In a Nutshell: In the past, realistic and workable financial plans were often limited to the wealthy because the average consumer doesn’t have enough funds to procure a bespoke financial advisor. But Planswell is changing all that with its simple and easy financial planning platform. Anybody can receive a solid, free financial plan in just about three minutes using Planswell. The Canadian company also focuses on optimizing investments, insurance policies, and home loans to make clients’ financial plans a reality. With Planswell’s free plans, financial services, and expert customer service, financial plans are no longer reserved for the 1%.
Without a plan, things can fall apart.
This is sound advice for most things in life but may be especially true when it comes to financial planning because our finances are so closely tied to so many other aspects of our lives.
Thankfully, companies like Planswell are making it possible for nearly anybody to have a realistic financial plan — for free. The Canadian company combines fintech with human expertise to help bring high-quality financial planning to the average person.
Eric Arnold, Co-Founder and CEO of Planswell, said he began his career as a high net-worth investment advisor on Bay Street in Toronto — Canada’s Wall Street equivalent. Arnold told us that, as he learned more about the industry, he was surprised at some of its tactics, or lack thereof.
When he was told to acquire about 300 clients, Arnold asked if that quota was for the day or week.
“They said, ‘No, no, in your life,’” the CEO recalls. “It shocked me.”
Next, Arnold asked how the firm he was working for attracted and held on to clients.
“They said, ‘Well, you know, you throw some spaghetti against the wall and you see what sticks,’” Arnold said. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, you’re telling me that in 150 years in this business you have not figured out a repeatable process to serve clients?’”
It wasn’t just these inefficiencies that concerned Arnold. The fact that meaningful financial planning was essentially limited to wealthy clients never sat right with him either. That’s when the ideas began forming about how to create a service like Planswell, which brings financial planning to the people.
Planswell Believes Everyone Should Have a High-Quality, Free Financial Plan
Arnold said he spent a couple of years as an unofficial anthropologist in the financial services industry, pondering questions like why firms only cater to high-net worth clients. He understood that it takes valuable time to pour over an individual’s finances and devise a workable financial plan.
“I was looking at it going, ‘Wow, these rich people are getting fantastic service here, and they really know what’s up, and their tax efficiency is on point. They’re really going to be set up for the rest of their lives,’” Arnold said. “Then you look at the other 99% of the population getting next to no advice.”
The idea was that if someone could speed up the whole process using automation and technology, companies could serve people faster and, therefore, widen their demographic.
These ideas coalesced into Planswell, which provides a financial plan to anyone within about three minutes. The company also helps customers make the best decisions regarding their home loans, insurance, and investments.
“Almost no one knows what to do on a monthly basis to maintain their lifestyle,” according to Planswell. “Most will experience a significant lifestyle decline when they put their kids through school, when they retire, or because of something unexpected. Your financial plan will give you clear recommendations to optimize your investments, mortgage and insurance. People will wonder how you got so smart.”
The company makes the financial planning process quick and simple.
“Answer some easy questions and we’ll do millions of calculations to build a plan for you,” according to the website. “You’ll see exactly what to do on a monthly basis to maintain your lifestyle now and in the future.”
Planswell can also help clients put the plan into action faster and cheaper than anywhere else, according to the company.
Focusing on Investing, Insurance, and Mortgages Helps Consumers Maintain Their Lifestyles
The company provides services to guide clients down the right path in each of these areas.
“Planswell projects your wealth with the expectation you’ll capture the returns of the market (…),” according to the company. “Over time, as your portfolio outperforms or underperforms expectations, or you become more or less aggressive in your investment strategy, your plan adapts and adjusts, so you are always on track to achieve your goals and enjoy life.”
Of course, even someone who is new to the world of financial planning will realize the importance of a solid investment plan and paying down debt. But the ways other areas, such as insurance and mortgages, can serve someone may not be as obvious.
“The role of insurance as part of a financial plan is to replace the income that would be lost if you or someone in your family were no longer able to work,” according to Planswell. “The goal is to make sure that, even if there is a negative health event, you and your family will not suffer a lower standard of living now or in retirement.”
Mortgages and home equity loans also play into Planswell’s financial plans.
“If you have credit cards, loans, lines of credit, or other debts and also have enough home equity, we may advise you to pay off your debts with a new home mortgage in order to free up cash flow for investing and insurance,” according to the company.
The exact advice Planswell will dole out depends on the client’s unique financial situation, but in staying true to its mission to deliver realistic financial plans to anybody, clients can rest assured it will be sound advice.
“Your plan will give you clear recommendations to optimize your mortgage, investing, and insurance,” according to the company. “You’ll know exactly what to do each month so you have enough money to enjoy every stage of your life.”
Combining Technology and Human Expertise
Arnold discussed how his and Planswell’s approach to technology has evolved since conceptualizing the company.
“I think we came into this idea thinking that we were going to revolutionize the entire financial services industry and eliminate humans from the process like a lot of tech companies do” Arnold said. “Then we started talking to people.”
That’s when Arnold realized that people want and need a human connection when it comes to their finances because it is such an emotional part of people’s lives.
“It’s pure logic,” he said. “No matter how much trust we could build in a brand with a client, a lot of times they just want to hear a human say, ‘This is okay. You should do this, I’ve done this. My other clients do this, my family does this, and you should too.’ We really recognize the value of that.”
So, Planswell’s mission shifted from replacing humans for a completely automated process to exploring how to augment human expertise to serve even more clients and a wider demographic.
“The answer is that we partner up with some really awesome people on the phones that are there, you can book a call with them, and it’s free, whenever you want,” Arnold said.
So, the average consumer can secure a financial plan from Planswell in minutes and feel secure that they can also reach out to speak with an expert if they have any questions or concerns, or are just seeking some guidance.
“Your plan is designed by financial experts and engineers, not salespeople,” according to Planswell. “Enjoy unlimited support from folks who will do just about anything to make your plan come true.”