Jeremy Biberdorf
By: Jeremy Biberdorf
Dec 14, 2023

Playbook Review 2024

Jeremy Biberdorf
By: Jeremy Biberdorf
Dec 14, 2023


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase a product through our links.
Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase a product through our links.
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5.0 rating based on 5 ratings

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In a Nutshell: Playbook stands out as a sophisticated financial planning app, tailored for those seeking to maximize tax benefits and expedite their journey towards financial freedom. It scrutinizes your financial status, pinpointing untapped tax-saving avenues.

The app’s hallmark is its bank-level security, assuring the safekeeping of your financial data. With its motto, “Outsmarting the market is challenging, but outsmarting the tax man is feasible,” Playbook underscores the oft-neglected value of strategic tax planning.

At a reasonable $19/month, this service is a valuable asset, particularly for high-income earners seeking to optimize their financial strategies. Continue reading for my full review of Playbook.

Service TypeFees
Wealth Management Service$19/month
Pros & Cons
  • Maximizes the use of tax-advantaged accounts.
  • Provides comprehensive financial plans.
  • Employs bank-level security measures.
  • Identifies missed financial opportunities.
  • Offers a sophisticated tax-optimized investing system.
  • Easy to follow account creation procedure
  • Users can cancel at any time.
  • Affordable pricing for the target demographic of high income earners.
  • Visualization tools help users better understand their financial picture.
  • No advisory services included.
  • It’s a newer company with a short track record.
  • Self-employed retirement plans are not currently supported.

What is Playbook? website

Playbook is a revolutionary financial planning app based in San Francisco that helps users optimize their tax advantages and fast-track their journey to financial freedom. It does this by assessing your financial accounts (including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and current accounts) and identifies any missed opportunities for tax advantages.

The platform also accommodates self-employment income and income limits, tailoring its services to suit a variety of financial situations. Their approach to maximizing the use of tax-advantaged accounts makes it stand out among financial planning platforms.

It is worth noting that investing involves risk, and this Playbook review should not replace the advice of financial advisors. Always consult with a financial professional for any financial decisions.

External Playbook Reviews & Ratings

Trustpilotplaybook trustpilot review
The College Investor4.1

Firsthand User Experience with Playbook

After reading through all of the Playbook reviews, here are some of the most telling reviews, from traders who have experienced the platform firsthand:

“Playbook has been a great service for me. I’ve used it for over a year now, and it has helped me automate my savings, investments, and retirements with ease. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s looking to automate their saving in a tax advantaged manner.”
“Amazing product, even better team, and an organization that is dedicated to continually providing better experiences. I have used Playbook for over 2 years and I have seen the feature sets expand while the support team continues to work even hard to resolve niche financial challenges that I have. You won’t find a better experience from any of their competitors. I know, because I have tried most of them.”
“Playbook allows you, regardless of level of knowledge when it comes to investing, to just “set it and forget it”. Full visibility into what type of investment strategy is in play and support team available to address any questions or concerns.
I had reached out with inquiry about where the funds were going and support team was patient with me to answer my questions exhaustively.”
“It does its job and makes planning for big life events much easier. It’s not perfect – far from it – but it serves its specific purposes very well and I look forward to seeing how it grows and evolves.”

Playbook Customer Review Analysis

The main themes I found in the positive Playbook reviews was how helpful the customer service team was and how easy the app was to use. One user described the ease of use as “set it and forget it”.

As far as trends in the negative Playbook reviews, I was unable to find any. I did notice that the Playbook customer service team responded to all online complaints with tact and professionalism.

My advice would be to skip out on the Playbook Reddit reviews. I searched Playbook Reddit threads but was unable to find much useful information.

Playbook Review Video

How Does Playbook Work?

