What Is Playbook: The Financial Planning App for High-Income Earners

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

August 29, 2023August 29, 2023


Playbook, a financial planning app, has been making waves since its launch in 2021. Designed for high-income earners, it offers a unique blend of robo-advisory and tax advisory features. But what is Playbook? Let’s dive into a comprehensive Playbook review.
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What Is Playbook?

Playbook, a financial planning app, has made significant strides in the fintech industry since its launch in July 2021. CEO David Hegarty is a key figure behind the app, emphasizing the importance of securing tax advantages in retirement accounts. For example, not many people know that you can put stock from a startup into a Roth IRA. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel used this to make his Paypal stock tax-free, eligible for a $5 billion windfall. Although not many people will have the opportunity to make billions, under Heagarty’s leadership, Playbook has aimed to help the middle class utilize these little-known tax advantages effectively.

From the available information, we know that Playbook is headquartered in San Francisco and has garnered attention for its unique approach to financial planning, particularly for high-income earners. The app’s primary focus is on tax efficiency for investments, combining robo-advisory and tax advising to recommend tax-advantaged savings strategies.

Pricing and Value

Playbook is a financial planning app designed for individuals earning over $100,000 annually, aiming to optimize tax savings by distributing investments across tax-advantaged accounts. The app’s AI capabilities assess user accounts to suggest tax-efficient strategies, integrating various accounts like retirement and IRAs for a comprehensive net worth calculation. It also evaluates potential 401(k) matches and notifies users of any missed opportunities.

Playbook’s pricing model is unique in the market. Unlike many competitors that tie their fees to assets under management (AUM), Playbook charges a flat fee. This model particularly benefits higher net worth investors who would otherwise be subjected to percentage-based charges prevalent among other platforms. For instance, while Wealthfront charges a 0.25% fee which might be suitable for smaller investments, and Empower has higher minimum investments, Playbook’s fixed fee structure becomes more cost-effective for those with assets exceeding $187,000.

Moreover, Playbook emphasizes tax optimization and holistic financial planning. It offers a tax-optimized investing system that goes beyond traditional tax-loss harvesting, aiming to consistently optimize savings and investments to support various financial goals.

Features and Benefits


  • Automation: Playbook offers automated features, goal-setting, and provides value for those with substantial assets. Users can set up automatic fund transfers, create goals, and receive tax-advantaged suggestions like 401(k) matching and Roth IRA contributions.
  • Tax Optimization: Playbook focuses on tax optimization, helping users distribute investments across tax-advantaged accounts and leverage AI-driven recommendations for tax reduction.
  • Syncing: The app syncs with banking and investment accounts, allowing users to create a financial profile and prioritize goals.
  • Realistic Approach: The platform emphasizes tax-efficient savings strategies and doesn’t aim to outperform the market but optimizes returns through tax efficiency.
  • Security: Security is a priority, with SSL encryption and read-only access to ensure user data protection.


  • Lack of financial advisor support: While Playbook offers a range of features, it lacks hands-on financial advisor support and detailed budgeting features.
  • Not all tax situations: The platform might not cover all tax situations and lacks support for self-employed retirement plans.
  • Lack of transparency: Some users might find the platform’s operations lacking transparency, and there’s a noted absence of online educational resources.

Third-Party Ratings: What Does Trustpilot Say?

Playbook has a 4.3/5 on Trustpilot, rated “Excellent”. Users have lauded Playbook for its user-friendly approach, which simplifies money management, making it suitable even for those unfamiliar with finances. The platform is designed to assist in planning significant life events and offers features like animations that illustrate money flow. While it has its share of challenges, such as sync issues and occasional unresponsiveness, Playbook’s dedicated support team and responsive customer service have been highlighted positively. The platform’s unique approach to financial optimization, combined with its learning-oriented onboarding experience, sets it apart in the market. However, like any product, it has areas of improvement, such as feature enhancements and clarity in its roadmap.

Summing It Up: What Is Playbook?

Playbook, with its unique approach to financial planning, offers a promising platform for high-income earners. Its emphasis on tax optimization and automated features makes it a standout choice. The San Francisco-based app provides tools that allow users to set long-term savings goals, balance tax savings with these targets, and estimate potential tax savings and goal achievement dates. It also facilitates passive income investing through customized portfolios of stock and bond index ETFs. Monthly transfers to savings and investment accounts are coordinated, with the flexibility to adjust plans as financial situations change.

However, potential users should weigh the pros and cons. As always, it’s essential to do thorough research and perhaps even test the platform with the 7-day free trial before making a commitment. If you are interested in learning more about Playbook, click here and discover how you can save money on your taxes today.
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Jeremy Biberdorf
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.

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