It then analyzes your actual portfolio against the ideal retirement portfolio it built for you. Blooom reports your current portfolio's asset allocation weaknesses and recommends changes.
Once you sign up for Blooom and pay the annual fee, Blooom builds your custom retirement portfolio, selecting funds for you and placing your trades.
Fees at Blooom Personal Advisor Services
The management fee for Blooom, unlike most robo investment management services, is a flat dollar amount - not percentages of assets under management. So if your retirement account is large, the fee is negligible. But if it's smaller, the fee is rather high.
For instance, if you want the middle tier of service ($120 per year), that's 1.2% for a $10,000 balance, while most robo-advisors charge .25% to .5%. But if you have $100,000, the fee is .12%, which is very low.
Here are the tiers and levels of service:
Essentials - $45 per year, per account
- A personalized portfolio (this includes Blooom researching your account, making recommendations, and rebalancing your portfolio as you approach your retirement goal)
Standard - $120 per year, per account
- A personalized portfolio
- Transaction activity alerts
- Option to have Blooom place trades for you
- Access to a financial advisor who responds within two to three business days by email
Unlimited - $250 per year for unlimited accounts
- Personalized portfolio
- Transaction activity alerts
- Option to have Blooom place trades for you
- Access to financial advisors via live chat
If you have several retirement accounts from employers past and present, the unlimited option annual fees can be cheaper and also provide more management services. If you have a small account, you can always start with the Essentials option and upgrade as your account balance grows.
Compare Other Advisors Online
Robo investment offers vary widely among online brokerages, and it's important to find the right combination of fees and services for you. The best online broker for you depends on what type of investor you are:
- Very active trader desiring low commissions
- Small investor looking for affordable fees and good advice
- Serious investor desiring abundant research resources
- Margin investor comfortable with risk
- Mobile investor wanting easy trades from multiple platforms
At MoneyRates, it's easy to find the best robo advisor and to compare and shop for brokers.
Blooom clients can be any of the above-listed types of investor. But Blooom focuses exclusively on employee-retirement accounts and some IRAs. Blooom won't be the only brokerage you need unless you do all of your investing in retirement accounts.
Blooom's algorithm is not especially transparent. It's a proprietary program you can check out before signing up.
Its portfolio design is constrained by the options allowed by your plan. However, Blooom can get into your plan and choose the best options for you, and you don't have to open a new account to get that advantage.
If your plan has many choices, Blooom can save you a lot of time and probably money. If you only have a handful of options available, you could easily do the free analysis and trade based on the recommendations without signing up.
Blooom manages mainly employer-sponsored retirement accounts, a service that most brokerages don't offer.