Author Archives: Brent Bowen

Keep searching for better option than TSP?

Leaving Public Service? TSP = Red Tape You Might Not Cut

Government service is often thankless. I saw firsthand bouncing around the country from town-to-town as the son of a life-long USDA employee. But in comparing notes between my Dad’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and what I know of 401ks, the TSP might be one area where the public sector got it right. How so?

If you’re a person with a 401k, we at blooom often start with a simple question. Know what you’re paying in investment fees? Generally, the answer is no. And the cost of what they’re invested in often surprises them. That’s where we come in to help 401k clients. For people in a TSP, the fee discussion is a little different – on the surface.

And that has more to do with predatory Wall Street practices than the plans themselves.

Investment selection, rebalancing and fiduciary services could help federal employees achieve a better retirement. So, let’s explore why current and former federal employees should consider those services before cutting that last bit of government red tape known as the TSP.

Thrift Savings Plans (TSP) Have Few Investment Fees

TSP participants have access to one of most inexpensive employer-sponsored retirement plans, but only 40% of military service members take advantage of this benefit.

A TSP is a lot like a 401k, but the investment expenses are generally better in the former. Say 20 times better. Compare the average expense ratio of 0.03% for a TSP to the median 401k expense ratio of 0.60% we see pre-blooom rebalance.

Millions of federal workers are in the plans. A 2014 CNN Money article surmised why many millions more are bypassing these low-fee plans (or opting out when they leave their federal job) and perhaps paying thousands more in fees in other retirement savings vehicles.

Read More
Common Traits Hamilton And Blooom

5 Unexpected Reasons Why We Love Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton the Broadway musical has been the hit of the New York stage for several years now. Even before his hip-hop reinvention, we at blooom shared some sensibilities with our founding father. Here are the Top 5 Alexander Hamilton traits we live when providing 401k help:

Alexander Hamilton Was an Innovator

When there was recent talk of removing Hamilton from the $10 bill, it was no surprise that there were a number of supporters who reached out to the press to challenge the move. Hamilton is rooted in the origination of several of our country’s financial and business institutions.

In addition to serving as our first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Hamilton co-founded the Bank of New York, which still lives on today as BNY Mellon. The bank’s stock was among the first to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. His strategies were also instrumental in the formation of interest-paying bonds, the chartering of a national bank and the first U.S. incubator.

Disruptive like Hamilton, blooom’s founders created a revolutionary online 401k app to fix the plans for EVERY American. The key distinction between blooom and other robo-advisors is that we are the only firm managing individuals’ employer-sponsored retirement accounts like 401ks and 403bs.

And, blooom clients also have access to unbiased professional financial advice beyond their 401k. Our goal is to provide access to help everyday Americans, not just millionaires who can typically afford financial advice. We do it for only $10 a month.

Alexander Hamilton Championed Transparency

In 1801, Hamilton started a daily federalist news sheet that eventually became the New York Post. At the time, Hamilton used the paper to voice his opinions publicly and attack conventional wisdom.

Transparency is no act for us, as blooom is a fiduciary. This basically means we are required to act in your best interest, not ours. We wish this was the case for all advisors in the good ol’ US of A, but it’s not.

Read More
DayCrunch Pick 24 Time Infographic Game

Time Infographic: Unlock 30 Hours of To-Dos Per Day?

Seven or more hours of sleep per night? That’s what the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults. A half an hour of exercise each day? Those are numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services. One hour to eat per day – says who? The USDA, that’s who. With so many things to do in life, we decided to crunch all the numbers of what the experts “recommend” you do in a 24-hour period — and the total adds up to 30 hours in this nifty time infographic!

Well, that’s life for you: 30 hours of steps to perform in 24 hours of moves. See how we can free up a move for you!

Meet Our Fictitious Player Kari: She Can Relate to the Time Infographic

Kari’s a 37-year-old single mom with two kids: Jasper, who’s 8, and is always playing baseball; and Cassie, a 4-year-old who enjoys finger painting butterflies.

Kari works full-time at a local department store, and loves picking up her kids from school after work. Once they’re all home, Kari feeds the kiddos, helps them with their homework, puts them to bed, and finally makes sure everything is all set for the next day. After that, she decides to spend some time before bed researching 401ks and financial planning. But 10 minutes into her research, she falls asleep. Her 24 hours are up, but the time infographic says she has six more things to do.

Sound familiar?

A Managed Account Can Help You Lifehack a Move

At this point, you’re thinking the same thing as Kari: How in the world can I get all this done? Life is a tough game. We all have hectic schedules and can relate.

We’re not positive whether you can lifehack your way to all 30 moves. But we do know one thing — a managed 401k account is one lifehack you can play to get closer.

So … what is a managed account?

Read More
Savings Crafts For Pinterest

How to Get Savings Crafty With Your BFFF

Your BFFF of 401k savings here (go figure that the company with three OOOs would throw an extra F in the BFF).

Okay. Full disclosure: I’m probably doing this in the reverse order of what I should … but you really should stick around for the fun.

So … a fear fact, a friend to help and then like good friends do … we’re going to go out for some fun.

Fear Fact: We’re Not Saving Enough. Period.

First, the savings fear fact. According to The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 66% of Americans would struggle to pull together $1,000 to cover an emergency.

If you’re a homeowner, it’s not hard to imagine $1,000 bill of any kind. And, apparently, this statistic is not isolated to people making less than $50,000 year. Even America’s wealthiest households would be challenged to collect the money without selling something or borrowing it. Of the households earning more than $100,000 a year, 38% say they would have some difficulty coming up with $1,000. 1. 

And this saving struggle affects people’s ability to save for retirement. Our wheelhouse, for sure. When the same Associated Press poll asked people if they will have enough money to retire on time, 54% called the likelihood … dubious.

Why We Care? We’re Your 401ks Best Friend

We know every dollar counts. That’s why we provide education on all manner of savings approaches, not just getting mooola into your 401k.

If you’re a saddled with debt, we outline the common question of whether it’s better to pay off the debt (the student loan variety in this example) or investing in your 401k .

Or, if you have no debt and are eager for a saving strategy, we implore you to try the 10% Savings Trick for retirement and an emergency fund.

But friends should not only be about lending advice but also ready to have some fun.

Some Saving Crafts Fun: The New Piggy Bank

A couple months back, I go into get a haircut and Lauren (she, Michelle or Parker generally cut my hair – I like to diversify) and I get to talking. At first, it’s the typical stylist/client small talk.

Read More
Breaking Down Retirement Plan Jargon

Introducing Retirement Plan Jargon Sampler: What Is a 401k?

If you haven’t picked up our Retirement Mixtape collection, it can be yours for two easy installments of … free. They’re full of hits from the blooom team, perfect for setting the mood in dreaming about the day you decide to retire:

We pulled together the collections because we at blooom LOVE music and a good mixtape.

The idea occurred to us that we should continue the music metaphor to help break down retirement plan jargon. So … welcome to our inaugural retirement plan jargon post. We’ll spin a few of these each month to help translate the relatively unintelligible world of investing, specifically 401k management.

For our first track ….

What Song Explains What a 401k, 403b or 457 Is (AKA … an Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan)?

This required some work on my part.

“The price is what? Life makes echoes … If you see them.”—“Echoes” by The Rapture

Read More
1 2