Introducing Path: A Better Financial Planning Experience

Life comes at you fast when you hit your thirties. You go from being single and worrying mainly about rent and student loans to feeling a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly, you have a mortgage to pay, joint finances, and kids… don’t forget kids. Man, do they change things. With two girls under the age of five, I can definitely relate.

So when the subject of retirement comes up with our clients, I understand how it can be easy to put off an event that is 30 years down the road. Life gets in the way. After all, you have time to make it up, right? When it comes to reaching your goals in retirement, time is your biggest ally. So how does Wealthfront, as your financial advisor, make you care about something that is 30 years away? How do we make “planning for your future” less intimidating? How do we make it *gulp* fun? Today, we are extremely excited to announce that we have done just that.

A Financial Plan Built for You

Introducing Path, by Wealthfront, a better way to experience financial planning. Path helps you prepare for your financial future, every step of the way. You can set up Path in five minutes and get answers right away to big questions:

  1. Can I live my current lifestyle in retirement?
  2. How much will I be worth then?
  3. How much should I be saving today?

What’s Your Path?

Many clients don’t know what their financial goals should be, and even more don’t realize that the goals they’ve set with their current spending and saving patterns are actually unattainable. This is no fault of theirs. There are no great options to forecast your financial future outside of maybe using one of those static “retirement calculators” that make you do a lot of guesswork. We were determined to build something more personal, connected and instant than any financial advisor could ever be. Path takes advantage of our team of PhDs to analyze your past behavior from connecting to your financial accounts, showing you what’s possible for your future.

As your financial advisor, it’s our job to sometimes be the bad guy and tell you that you can’t necessarily afford the lifestyle you want. So we designed Path to first assess your basic financial health, before we let you imagine what’s possible. We start with your needs before we get to your wants and wishes for one simple reason: If the foundation is shaky, then the rest is irrelevant. Let’s make sure your foundation is strong.

Path Lets You Focus on What You Can Control Today

We’ve put in the work to allow you to focus on what really matters; the money you save and spend now has a dramatic impact on your financial future.

One of the hardest parts of financial planning involves knowing what assumptions to make about the future. Path eliminates that challenge by leveraging the brainpower of our team of PhDs to handle the most difficult assumptions for you, like social security, inflation and investment returns. We then use your actual behavior to forecast the future; not what you say you want to do, but what you are actually doing. Path uses your real transaction history to calculate a rolling 12-month average of how much you’ve been saving and spending. Let’s say you decide to send your kids to private schools and end up saving less now – you don’t have to tell us. We already know. It’s in the data, and we will adjust our advice accordingly.

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Financial Planning at Your Fingertips

We think the current industry standard of meeting with a financial advisor twice a year is pretty dehumanizing. We want to empower you to get answers on your own time. No need for in person meetings, scheduled phone calls or awkward Skype sessions. That’s why it was crucial for us to build the first fully mobile financial planning experience. We can’t answer all of life’s questions for you, but we can be there if you’re zoning out on the train thinking about how life might unfold. We built Path so you can jump in no matter where you are to see how different decisions could impact your financial future.

Explore Life’s “What Ifs” with Path

Your life could play out in many different ways, and there is no “right answer” to what the perfect plan may be. There’s no piece of paper with a magic number on it because life doesn’t work that way. Whether you’re in line for coffee or at the dinner table with your spouse, we designed Path to allow you to explore what’s possible and dream up many different scenarios to find the best path for you.

Savings – You work hard. Really hard. And a year from now you finally get that promotion you’ve been gunning for, along with a nice raise. Suddenly, you’re in a position where you can save more. Path lets you explore how what you save today impacts your long-term outcome.

When it comes to saving, not all accounts are created equal, so we prioritize contributions to tax-advantaged, low-fee accounts, and we automatically take relevant annual limits into account. When you’re ready to commit to increased monthly savings, Path will show you which accounts you should allocate your savings to and how much to allocate to each across your Wealthfront and non-Wealthfront accounts.

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Spending – You’re fresh off that big promotion, thinking that when you retire you may be able to live lavishly and travel the world. Sounds like a wonderful scenario, but is it realistic? Path let’s you adjust your spending rate in retirement to see what’s possible.

Retirement age – Down the road you end up having more kids than you anticipated. That could mean needing to work a few more years than what you may have planned. With Path, you can see that impact if you retire a few years later.


Closing the retirement gap – You may be wondering why we don’t lead with the monthly savings you need to reach 100% of your retirement spending needs. This is intentional for two reasons. As your advisor, we want to tell you the right things to do, but above all we want you to understand that you have options. We want you to explore those options, try them on and see which one feels right. Additionally, reaching 100% of your savings goal might not be possible right now and that’s okay. We’re not going to build a financial plan that is tone deaf and makes you feel inadequate every time you log in. Instead, when you are hovering over the graph, simply click on the dotted line and the savings number that gets you to 100% is revealed.

Let’s find your Path together

Our clients pay us not to call them. We not only respect that, but specifically build products for this preference. Software is our method of persuasion to encourage you to take the right actions so you can reach your goals, and we believe if done right, software can be a far more powerful motivator than the human conversation.

This is an exciting moment for us to share our first jump into the world of financial planning with you. Today we are taking an important step with our 100,000+ clients to deepen our relationship – to make it less transactional and more personal – to make it less about the numbers and more about the possibilities.

So what’s your Path? Become a client today and try it on web, iOS and Android. We think you’ll love it.

Excited about Path? Share the news with family and friends!

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Disclosure

Nothing in this blog should be construed as tax advice, a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any security. This blog is not intended as investment advice, and Wealthfront does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. Graphs and other images are provided for illustrative purposes only. Our financial planning services were designed to aid our clients in preparing for their financial futures and allows them to personalize their assumptions for their portfolios.  We do not intend to represent that our financial planning guidance is based on or meant to replace a comprehensive evaluation of a client’s entire personal portfolio. While the data Wealthfront uses from third parties is believed to be reliable, Wealthfront cannot ensure the accuracy or completeness of data provided by clients or third parties. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Wealthfront clients.  For more information please visit www.wealthfront.com or see our Full Disclosure.


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