Playbook Finance App Review: Advice For High Earners

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If you earn at least $100,000 annually, you might benefit from financial advice that optimizes your tax advantages and investments. Playbook could be the perfect service to help you create a solid financial strategy.

This software can create a personalized plan for your financial goals. It can also suggest ways to help you reach financial independence sooner. 

If you’re a high-income earner looking for hands-on financial planning, this Playbook review can help you decide if the service is right for you. 

3.9
Overall Rating

Summary

Playbook looks for ways to increase your net worth through saving and investing. However, you must earn at least $100,000 to benefit the most from this service.

  • Financial planning tools

    3.8

  • Investment options

    4

  • Fees

    4

  • Ease of use

    4

  • Customer support options

    3.8

Pros

  • Automated investing and savings
  • Customizable financial plans
  • 30-day free trial

Cons

  • No financial advisor access
  • Can’t add manual accounts
  • $19 monthly fee

What is Playbook?

Playbook homepage

Playbook is a financial planning tool for high earners who have an annual household income above $100,000. 

Unlike most finance apps that focus on monthly budgets to stop living paycheck to paycheck, this platform strives to utilize your disposable income more effectively to create a solid financial foundation.

For example, you might not be struggling to pay your monthly bills or other unexpected expenses. However, you could be wondering if you’re saving enough for retirement or taking advantage of tax breaks.

You should consider using this service if you have a firm grasp of budgeting basics and are ready to save more money. It can be less expensive than hiring an advisor to help with your finances.

However, you’ll want to keep in mind that you won’t receive hands-on help if you want to navigate a complicated situation or need specific advice, such as how to maximize your Roth IRA or using a backdoor IRA.

The service doesn’t provide any advisor planning sessions like other wealth management programs. All advice is entirely software-based.

That said, if you’re confident in managing your own finances and only need a little guidance, this service could be a good fit.

How Does Playbook Work?

There are several steps to creating an interactive financial plan with Playbook.

1. Connect Your Accounts

Playbook app get started

First, you start by linking your banking and investment accounts. This allows Playbook to calculate your liquid net worth and current financial health. 

These linked accounts can be used to automate your savings later on in the setup process.

Playbook uses Plaid to safely connect to your accounts without accessing your sensitive account details.

It’s important to note that you cannot add manual accounts for alternative investments like cryptocurrencies or precious metals. Luckily, the service is planning to expand its tracking capabilities in the future.

2. Find Missed Opportunities

Playbook find missing opportunities

The next step is stating how much of your income you currently save and invest. This tool drills down your investment contributions into taxable brokerage and tax-advantaged retirement accounts

From here, Playbook projects your financial freedom date based on your savings rate and average tax liability. Your projected date will update as you enter more information.

With Playbook, you can receive a good overview of your finances. However, hiring an advisor to help with your finances can provide a more thorough review.

3. Optimize Tax Advantages

Playbook optimize tax advantages

One disadvantage of earning a large income is having a sizable income tax bill. This platform looks for simple tax deductions that you can easily maximize to keep more money in your pocket. 

Some examples of tax-advantaged accounts that offer deductions include:

  • Contributing to a 401k
  • Opening an IRA (i.e., a Roth IRA)
  • Considering a backdoor Roth IRA

Contributing to a 401k and an IRA each year can help you receive the greatest tax advantages. Whether it’s a backdoor or traditional Roth IRA, you’ll be able to make the most of these tax-advantaged accounts.

While the service doesn’t count your dependents, it asks if you’re a single or joint filer so that it can apply the correct standard deduction amount. This lets you take advantage of other tax savings aside from just tax-advantaged accounts.

This financial platform also won’t recommend non-investing tax savings tips like charitable contributions or opening a health savings account (HSA)

At its core, Playbook is best for analyzing your banking and investing habits to increase your net worth.

4. Make a Financial Plan 

Make a financial plan

The personalized financial plan Playbook creates for you consists of three objectives.

These include:

  • Financial foundation: Have at least six months of emergency savings
  • Tax advantages: Pay as little as legally necessary in income taxes
  • Life goals: Plan for expensive goals

The software lets you prioritize your various goals. For example, you can decide if you want to prioritize saving for life goals, investing to earn passive income or contribute to retirement accounts or an emergency fund.

After creating your goals, you can schedule monthly transfers from a designated account. Playbook makes sure that the funds go into the dedicated bank or investment account.

5. Fine-Tune Your Investments

Playbook manage accounts

You can have Playbook manage your brokerage and IRA accounts with a passive investment strategy. The platform lets you choose a “lazy portfolio” of stock and bond index funds that tries to match the overall market.

These managed investment portfolios have various risk levels ranging from conservative to aggressive. The risk level you choose determines your stock-to-bond asset allocation.

