Bank of America Launches Digital Financial Planning Tool Life Plan

Bank of America Launches Digital Financial Planning Tool Life Plan

BofA adds Life Plan for financial goal setting seven weeks after Charles Schwab launched its free digital financial planning tool. If you’re waiting for an entry point, just pull the trigger, already. The cannabis sector may have gone through a tough time over the course of the past months, but Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE:IIPR) has remained one of the bright spots. IIP is not a cannabis […]

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.

    — Related on ThinkAdvisor:

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    Author: By
    Jeff Berman

    October 07, 2020 at 04:03 PM

    Stop Betting Against This Market. More Upside To Come For The Barstool Crowd

    Stop Betting Against This Market. More Upside To Come For The Barstool Crowd


    If you’re waiting for an entry point, just pull the trigger, already. This market has more upside. The Fed’s got your back, at least for the rest of this year.

    Equity markets started the week in risk-off mood, but Wednesday had the S&P 500 up 1.74% and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index up 1.10%. MSCI China was right in linen, maybe up one bip more. Delayed fiscal stimulus and an ongoing public health crisis is not scaring Wall Street. When Mr. Market hides in the closet, he doesn’t last in there for long.

    “Continued extraordinary global monetary support will enable markets to move higher over the medium term,” says UBS CIO Mark Haefele.

    With that in mind, global-minded investors and the Barstool crowd should take three actions:

    Buy the dips, says UBS. Personally, I have been trying to buy the ARK Innovation ETF. When it fell … [+] in late September was the time. Year-to-date, this thing is a runaway train.

    Investors large and small are going to have to take advantage of volatility, and buy on the down days. Put cash to work “right away” is nearly always the best strategy.

    “Given the uncertainty of the outlook, some investors may prefer to build up longer positions using near-term volatility,” says Haefele, recommending investors buy the dips.

    The Russell 2000 Index, which focuses mainly on mid-cap stocks, is underperforming the MSCI EM, mainly because that American index is loaded with companies facing economic restrictions, while the MSCI EM is loaded with China and large cap stocks that have been a favorite of investors since the pandemic was declared in March.

    Emerging market value stocks, as well as companies exposed to 5G and artificial intelligence are UBS favorites, based on a report dated September 29.

    Investors might also want to check out solar stucks, though UBS did not mention this. This is a “heard on the Street” tip and while some of the solar ETFs have been out of control in the last few weeks, local names like First Solar and some of the big China producers will benefit post-election.

    If Joe Biden wins, his Green New Deal plan will promote solar. If that means more solar imports from China, companies like Jinko Solar will do well. The stock rose 17% today. The China home traders drove this stuck up over 140% year-to-date.

    China’s Jinko Solar vs First Solar of the U.S.

    Governments around the world are expected to use fiscal stimulus to help their economies recover from the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, if the market looks too pricey, it’s time to protect against the downside, says Haefele.

    “Given the low (interest) rate environment, the opportunity cost of holding gold is very low,” Haefele says.

    Markets were still positive after the closing bell on Wednesday.


    Author: Kenneth Rapoza

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    Bank of America Launches Digital Financial Planning Tool Life Plan

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