Financial planning for free? What Charles Schwab’s latest offering entails

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With the launch of a new digital offering, Charles Schwab is encouraging clients to start building financial plans — on their own.

Schwab’s free tool will generate customized financial plans for clients in as little as 15 minutes, according to the company. The offering has no minimum asset requirement.

“We know that not enough people have access to financial planning, whether it’s because minimums and fees are out of reach or because the planning experience is just too complicated or overwhelming,” Cynthia Loh, Charles Schwab vice president of digital advice, said in a statement.

The tool, dubbed Schwab Plan, will be “similar to what professionals use,” but streamlined for clients wanting to start a plan on their own, she said.

Schwab, which serves retail investors and provides custodial services to RIAs, has more than 14 million brokerage accounts and $4.3 trillion in client assets as of July 31.

After clients answer questions with regard to retirement goals, income sources and other matters, Schwab generates a plan laying out the probability of funding those goals and allocation recommendations.

Schwab clients across all of its retail division will have access to the tool and to financial professionals for service or general questions, according to the company. It will not be available for RIA clients.

For both Schwab and non-Schwab clients, the firm has created what it calls a “financial planning hub,” which includes goals-based calculators, tools and educational planning content to answer questions on retirement, saving for college and buying a home.

“We believe everyone, regardless of how much money they have, should have access to tools that help them take control of their financial future,” Schwab’s Loh said.

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