I was recently talking with a financial planner from one of the biggest financial planning firms and here was the question I asked him:
In your professional opinion, where do you see financial planning going in the next 30 years with artificial intelligence, data trends, and online financial planning?
With a slight smile, the planner whom we can call Nick had this to say…
“Right now, things are changing faster than we have ever seen. The older population that is used to the human element on the other side of financial planning still wants the human element. However, the younger generations – millennials and below – they are taking to the internet for their finances.”
So what is my point and why am I sharing this recent conversation with you?
Well as financial planner Nick stated, like everything that is changing in the digital age seemingly overnight, financial planning is no exception. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
When it comes to planning your financial future and leveraging the internet, trends point to millennials and young adults using the internet to do their own planning.
And after my conversation with Nick, I found myself wondering, what is the best route for creating a comprehensive financial plan on my own?
That is when I came across Savology, a new online financial planning tool!
What is Savology?
To keep it simple, Savology is an online financial planning platform that provides you with an in-depth “Check-up” and analysis of your finances.
Here is how the creators of the Savology platform explain it:
Savology has created the most accessible, affordable, and actionable financial plan on the market. Regardless of the current state of your finances, Savology provides you with valuable insights into your whole financial life including insurances, debt, retirement planning, estate planning, and more.Spencer Barclay, Founder of Savology
The days of paying high fees to have someone give you a sound financial plan doesn’t have to be the only way. Thanks to Savology, it isn't.
Savology offers a free planning tool and in less than five minutes you can quickly get a report detailing your overall financial plan and where you’re killing it, and where you can make improvements.
The Skinny on Savlogy:
- Savology is a free to use financial planning platform to help households navigate their financial journey
- When you sign up for Savology, users get: a free financial plan, report card, action items (which are personalized recommendations)
- Additionally, Savology recently launched financial planning modules to help users not only improve their financial literacy but also help them improve particular parts of their financial plan
- When it comes to their surveys and collecting information, it is worth noting that Savology doesn't ask for anything overly personal.
- For example, they don't collect phone numbers and only ask for first-names, all data is anonymized!
The five points above might quickly summarize what Savology has to offer but to really experience the platform and all its features, I recommend checking it out for yourself here. In fact, here is the Savology summary I received:
Note: The assessment about our retirement outlook being low, well that is accurate because we focused on paying off all of our student loans. However, it is obvious we got some work to do!
Let's dive into how Savology can help you and your financial future!
How does the Savology platform work?
Using Savology is pretty simple. You start by completing a quick questionnaire consisting of basic information such as:
- Name (first only)
- Email (to send you your financial report card)
- Zipcode (to better pair you with providers down the road)
After spending 30 seconds completing some basic information, the Savology platform then asks users a series of questions involving their specific finances. Specifically, questions centered around:
- Your income
- Your assets & liabilities
- Your retirement accounts
- Your insurance & estate planning
Once you have completed your questionnaire you’re provided with an in-depth summary of your overall finances. Your finances are broken down into four main financial planning categories that you can toggle between and gain further information:
- Savings & Income
- Assets & Liabilities
- Risk Management
- Retirement Outlook
Savology also provides users with a free “Financial Report Card” (welcome back to grade school) giving a letter grade for different aspects of your personal finances like below:
Along with your report card, Savology prescribes action steps to immediately help you start improving your financial security!
For example, based on our monthly expenses, something Savology recommends we do is increase our emergency fund by an additional month!
Just see below!
While Savology provides users with the ability to follow the prescribed action steps, only the first five are unlocked! The other nine (in my case) can be unlocked with 100 Savology Stars aka points!
However, you earn 100 points right away for signing up and completing your profile. Users are able to earn additional stars every time they complete action items, complete modules (which we'll learn about below), complete activities, or recommend someone else to build their Savology plan.
It's important to know that Savology Stars, don't cost you anything at all other than and commitment to using the platform. When you complete actions, you get rewarded with stars. These stars are then used to unlock more features and details about your plan, and they can be used to get discounts to things like nominating guardians through the platform. After chatting with their team, I also found out that they will soon be introducing a “swag store” where you can redeem your earned stars for things like wallets, mugs, and t-shirts.
My recommendation? Load up on the stars while you can!
By now, you might be asking (much like I did), “How much does Savology cost, and is it really free?“
How does Savology make money (and is it really free)?