It is optional to use this additional feature, and you can choose to continue investing using your current self-managed accounts.

How Much Does Playbook Cost?

Playbook how much does it cost

Playbook offers a free trial for the first 30 days and costs $19 per month after that. This fee is all-inclusive, meaning it even covers the advisory fee for the managed investment account.

One additional fee you will encounter for the investment accounts is the ETF expense ratios you pay with any investing app. According to Playbook, the average fund fee is 0.2%. This is extremely low and competitive with most index funds.

Paying $228 per year can be cheaper than other platforms offering similar tools. However, pricier alternatives typically offer more hands-on features, such as advisor access.

Is The Playbook App Worth It?

Yes, Playbook is worth using if you need a little help deciding how much to save and invest for short-term or long-term goals. 

Its flat monthly fee can also be cheaper than other robo-advisors if you’re investing at least $100,000 and don’t need advisor access.

Nevertheless, you should consider a different service if you need help making a household budget or want a tool that can simulate more financial situations to “stress test” your retirement strategy.

Key Features

These are the perks that set Playbook apart from other financial planning apps.

Monthly Transfers

Playbook financial transfers

Creating a financial plan is an excellent first step, but implementing your savings strategy can be frustrating to oversee by yourself without setting reminders. 

You can effortlessly achieve your savings or investing goals by scheduling a monthly transfer on the date of your choice. Playbook will then move the money into your cash, retirement accounts and investment accounts on your chosen date.

This transfer won’t disrupt your existing automated transfers since you’re contributing to different accounts. That said, you might modify these contributions to streamline your savings.

You can automatically transfer money into these types of accounts:

  • Emergency fund: A cash savings account for 1-2 months of living expenses
  • Reserve account: An investment account for 3-6 months of living expenses
  • Life goals: A savings or investment account for short or long-term events
  • Investment accounts: Brokerage account or IRAs for long-term investing

Additionally, the service has a balance protection feature that automatically reduces the transfer amount to prevent account overdrafts.

Having the ability to transfer money to tax-advantaged accounts like a Roth IRA can help improve your finances and grow your net worth.

Customizable Financial Plans

Playbook customized financial plans

Everybody has different circumstances, and financial advice isn’t one size fits all.

This service considers your unique income, expenses and life goals to recommend a savings and investment strategy. 

After making the initial recommendations, you can adjust the priority level and savings amounts. Playbook will then tweak the monthly transfer amount to correspond with your goals.

As you create goals, you can designate the total savings amount and deadline. Determining whether to prioritize using your extra income for short-term purposes or tax-advantaged investing can calculate different projections.

The different projections include:

  • How soon you’ll reach your savings goal
  • Annual tax advantages
  • Future net worth by investing instead of saving for a goal

These customization features help Playbook find ways to save and invest for specific goals. They also let you maximize your contributions to tax-advantaged accounts such as your Roth IRA.

Optimize Taxes to Increase Your Net Worth

Playbook optimize tax advantages

Playbook looks for ways to minimize your annual tax burden through tax-advantaged accounts. These include retirement accounts like a Roth IRA that let you take advantage of tax savings.

The first priority is your 401k since it has high annual contribution limits and can be eligible for employer matches. After all, it’s hard to compete with free money.

Next, the service may recommend a Roth IRA or backdoor IRA as you avoid paying taxes on your distributions.

Not having to pay taxes on your investment gains is one of the easiest tax benefits to qualify for because you don’t have to itemize. Tax-advantaged accounts help reduce your tax burden

After adjusting your contributions to your tax-advantaged accounts, Playbook updates your estimated financial freedom date. 

This estimate has several assumptions, including:

  • Earning investment returns similar to the historical average
  • Not earning supplemental income (i.e., real estate investing)
  • Your effective tax rate is similar to the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas
  • Not claiming dependents on your tax return

You’re unable to customize these assumptions like other net worth trackers allow. However, you can get a firm grasp of when your liquid assets can cash flow your monthly expenses.

Ultimately, if you want to take advantage of different tax savings opportunities, Playbook can help.

Track and Update Financial Goals

Playbook track financial goals

You can track your savings progress in real-time. This is because Playbook updates your tracker after each monthly transfer.

The platform also lets you add or adjust goals if you decide to shift your savings to different priorities. 

This flexibility is helpful if you don’t add life goals during the initial planning session. 

In addition, life can change anytime, and this program can adapt quickly to your new goals.

Investment Accounts

In addition to financial planning, Playbook doubles as a robo-advisor with its “lazy portfolios.” There are no additional advisory fees. 

These investment accounts help you earn long-term wealth instead of just keeping the cash in the bank.