Let me explain how Playbook Operates:

  • Tax Strategy Development: Upon examining your finances, Playbook identifies any tax-advantaged accounts you’re eligible for. This insight is pivotal for your overall financial strategy.
  • Personalized Financial Blueprint: Utilizing your finances, objectives, and the detected tax advantages, Playbook maps out a comprehensive financial plan. The goal? Maximize contributions to your tax-advantaged accounts.
  • Connect and Sync Accounts: Securely link your banking and investment details via Plaid. This ensures that Playbook has all the necessary data to operate optimally.
  • Financial Details Entry: Input key figures such as annual income, monthly expenses, tax details, and 401k contributions. This establishes the foundation of your custom strategy.
  • Goal Prioritization: Set both short-term and long-term financial goals. Whether it’s ensuring an ample emergency fund or saving for a significant life event, Playbook aids in establishing and achieving these milestones.
  • Passive Investment Building: Playbook proposes a passive investing portfolio mainly centered on Vanguard’s index ETFs, curated based on your risk tolerance. Note: Individual stocks aren’t supported within Playbook’s portfolio.
  • Tax-Optimized Investing System: Playbook’s proprietary system is geared towards curbing tax liability while bolstering the growth prospects of your portfolios.
  • Automated Monthly Transfers: With the strategic plan ready, Playbook takes charge of monthly transfers to your chosen savings and investment accounts. The dashboard gets updated post every transfer, offering a real-time glimpse into your progress. If life throws a curveball, tweak your plan as required.
  • Steering Towards Financial Freedom: By smartly automating the savings process and adjusting for changes, allow Playbook to bring you closer to your financial aspirations faster.

One of the platform’s outstanding features is its bank-level security. Playbook uses 256-bit SSL encryption, the same security level banks use, to ensure your data is protected.

Creating Your Financial Plan with Playbook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Sync Your Financial Accounts

Begin by syncing your banking and investment accounts to Playbook using Plaid, a widely-used third-party service that securely aggregates your financial data.

Step 2: Input Your Financial Details

Enter the necessary information to outline your financial landscape:

  • Record your annual household income, including earnings from all family members and supplementary sources.
  • List your total monthly expenses.
  • Provide an estimate of your annual taxes.
  • Detail contributions to your 401k, including any employer match.
  • Specify your tax filing status.

This information will serve as the cornerstone of your tailor-made financial blueprint.

Step 3: Establish Financial Goals

Evaluate your current financial standing and set priorities for the future. Playbook first ensures you have adequate emergency funds, recommending two months’ worth of expenses in savings and four months in a brokerage account for growth.

Then, define long-term objectives, such as saving for significant life events or paying off debts. Playbook aids in balancing immediate tax savings against longer-term financial aspirations, allowing you to visualize potential tax reductions and timeline projections for reaching your goals.

Step 4: Opt for Passive Income Investing

If interested, leverage Playbook to curate a passive investment portfolio of stock and bond index ETFs, predominantly featuring Vanguard funds. This step aligns with robo-advisor strategies and bases your asset allocation on your risk appetite. Note that Playbook portfolios do not accommodate individual stocks.

Step 5: Schedule Monthly Transfers

Activate your financial strategy by setting up automatic monthly transfers to your designated savings and investment accounts. Choose the transfer sums and dates, and Playbook will update your dashboard to reflect your savings progress after each transaction.

Remember, your plan isn’t set in stone. You’re free to modify it if your life situation or financial goals evolve.

Playbook Features

helloplaybook 3 mobile slides

  • Flat-rate pricing: Playbook charges a monthly fee of $19. Unlike other platforms, it doesn’t take a percentage of your assets.
  • Free trial and easy cancellation: Playbook offers a free trial. If you’re not satisfied, you can cancel your account anytime without any fees.
  • Multiple financial goals: You can set and adjust various financial goals, from vacations to retirement planning.
  • Tax optimization: By inputting your tax status, Playbook identifies ways to reduce your annual tax bill. It recommends maximizing tax-advantaged accounts such as 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA. However, it doesn’t account for dependents or specific tax deductions.
  • Net worth calculator: You can link your accounts to calculate your net worth. Projections are based on standard assumptions, and it doesn’t simulate various financial scenarios.
  • Personalized financial plan: Create a financial plan quickly with Playbook. It focuses on your immediate financial needs and offers planning suggestions in three areas: financial foundation, tax advantages, and life goals.
  • Investment portfolios: Playbook suggests investment accounts based on your risk tolerance. Portfolio rebalancing is done automatically, and you can set up multiple accounts for different purposes.
  • Balance protection: Playbook prevents over-drafting from your linked checking account. It can adjust transfers based on your account balance.

How Much Does Playbook Cost?

Playbook adopts a straightforward and accessible pricing model, charging $19 monthly. This flat fee encompasses all of Playbook’s extensive features, making it an appealing choice for individuals seeking comprehensive financial planning without the complexity of variable fees.