To get a complete financial summary including a report card similar to the screenshots above, the answer is yes, Savology is free.
However, they are a fintech company with operating costs, so they have to make money someway to offer such a comprehensive and modern platform for users. That being said, here is how Savology makes money:
Savology makes their money by connecting you with industry-leading financial service providers like Ally, Acorns, Self, Savvy, Coverpath, YNAB, M1, Bloom, Ladder, Policygenius, plus more as of 2020!
Put another way, based on your report card and current financial standing, Savology helps you identify the best providers in the industry to help you complete the action items prescribed in your financial plan!
Many, but not all, providers compensate Savology for any users that choose to use these provider recommendations. This model allows Savology to continue building free financial plans for as many people as possible.
So if you’re considering Savology, here is how you get started”
Step 1: Use this exclusive partnership link I have with Savology to get the ball rolling and start completing your questionnaire to get your custom financial profile.
Step 2: Once you're on Savology's website, fill out the basic contact information followed by your financials (income, retirement info, etc)
Step 3: When you're finished, Savology will send you a welcome email just like the one I received.
Pros and Cons of Savolgy
Like any financial resource or product for that matter, there are both pros and cons to their platform, mobile options, and features.
For example, if you happen to use Mint for budgeting, Mint's promotional marketing and pop-up ads can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just trying to see the damage on your budget from a wild weekend out!
However, on the flip, if the pros out weigh the cons and you find a true value in a product, then that ultimately will help you decide if it's a good fit for you!
Here are the pros and cons I personally found for Savology:
|Pros of Savology||Cons of Savology|
|Completely free to use!||Have to refer others for extra stars|
|Comprehensive report card included||Limitations to reporting more advanced items|
|Limited data needed, not sold||Still requires data|
|Easy to use and navigate||Resource options still growing|
|New platform – only going to get better from here!||New platform- so changes may come in the future!|
|Visual & actionable steps help understand user's financial position||Users must unlock action steps by completing profile!|
The Future of Savology?
In talking with some of the representatives of Savology, I was informed that the platform is really just getting started, especially considering they were just founded in 2019!
Just recently, Savology launched financial planning modules. These financial planning modules are used to help users not only improve their financial literacy, but also help them improve particular parts of their financial plan!
For example, if your report card and action items recommend you focus on your retirement, these financial planning modules help guide you and make recommendations to help you improve in those areas!
A core value of Savology is to increase financial literacy!
Additionally, Savology plans on incorporating some of the following components for users to really level up their financial planning strategy!
- Budgeting Tools
- Net Worth Analysis
- Auto Insurance Analysis
- Tax Analysis
- Student Loan Analysis
- Estate Planning
- Change Planning Assumptions
- Life Expectancy Details
- Steps to improve income
- Life Insurance Calculations
- Financial Literacy Quizzes (Along with existing modules)
- Actual Monthly Savings
My Final Take on Savology:
Just like a physical at the doctor’s office, it never hurts to get a check-up – even if it is a financial check-up.
The statement that stood out to me the most when I first researched Savology was this:
Households that had a financial plan were 2.5x more likely to plan for retirement.
That hit me – I need to have a long term retirement plan!
I won't lie, sometimes just thinking about advisors, wealth management, long term financial planning, retirement planning, financial security, saving for retirement and the whole litany of action steps that accompany these common financial planning terms overwhelms me.
However, I know a goal (retirement) without a plan is pretty much a dream. And while apps like Mint or my personal favorite, Personal Capital, do a good job tracking your income, net worth, and investments, I do like the additional components of detailed financial planning that Savology offers!
- Report card,
- The recommended action steps,
- And the simple platform the website provides
I found the entire Savology expierence super user-friendly and easy to use. Savology does a great job of making it very simple for the everyday person to use their platform.
You don’t have to be a financial genius or guru to leverage Savology’s custom portfolio and it’s in their best interest to direct you to the best services, but only you choose to use them!
Just like when you visit the doctor the doctor hands you a list of health recommendations based on your personal health scores – Savology does the same thing only with finances!
You decide which prescriptions and actions you will take, they just give you the recommended service providers!
So as we close, at this point, go learn more about Savology for yourself, and here is to earning all A’s on your financial report card… I personally have some work to do! s
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.