Contributing to a workplace retirement plan may be the single best way to build wealth over time. But managing those retirement plans can be a huge pain. If your company offers any 401(k) help at all, it's probably pricey.
However, Blooom is an automated investment service looking to make it easier to manage this centerpiece of your investment life. Blooom’s technology isn’t rocket science. They use a basic asset allocation strategies to keep you invested towards your retirement goals.
But what sets them apart from other robo-advisors is the fact that they can help manage your 401(k) without requiring you to move your funds from your current plan administrator. Plus, you can now have them help you with your IRA as well! Here’s else what you need to know about Blooom.
- Fee-based 401(k) and IRA Management
- Advice-only plans or full robo-advisor management
- Get answers to any financial questions from human advisors
$0 to $250/yr
401(k), 403(b), 401(a), 457, TSP, IRA, Roth IRA
What Is Blooom?
Blooom is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) that uses technology to help customers optimize their retirement plans. Unlike most robo-advisors, which will want you to create a new account and move your funds, Blooom will meet you where you are.
The company can manage 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans (such as 403(b), TSP, 401(a), and 457 accounts) without taking possession of your assets. And if you currently have an IRA with Fidelity, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, or Vanguard, Blooom can help you optimize your investments in those accounts as well.
Bloom has raised $13.2 million in funding across two rounds, with the most recent funding round take place in 2017. In 2021, Blooom announced that it had surpassed $5 billion in assets under management.
What Does It Offer?
Blooom has a mix of tools and features that can help retirement savers reduce fees and potentially earn better returns. Here's a quick look at some of its top features.
Blooom provides free portfolio analysis without charging any fees whatsoever. Wondering if you're paying too much fees inside your 401(k) plan? Blooom can show you how the cost's of your plan compare to the average.
Want to know if you're investments are overperforming, underperforming, or simply keeping up with the stock market as a whole. Blooom can help with that too as well as providing planning tools, ideal-to-actual comparisons, and general improvement tips.
Once you become a paying subscriber to Blooom, you'll received a customized portfolio recommendation. Based on your age, and your target retirement age, Blooom will recommend a target allocation.
For younger people, they recommend a 100% stock allocation, but they also offer diversification within stocks. For example they'll select large, mid and small cap domestic stock funds and various international stock and possibly even “alternative” funds.
Whenever possible Blooom will select a low-cost index fund to meet your portfolio’s requirements. In general, this means that you’ll get low cost performance that tracks the market. If you’re someone who accidentally selects all the highest-cost mutual funds, this could bring substantial savings to you.
If you don’t like Blooom’s asset allocation, you can opt for a different ratio of stocks to bonds. Blooom doesn’t offer diversification outside of stocks and bonds. People who like to tinker with their portfolio allocation, won’t like Blooom’s one-algorithm fits all methodology. But for the average person this is a great service.
Robo-Advisor Account Management
On its least expensive "DIY" plan, Blooom will only recommend your ideal portfolio. But you'll have to build and maintain that portfolio yourself by executing the necessary trades. But clients who choose the Standard or Unlimited plan, however, can choose to have Blooom place the trades automatically on their behalf.
All 401(k) and other employer-sponsored accounts should be eligible for robo-advisors management. And while Blooom can manage Fidelity IRAs as well, it can only provide recommendations on IRA that are with Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, or Vangaurd.
Blooom will rebalance your portfolio every 90 days, based on their algorithm (along with any changes you’ve made to your stock to bond ratio). Once you accept Blooom’s recommendations, Blooom will manage your portfolio in perpetuity as long as you continue paying your annual fee.
Access To Human Advisors
On the Standard plan, Blooom customers can send questions to financial advisors and should receive responses within 2-3 business days. Clients who are on the Unlimited plan, meanwhile, can Live Chat with an advisor at any time. Note that phone-based support is offered on any tier.
What Are The Fees?
Portfolio analysis with Blooom is free. But you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan to receive a personalized portfolio, account management, or advisor access. Blooom's paid plans cost $45, $120, or $250 per year.
