Bank of America has jumped aboard the digital planning bandwagon with the launch of Life Plan, a free client tool now available on the firm’s mobile app and online banking platform.
The news comes seven weeks after Charles Schwab launched the free digital financial planning tool Schwab Plan, to help investors move toward their retirement goals, and an online financial planning hub with goals-based calculators, related tools and educational resources.
“There are some similarities between Life Plan and Merrill Lynch Clear from a few years ago, but Life Plan would be considered our first consumer planning tool,” a Bank of America spokesperson said Wednesday.
“Life Plan is intended for our clients who need or want assistance setting and tracking towards goals, both long and short term,” the spokesperson explained. “Currently, it is not available to our clients who have an advised relationship, or through our advisors.”
But that could change. ”We’re in the early stages now and we’ll assess that as we go,” the spokesperson said, adding the tool would “work hand in hand with the relationship you have with your advisor — it would never be intended to replace that.”
Bank of America’s Consumer and Wealth Management operations include about 20,000 advisors across its Merrill, Private Bank and Merrill Edge businesses.
Life Plan, rolled out after an eight-month pilot program, aims to help BofA clients “set, track and reach their goals,” the spokesperson said. “Along the way, our clients can choose to use Life Plan on their own, or they can talk to one of our specialists, who may refer them to” a financial solutions advisor or financial advisor “depending on their assets or overall financial picture.”
The top five goals set by 80,000 clients who took part in the pilot program were to: budget and start saving, 32%; save for retirement, 31%; buy a home, 30%; save for a large purchase, 30%; and improve credit, 28%.
Life Plan allows clients to:
- Select and prioritize their most important goals at every life stage and across multiple areas, including finances, family, health, home, work, leisure and giving.
- Create and continuously adjust financial goals in real time within the app, as life happens and priorities change.
- Track progress against their goals, with personalized guidance and recommendations on incremental steps toward achieving them along the way.
- Leverage the company’s network of financial professionals by scheduling in-person or virtual one-on-one appointments for collaborative discussions about their goals and strategies to help achieve them, it said.
The tool integrates with Bank of America’s solutions including Erica, its artificial-intelligence driven virtual financial assistant, and Preferred Rewards, the company’s loyalty program, it said.
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