The lack of hidden charges or tiered pricing structures further enhances its appeal, offering a transparent and predictable cost for users. The option to cancel the subscription anytime adds to the flexibility and user-friendliness of the service, making it a risk-free choice for those exploring financial planning tools.

Is Playbook Hard to Use?

When it comes to usability, Playbook aims to simplify the complex world of financial planning and tax optimization. Their service is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, providing a straightforward and accessible experience even to those new to financial planning.

To get started, you just need to provide information about your financial situation, including your accounts and income sources. The platform’s smart algorithm takes over from there, calculating your optimal tax strategy, constructing a holistic financial plan, and activating a tax-optimized investing system.

Each step of the process is clearly explained, and Playbook provides comprehensive guides and tutorials to assist users. In case you have any questions or run into issues, their customer support team is readily available to help via email or live chat.

Moreover, much of what Playbook offers is automated. From tax loss harvesting to smart withdrawals and portfolio rebalancing, these features are designed to run seamlessly in the background, requiring little to no effort on your part. You just set your financial goals and let the system handle the rest.

One of the major strengths of Playbook is that it’s not just for financial experts or those with a background in tax law. It’s intended for everyday individuals who want to optimize their wealth. So whether you’re a hands-off investor, a high-income earner, or a self-employed individual, Playbook’s user-friendly platform can help you navigate the tax landscape with ease.

Who is Playbook Best For?

I believe Playbook is ideal for:

  • Tax-Savvy Investors: Those aiming to maximize their tax advantages would benefit from Playbook’s services. The platform excels in finding and utilizing tax-advantaged accounts to optimize returns over time.
  • Hands-Off Investors: With its comprehensive financial planning and automation, Playbook is perfect for those who want to “set and forget” their financial plans.
  • Self-Employed Individuals: The platform’s ability to incorporate self-employment income and adapt to complex situations makes it an excellent choice for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
  • High Income Earners: Playbook was built for individuals making over $100k per year.

Who Should Not Use Playbook?

While Playbook is a beneficial tool for many, it might not align with everyone’s needs. For instance:

  • Beginners Seeking Direct Financial Advice: Individuals new to financial planning who require personalized guidance might find the lack of direct advisory services limiting.
  • Investors with a Focus on Self-Employed Retirement Plans: Those specifically looking for support with self-employed retirement plans may need to look elsewhere, as Playbook currently does not support these.
  • Users Preferring a More Traditional, Advisor-Driven Approach: Some might prefer a more conventional wealth management service with direct human interaction and customized advice.

A Word From The Founder

Playbook’s founder, David Hegarty, is a firm believer in financial freedom. With a vision to alleviate the stresses of everyday life that revolve around money, he created Playbook to serve as a friendly guide to financial liberation. According to Hegarty, “wealth is freedom,” and the ultimate goal of Playbook is to provide you with this freedom.

Playbook’s main philosophy is simple but powerful: paying less in taxes legally and automating your money to flow into the right places. The company understands the complexities of financial management and strives to simplify the process for its users. “Money stuff can feel hard, but we’re here to help you along the way,” says Hegarty.

The Team Behind Playbook

helloplaybook team

Hegarty’s team is composed of seasoned entrepreneurs and financial enthusiasts. Collectively, they’ve built over ten companies valued at over $15 billion. This powerhouse team brings a wealth of experience to the table and shares a common passion for finance and wealth-building. Their vision is to make wealth-building accessible to everyone, no matter their financial situation.

Playbook is pioneering a new approach to financial technology by creating modern tax tools, simple goal-tracking, and smart automation. They’ve put together a talented and experienced team of engineers to realize this vision.

Is My Data Secure with Playbook?

Playbook values security and anti-fraud measures above all else. They use cutting-edge technology to protect your data and give you peace of mind. “We wouldn’t trust everyone with our financial information, and we don’t expect you to either,” asserts Hegarty.

Playbook is backed by Atomic, a renowned venture builder in San Francisco. This backing provides Playbook with a strong support system and helps ensure the stability and reliability of their platform. With this level of commitment, you can trust Playbook to handle your financial information and help you pave the path to financial freedom.

Playbook Customer Service

Playbook provides various customer service options, although these may incur additional costs. They offer comprehensive guides and tutorials for users and have a dedicated support team ready to answer queries via email or live chat.