The service lets you open a taxable brokerage account and a Roth IRA separate from your existing accounts. Unfortunately, it won’t manage your 401k and doesn’t allow you to trade individual stocks.

The lazy portfolio investment options hold low-fee stock and bond index funds, usually from Vanguard. You can choose a plan that corresponds with your risk tolerance and planned withdrawal date.

These model portfolios may follow the investment philosophies like:

  • Warren Buffett’s 90/10 Rule (90% stocks and 10% low-risk bonds)
  • Bill Bernstein’s No-Brainer (75% stocks and 25% bonds)
  • Rick Ferri Core Four (60% stocks and 40% bonds)

Playbook won’t modify your existing investment accounts when you’re creating a new account through Apex Clearing.

You may consider having both and using your external accounts to invest in individual stocks or ETFs if you intend to beat the stock market

This asset allocation can be similar to what other automated investment services suggest. You can use them as your primary investment vehicle since the portfolio is automatically diversified and has minimal fees. 

Playbook Reviews

Playbook is a relatively new company and only has customer reviews on one trustworthy platform. The service has a Trustpilot score of 3.7 out of 5 with seven reviews.

Here’s what customers had to say about the platform:

Great educational app for young investors. The app is constantly being updated with new features to help educate novice investors and eventually aid educated personal investors.” — Mitchell G.

“Average Googlable Financial Advice. UI is not too bad, but the features are very limited and the roadmap/next steps are not too intuitive.” – Naseem Raad

“Seems like this business really cares. Sure their information can be found online but for the average person you wouldn’t know where to look.” — David

“I’ve never been able to get my account information to sync properly and they are now unresponsive to my requests for assistance or cancellation. It’s like they stopped caring as soon as they got my billing information.” – elise nolan

Alternatives to Playbook 

These platforms can provide automated investment portfolios and similar financial planning tools at a lower cost. However, it’s important to note that these services are also built for households earning less than $100,000 per year.

Acorns

Acorns is a robo-advisor with premade stock and bond index ETFs, similar to Playbook’s lazy portfolios. However, the monthly fee is only $3 for individual accounts and $5 for family accounts.

Taxable and retirement accounts are available, and the investment minimum is $5. You can also get an online checking account, a metal debit card and custodial investment accounts.

The service even provides basic financial advice and savings goals. You can round up purchases, automate savings and earn bonus cash at online stores to invest small amounts of money.

Betterment

Consider Betterment if you want automated investing and on-demand financial advice. The standard investment portfolios don’t have a minimum investment and hold stock as well as bond index funds. 

You can also enroll in tax-loss harvesting and tax-coordinated investing to reduce your tax burden.

The annual advisory fee is 0.25% for the entry-level Digital Plan. This membership tier lets you invest, but you must purchase one-time financial planning packages.

If you can invest $100,000 through Betterment, you’re eligible for the Premium plan. This offers on-demand access to financial advisors. However, it has a 0.40% annual advisory fee. 

Personal Capital

Personal Capital has a free net worth tracker. Additionally, its free budgeting tools allow you to create savings goals and plan for retirement.

This service can even analyze your investment asset allocation and fees free of charge.

That said, you must have at least $100,000 to invest through their automated investing service. Their wealth management service also provides financial advisor access.

Annual advisory fees start at 0.89% for portfolios smaller than $1 million. 

FAQ

These questions can help you learn more about using Playbook to improve your finances.

Is Playbook safe?

From a security standpoint, yes. If you choose to invest through Playbook, your investments are eligible for up to $500,000 in SIPC insurance. This benefit also includes up to $250,000 in cash balances.

Plus, Playbook uses bank-level security to protect your personal data. However, keep in mind that investing is inherently risky. This means that there is a chance you could lose money.

What customer service options does Playbook offer?

Playbook’s customer support options are limited. However, you can receive email support with average response times of one to two hours.

Is Playbook licensed?

Yes. Playbook is licensed as an investment advisor with the SEC. That said, you should still perform your due diligence when researching investments and customizing your financial plan.

How can I close my account?

You can email the support team at hello@helloplaybook.com to submit your account closure request. This is the same email address you can send messages to for other technical issues.

Does Playbook have an app?

No. You can only access Playbook through a web browser, but a mobile app is under development. 

Fortunately, the platform is mobile-friendly if you use a tablet or phone browser. This negates the need for a mobile app.

Summary

Playbook can be an excellent option if you want an easy-to-use platform that will help you create a basic plan for saving and investing your disposable income. It can also help lower your taxable investment gains through tax-advantaged strategies.

However, the service has many opportunities for improvement since other platforms offer more in-depth features at a competitive price.

Nevertheless, if you are a high-income earner, Playbook is worth checking out.

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