Instead of withdrawing money to pay themselves, Blooom charges your debit or credit card for their service. To me, this is a standout feature. Fees can be a big drag on your portfolio. But charging a credit card means you’ll cash flow your investment expenses.
Most robo-advisors charge 0.25%-0.50% asset management fee. But Blooom has one fee for all consumers. That could be a positive or a negative depending on the size of your portfolio.
For example, if you have a $1,000 balance in your 401(k) and pay $120 per year to Blooom, you'd have a sky-high 12% effective management fee! But if have a $100,000 balance, paying that same $120 would result in a minuscule effective management fee of just 0.12%. Here's a closer look at the pricing and features of Blooom's plans.
Trades Placed On Your Behalf
Priority Advisor Access (Live Chat)
How Does Blooom Compare?
Blooom is one of the only robo-advisor platforms today that will manage 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
But if you're looking to invest in a taxable account or an IRA, another platform may be able to provide features that Blooom is lacking like phone-based support, socially responsible investments, and tax-loss harvesting. Check out this chart for a quick look at how Blooom compares:
$0 to $250/yr
0.25% to 0.40%
Auto and Human
Auto and Human
Manages Existing 401(k) Plans
Offers In-House 401(k) Plans
How Do I Open An Account?
You can open an account with Blooom by visiting its website here. Once you're there, click the green "Start Now" button at the top right-hand corner. Next, you'll be asked a series of questions to help Blooom determine your goals and risk tolerance.
After you've completed the questionnaire, you'll be able to connect your existing retirement plans by providing your account login information. The entire process shouldn't take longer than about 10 minutes from beginning to end.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Yes, since Blooom doesn't actually take custody of your assets, you won't have to worry about it losing any of your funds due to theft or bankruptcy. However, you'll want to make sure that the broker that does have custody of your plan is SIPC-insured.
How Do I Contact Blooom?
If you're Blooom's Standard or Unlimited plan, you can reach out to a financial advisor at any time (via email or live chat). But the customer service options for all other customers is rather bare.
There is a contact form here, but you won't find a phone number or email address. Blooom's customer service hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, but they don't offer an average response time (other than 2-3 business days for clients on the Standard plan).
Is It Worth It?
I think Blooom is an excellent solution for people who want to "set and forget" their 401(k) contributions.
I do wish that the company offered more diversification into alternative asset classes and the opportunity to customize holdings. And if you’re aiming for socially responsible investing, you should not choose Blooom at this time.
However, for the average 401(k) investor, I like Blooom’s standard recommendations. Blooom maintains a fiduciary standard. So if you appreciate their approach, Blooom could be a good fit for you.
Let's answer a few of the most common questions that people ask about Blooom:
Can Blooom manage IRAs?
Only if the accounts are with Fidelity. It can also provide recommendations (but not make trades) on Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Vanguard IRAs.
Is Blooom a fiduciary?
Yes, as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), Blooom has a fiduciary duty to its clients.
Is Blooom a full-service brokerage?
No, Blooom manages 401(k) plans and other employer-sponsored retirement accounts that are held at existing brokers rather than taking ownership of any assets itself.
Does Blooom offer phone and/or video calls with advisors?
No, but its Standard plan includes email support and its Unlimited plan includes Live Chat support.
Supported Account Types
ETF/Mutual Funds Expense Ratios
Varies by the investments that are offered in the employer-sponsored plan
Socially Responsible Investments
Varies by the investments that are offered in the employer-sponsored plan
Access to Human Advisor
Yes, on Standard and Unlimited plans
Yes, every 90 days
General Customer Service Options
Customer Service Hours
Mon-Fri, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Desktop Account Access
Mobile App Availability
Commission and Fees
Tools & Resources
Blooom is an automated investment service looking to make it easier to manage your 401(k) and other retirement plans.
- Provides portfolios analysis for free
- Supports a wide variety of retirement plans
- Never takes custody of your accounts
- Customers can access human advisors
- No tax-loss harvesting
- Limited IRA management (Fidelity IRAs)
- No phone-based customer service
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.