Recently, we came across FutureAdvisor, a financial planning website that strives to service the average investor. Launched in May 2010, FutureAdvisor provides unbiased and affordable advice using automated proprietary computer algorithms.
FutureAdvisor’s Online Customer Experience
The enrollment process requires the user to set an email address and password for login and provide additional personal and financial information. Additionally, users must either import investment accounts or manually input investment information. The site currently cooperates with 50 brokerage houses, allowing users to import account information from firms such as Fidelity, Vanguard and Wells Fargo. In-depth analysis and suggestions generate immediately upon enrolling.
The FutureAdvisor private site consists of five tabs – Personal Profile, Financial Profile, Asset Allocation, Analysis and Recommendations. The Personal Profile, Financial Profile and Asset Allocation tabs merely restate information entered while enrolling. The Analysis tab displays portfolio fee and tax efficiency goals and explains how successfully a portfolio has met its diversification goals.
The Recommendations tab lists a number of personalized investment suggestions. Suggestions include the purchase and/or sale of individual securities to create a more balanced portfolio. The Recommendations page also analyzes specific investment features, such as exposure to domestic stock, foreign stock and emerging markets, through a checklist summary of investment accounts.
FutureAdvisor Recommendations For Your Account
An Ask an Advisor button is ubiquitous throughout the site in the left column. Selecting it generates an AJAX box allowing users to submit questions to advisors with an email response promised within 48 hours. The FutureAdvisor Blog is also promoted on the site and contains a number of thought-provoking posts focusing on topics such as retirement readiness, managing your investments, capital gains/losses, etc.
FutureAdvisor Ask an Advisor
While FutureAdvisor does offer fee-based subscription services (gold and platinum packages cost $49 and $195 a year, respectively), it also provides a free service that includes asset allocation recommendations and a personalized 401(k) analysis. The gold package also offers users one scheduled video call with an advisor annually, while the Platinum Package includes unlimited access to advisors via video calls.
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