Playbook Financial Planning Application Review

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Fees

$79 per month or $39 per month if you pay for an annual subscription

Playbook Playbook


Fees

$79 per month or $39 per month if you pay for an annual subscription


Fees

$79 per month or $39 per month if you pay for an annual subscription

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Pros and Cons

Playbook features

Why it stands out: Playbook makes it easy to find a strategy to meet your life goals, whether that’s saving to buy a home, investing for retirement, or getting out of debt. The interface walks you through the process to get set up and start investing, step by step, and it’s easy to connect your accounts.

The software is designed to benefit people making at least $100,000 a year, and the pricing reflects that. Yet the interface is uncluttered and doesn’t require you to make many decisions to get started. Many of us lose out on tax benefits that could benefit our returns in the long term because we don’t use them before they expire, and Playbook ensures that you make the most of those benefits before they expire.

Pricing: $79 per month (billed monthly) or $39 per month if you pay for an annual subscription ($468/year).

Look out for: Playbook is not designed for sophisticated investors. The simplified interface is probably a plus for some but may not be a good match for the higher-wealth investors it targets. The lack of online documentation and FAQs doesn’t build trust, and it doesn’t (yet) have a mobile app. Playbook launched in July 2021, and it feels like a platform that’s not fully developed yet. Perhaps future iterations will be more robust.

Playbook offers a free, 7-day trial, which isn’t much time to try out the account before you decide if you want to continue. The lack of information on its website means that creating an account is the only way to figure out whether it has the features you need. 

And, because of the pricing structure, a test run of this software beyond the free trial period is pricey. If you’re new to automated investment management, other platforms will let you try them out at a lower cost.

How Playbook compares

Side-by-side snapshot

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Higher-income earners who want to take advantage of investments to reduce taxes.

Investors with at least $100,000 to dedicate to stocks, ETFs, private equity, or bonds.

Hands-off investors who want to take advantage of professionally built and personalized portfolios.

Hands-off investors who don’t want to trade on their own.

Playbook isn’t as full-featured as either Betterment or Personal Capital. Betterment is a better choice if you’re new to investing or don’t have much to invest, and Personal Capital may be a preferred option for high-wealth investors who want a more personal touch. And, unlike the others, Playbook doesn’t have a mobile app (though its website says one is coming).

However, Playbook may serve those in the middle well. Unlike the other two, it offers automated investment management with a fixed fee rather than assets under management (AUM) fees that take a small bite out of your investment capital and eat into your long-term gains. And, if the amount you pay in taxes is a pain point, all three platforms offer tax-deferred investments, but Playbook has the strongest focus on lowering your tax bill.

When it comes to fees, Wealthfront charges an annual advisory fee of 0.25%, which could be a better deal than Playbook’s fee model if you have a smaller amount of money to manage.

Playbook vs. Personal Capital

Personal Capital offers free tools that anyone can use, but if you want access to its advisory services, you’ll pay a 0.49% to 0.89% management fee. Since it requires a $100,000 minimum investment, its management costs are higher than Playbook’s.

Unlike Playbook, you’ll work with live financial advisors at Personal Capital, so it is the better choice if you prefer to get your financial advice from a human. However, if automated investment management works for you, you’ll pay less with Playbook.

Playbook vs. Betterment

Betterment charges a $4 monthly fee and switches to a 0.25% annual fee once your recurring deposits total $250, or your balance is $20,000 or greater. That’s still significantly less expensive than Playbook’s fees as long as your investments total less than $187,000. The app doesn’t offer a free trial, but at $4/month, your first 30 days won’t cost much.

You can also trade crypto for a 1% trading expense, and the app offers a free savings account with a 3.20% APY and free checking. Playbook doesn’t provide these extra services.

Like Playbook, algorithms determine Betterment’s investment strategies.

Betterment is a more affordable choice for beginning investors or those with less money to save. If you want to put a significant amount under management, Playbook may be the less expensive option.

Playbook vs. Wealthfront

Wealthfront charges an annual advisory fee of 0.25%. If you don’t have a lot of investments, this can be a better deal than Playbook’s fixed fee model. For instance, if you invest $20,000 with Wealthfront, your annual fee would be $50 rather than Playbook’s $468. However, if you have substantial investments, the price cuts the other way: Wealthfront’s fees exceed Playbooks if you manage more than $187,000.

Is Playbook trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau gives Playbook a D+ plus rating, although the company is not accredited by the BBB. That means it has not made a commitment to respond to BBB complaints. The BBB point out that many good businesses are accredited, but many other good businesses are not accredited.

The BBB cites Playbook’s failure to respond to one complaint and the relatively short time the company has been in business as reasons for the D+ rating. The financial-planning platform was founded by David Hegarty and launched in 2021. It was incubated as part of venture-capital firm Atomic. It has been primarily using TikTok and Instagram for marketing.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Playbook is legitimate. Its founder, David Hegarty, is a serial entrepreneur with a solid track record at reputable financial services companies such as Credit Karma. The platform has bank-level security with 256-bit encryption on its website, and it uses Plaid to view your account information securely. Playbook and Plaid don’t store personal data. 

If you have more than $187,000 to invest and you’d like automated investment management, Playbook is worth it. At that level of investment, Playbook’s flat fee (if you choose the annual plan) is cheaper than investment apps with an AUM of 0.25% or higher. And, if taxes are a pain point for you, consider Playbook for its focus on tax reduction strategies.

  • $79 per month, when you pay monthly
  • $39 per month on an annual basis (you’ll pay $468 up front)