Chris Costello is the CEO and Co-Founder of blooom. Chris has earned the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation and has been working with individual clients and building portfolio allocations for almost two decades. He also co-founded another investment advisory firm that currently manages over $500 million for clients.
At blooom, Chris builds the actual models used to generate 401k recommendations; allowing blooom users to tap into advice traditionally only available to investors with a gazillion dollars.
I’m glad he’s decided to sit for a SavvyInterview.
RetirementSavvy: It’s likely that most readers have not heard of blooom. Can you give us some background?
Chris Costello: blooom was co-founded by a couple of financial advisors who had been managing investment portfolios for wealthy individuals in the midwest for the past 15+ years. We realized that having a large portfolio shouldn’t be a barrier to entry to accessing professional investment management.
So in early 2013, along with Kevin Conard and CTO Randy AufDerHeide, I set out to create an automated web-based solution for managing individual 401k accounts for retirement savers. At that time, and still today, blooom is the only automated robo-advisor managing 401k accounts regardless of where you work, where your 401k is held, or the size of your portfolio.
RS: If you were introduced to a stranger who only had a couple of minutes to spare, how would you describe the service(s) offered by blooom and the benefits they can expect?
CC: Very simply, I would just ask them “do you have a 401k through your employer?” If they do (there are 90 million people in the US today that have a 401k, 403b or TSP) I would then ask them “are you confident that your 401k is invested properly?” Roughly 80 of the 90 million do not feel confident about their how their 401k is invested. At that point, I would just simply let them know that “blooom fixes the investment allocation for you.”
RS: What is the fee structure?
CC: $1 per month for account balances under $20,000 and $15 per month if the account is $20,000 or greater. No other fees from blooom. None.
RS: Which cohort – Baby Boomers, GenXers or Millennials – is more likely to gravitate toward the services provided by blooom?
CC: We currently have clients that range in age from 22-67, but the vast majority of our clients are older Millennials and GenXers.
RS: What options are available for clients to view and manage their account?
CC: Today there are literally thousands of self-help, online calculators and online advice offerings to assist with managing your account. But blooom believes that people don’t need another fancy online tool or self-help manual – people need a professional tool to do it for them – regardless of their account size. So blooom manages the account FOR our clients. We place the trades in their 401k, we rebalance it for them, we adjust the risk profile of the account FOR our clients. Think DIFY not DIY
RS: Do you have a favorite money/finance related quote?
CC: “You can’t change the world with another financial calculator. People need something a lot better.” – Chris Costello, Co-Founder & CEO of blooom.