Users can Email Playbook for technical support and help with using the platform. They typically respond within 1-2 hours on weekdays. Customer service can be reached by phone at 415-805-2040. While the support team is qualified, they don’t give personalized advice.

Is Playbook Worth It?

Evaluating the worth of a service is often a subjective matter, as it heavily depends on an individual’s specific circumstances and needs. However, considering the robust features that Playbook offers, it is apparent that the platform brings immense value to those seeking to optimize their wealth.

Here’s why I believe so:

Smart Location

Playbook uses a unique algorithm that acts as the “Marie Kondo” of tax planning. It continually assesses your portfolio, ensuring every dollar is optimally placed for tax benefits. By automatically keeping high cash flow investments like dividend stocks and REITs in tax-friendly accounts, Playbook ensures you’re getting the most out of your money while requiring no effort from your end.

Tax Loss Harvesting

One of the smart strategies Playbook employs is tax loss harvesting. This approach allows you to use investment losses to offset your taxable income. Instead of despairing over an investment loss, you can see it as a chance to reduce your tax bill.

With Playbook, this process is automatic – it will harvest the losses and rebalance your portfolio, giving you a discount on your tax bill without any active involvement on your part.

Smart Withdrawals

Withdrawing cash from your accounts is another area where taxes can significantly impact your net returns. Playbook’s smart withdrawal feature ensures that you don’t overpay when accessing your cash.

You just need to specify the amount you need, and Playbook takes care of the rest. It will make tax-effective withdrawals from multiple accounts, rebalance your portfolio, and ensure the overall impact on your tax liabilities is minimized.

Playbook’s well-thought-out features aim to alleviate the financial burden on users and help them thrive financially. By combining automation, machine learning algorithms, and financial planning, Playbook provides a hands-off approach to optimizing your tax advantages.

With a fee of $19 per month, and considering the potential long-term savings you could gain from reduced tax liabilities, the service certainly appears to be worth it.

Of course, personal financial circumstances may vary, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a financial advisor to ensure any wealth management platform aligns with your specific needs and goals.

Nonetheless, Playbook presents a compelling value proposition for those looking to streamline their financial planning and tax optimization efforts.

Can Playbook help with my 401k and IRAs?

Yes, Playbook can indeed help with your 401k and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). One of the key features of the Playbook platform is its ability to assess and include all types of financial accounts in its financial planning, including retirement accounts.

Playbook can identify opportunities for tax advantages based on the information you provide, including details about your 401k and IRAs. By reviewing these accounts, the platform can help maximize your contributions to these tax-advantaged accounts, thereby optimizing your overall tax strategy.

Additionally, Playbook’s Smart Withdrawal feature can be particularly beneficial for those who have begun taking distributions from their retirement accounts. This feature ensures that withdrawals are made in the most tax-effective way, potentially saving you a substantial amount in taxes over the long term.

What is the value of tax-optimized planning?

Tax-optimized planning plays a crucial role in financial management and wealth accumulation. Here are several benefits I feel should be mentioned:

  • Enhanced Investment Returns: Taxes can significantly eat into your investment returns. Tax-optimized planning helps reduce the tax burden on your investments, allowing you to keep more of your returns and thus enhancing the overall growth of your portfolio.
  • Efficient Asset Location: Certain types of investments are more tax-efficient than others. Tax-optimized planning involves placing investments strategically in different types of accounts based on their tax efficiency. This practice, known as asset location, can lead to significant tax savings.
  • Utilization of Tax-Advantaged Accounts: Tax-optimized planning can help you make the most of tax-advantaged accounts, like 401ks, IRAs, HSAs, and 529 plans. Maximizing contributions to these accounts can provide substantial tax benefits, either now or in the future.
  • Tax Loss Harvesting: This strategy involves selling investments that have experienced a loss to offset taxable gains. Implementing tax loss harvesting can help reduce your tax liability, especially in years where you have substantial capital gains.
  • Minimization of Tax on Withdrawals: In retirement, or when you need to draw on your investments for other reasons, tax-optimized planning can guide the sequence of your withdrawals to minimize the tax impact.
  • Estate Planning: Tax-optimized planning can also be beneficial for estate planning. With the correct strategy, you can minimize the tax burden on your heirs and maximize the wealth that you pass on.

Playbook’s Approach to Financial Freedom

Playbook’s unique strategy focuses on leveraging tax advantages to fast-track users towards financial independence. By offering a personalized financial blueprint, it aids users in understanding and maximizing their tax-advantaged accounts.

