A financial plan for $99? How this fintech startup plans to serve mass market retirees
A new fintech startup aims to make custom financial plans designed by CFPs affordable to mass-market consumers nearing retirement.
Launching this week with $4.7 million in seed funding, Retirable offers digital, self-service tools to build a basic financial plan for free. It also offers ongoing advice from a team of CFPs for just $99 per year.
The firm may find a large marketplace for its service. Nearly three-quarters of people in America do not have a financial plan, according to Charles Schwab’s Modern Wealth survey.
Although Retirable isn’t going after all of them, “there is a massive market that needs a lot of help,” CEO Tyler End says.
Unlike many other digital advice companies, Retirable will not manage assets, sell investment products, or try to compete with the traditional advice industry or even robo advisors, the chief executive says. The focus is entirely on planning, especially for people older than 55 who don’t have enough assets or income for a full-service advisor, he says.
Issues like Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as budgeting take center stage on Retirable, End says. The company also helps with problems that don’t impact wealthier client demographics, such as paying off debt while trying to save for retirement.
“Many people have only been told to save, save, save, but still have high-interest credit card debt,” End says.
End began his career in financial services as an advisor at Northwestern Mutual where he focused on retirement decumulation. Working within the traditional AUM model, which End says forces advisors to prioritize the wealthiest clients, he saw how traditional financial advice was beyond the means of average investors.
“It became pretty apparent that most people were getting priced out,” End says. “I saw this big advice gap and thought it was something [technology] could tackle.”
While $99 per year — less than the cost of a Netflix subscription — would require a massive user base to be profitable, Retirable’s business model isn’t about attracting as many clients as possible, according to End. For revenue, Retirable is partnering with third-party firms who offer the additional financial services and products a client may need. The firm collects a referral fee. For example, Retirable will point clients who want investment management help towards Betterment, End says.
After a year-long beta phase, 50,000 people have used Retirable’s digital tools to build a basic retirement plan, while the company’s CFPs created 8,000 custom financial plans, according to End. The firm’s average client is 63.5 years old and “firmly in the mass market,” he adds.
With the seed money — led by former LPL Financial CEO Mark Casady’s venture capital firm Vestigo Partners — End plans to hire more CFPs, expand Retirable’s product offering, invest in third-party partnerships and spend on marketing.
Joining Vestigo Partners in the seed round is Primetime Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage companies focused on improving quality of life for older adults.
“Adults over the age of 60 make up more than 25 percent of the world population, which is expected to double by 2050,” Abby Levy, co-founder of Primetime Partners, said in a statement. While “most adults 50-plus are looking at their finances with uncertainty and fear,” Levy said Retirable can help reduce that financial stress.