This strategic approach not only aims to reduce current tax liabilities but also to enhance long-term financial growth, making it an indispensable tool for those looking to secure their financial future.

User Experience and Platform Accessibility

Playbook prides itself on providing a user-friendly experience, catering to both seasoned investors and those new to financial planning. The intuitive interface, coupled with detailed guides and responsive customer support, ensures a seamless user journey.

The availability of a mobile app enhances accessibility, allowing users to manage their finances on the go. This focus on user experience and ease of access underlines Playbook’s commitment to making sophisticated financial planning accessible to a wider audience.

Reviewing Playbook’s Competitors

When considering alternatives to Playbook, several notable competitors stand out in the financial planning app space:

Betterment Logo

  • Betterment: Ideal for beginners or those with a limited budget, Betterment offers a more traditional robo-advisor experience with added features like crypto trading and a savings account.

  • Wealthfront: Known for its 0.25% annual advisory fee, Wealthfront becomes a cost-effective choice for investments around $20,000 compared to Playbook’s annual fee structure.

Empower Logo

  • Empower: Catering to high-wealth investors, Empower requires a $100,000 minimum investment and charges between 0.49% to 0.89% in management fees, offering personal advice and a broader range of services.

Playbook Review Final Thoughts

Hopefully after reading my Playbook reviews, you realize they provide an innovative approach to building wealth, prioritizing tax advantages to accelerate your path to financial freedom. Its simple pricing model caters to a range of investors, including high income earners and self-employed individuals.

I believe that despite the absence of advisory services, Playbook’s robust financial planning and automation tools, complemented by top-notch security measures, compensate for this gap. The platform promises to uncover missed opportunities and implement tax-optimized strategies, potentially saving users significant tax payments.

Backed by a seasoned team of entrepreneurs and financial enthusiasts, Playbook is much more than just a wealth management service; it’s an empowering tool for achieving financial freedom. Through modern tax tools and smart automation, it’s making strides in financial technology. Click here to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Playbook is a financial planning app based in San Francisco that helps users optimize their tax advantages and fast-track their journey to financial freedom. It reviews your financial situation and identifies any missed opportunities for tax advantages.

Playbook works by calculating your optimal tax strategy, creating a financial plan, activating a tax-optimized investing system, and helping you reach financial freedom sooner through its automation features.

Playbook charges a flat fee of $19 per month, with no advisory fees or assets under management fees. Users are free to cancel their subscription at any time.

Yes, Playbook can assess all types of financial accounts, including 401ks and IRAs, to identify tax advantages and construct a holistic financial plan.

Playbook values security and uses 256-bit SSL encryption, the same security level banks use, to ensure your data is protected.

Playbook is ideal for tax-savvy investors (or those who want to become one), hands-off investors, self-employed individuals, and high-income earners who are looking to maximize their tax advantages and automate their financial plans.

The Playbook financial app doesn’t provide advice from certified financial experts. Instead, it’s a self-guided platform focusing on specific areas, including emergency funds, Roth IRAs, and identifying tax savings in your linked accounts.

Playbook secured $5.6 million in initial funding from Atomic, the venture capital studio that also co-founded the company.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) assigns Playbook a D+ rating. Playbook isn’t accredited by the BBB, indicating they haven’t pledged to address BBB complaints. While many reputable companies are BBB-accredited, many aren’t. The D+ rating stems from Playbook not addressing a complaint and its brief business tenure.

Playbook provides users with a 30-day free trial. After this period, the subscription cost is $19 per month. There are no hidden charges associated with the service, and users have the flexibility to cancel their subscription whenever they wish.

Yes, Playbook has a mobile app. Currently, they only have an iOS app. If you are an android user, you will have to use a web browser to access your Playbook account.

Yes, Playbook Finance is indeed a legitimate app. Designed to enhance financial planning, Playbook has established itself as a reliable and innovative tool for optimizing tax advantages and accelerating financial freedom.

With bank-level security measures in place, it ensures the safety and confidentiality of users’ financial data. Playbook’s approach of scanning through users’ financial situations to identify tax-saving opportunities has garnered positive reviews and has been embraced by a growing number of users seeking intelligent tax planning and financial management solutions.

The app’s growing user base, positive reviews, and transparent business model further affirm its legitimacy in the financial planning app space.

Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He’s a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.