What To Know Before Signing Up To Playbook – Features, Drawbacks, And Pricing


Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

December 13, 2023December 13, 2023

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In this Playbook review, I’ll explore what to know before signing up to Playbook, a fintech app designed to enhance the tax efficiency of your investment portfolio. Playbook’s primary aim is to help investors minimize their tax liabilities, a strategy often overlooked but crucial for long-term returns.

Playbook stands out as a sophisticated financial planning app that scans your portfolio to identify tax-saving opportunities, including tax loss harvesting. This capability is vital for investors seeking to maximize their tax advantages and accelerate their journey toward financial freedom. The platform offers insights into the most tax-efficient accounts and suggests adjustments to optimize your tax situation.

My review will dive into who would benefit most from Playbook and whether its features justify the cost. For investors interested in improving their financial strategies with a focus on tax efficiency, Playbook presents itself as a potentially valuable tool. We will examine its suitability and effectiveness in achieving these financial goals.

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What to Know Before Signing up to Playbook

I will get into all of the important details such as cost, benefits and drawbacks, but first let’s get into exactly what Playbook is.

What is Playbook?

Playbook, a San Francisco-based financial planning app founded by David Hegarty in July 2021, offers a unique blend of robo-advisor and tax advisor services. The app is designed to optimize tax advantages and accelerate users’ journey towards financial freedom. It achieves this by analyzing your financial accounts, including bank, brokerage, and current accounts, to pinpoint missed tax-saving opportunities. Playbook’s services are adaptable, catering to various financial scenarios, including self-employment income and income limits.

The app’s core philosophy is centered around the idea that while it’s challenging to beat the market, it’s feasible to outsmart tax liabilities. Playbook stands out in the realm of financial planning platforms for its focus on maximizing the use of tax-advantaged accounts. Users can choose to use Playbook purely for advisory purposes, where it reads account information and provides recommendations, or they can opt for active management, allowing Playbook to move funds and increase investments in tax-advantaged accounts.

For accounts actively managed by Playbook, investments are carried out using a low-cost strategy, without imposing investment fees. This combination of tax optimization and investment management makes Playbook a potentially valuable tool for individuals looking to make the most of their financial resources in a tax-efficient manner.

Playbook Features

Here are the benefits of Playbook you should be aware of before signing up to Playbook.

  • User-Friendly Interface: The platform is easy to use, simplifying the financial planning process without overcomplicating it. This user-friendliness makes it an ideal tool for setting and prioritizing financial goals.
  • Diverse Account Integration: Playbook supports a variety of account types, including alternative assets like cryptocurrencies. This inclusivity is beneficial for investors with diversified portfolios who want all their assets considered in their financial plan.
  • Dynamic Planning and Tax Optimization: The app encourages frequent updates and revisits to financial plans, ensuring recommendations align with the current tax code. This proactive approach to tax optimization includes maximizing tax-advantaged accounts such as 401k, Roth IRA, and HSAs.
  • Flat-Rate Pricing: Playbook charges a flat monthly fee of $19, rather than taking a percentage of your assets. This pricing model is straightforward and can be more cost-effective for some users compared to asset-based fees.
  • Free Trial and Easy Cancellation: Users can start with a free trial and have the flexibility to cancel their account anytime without incurring fees.
  • Financial Goal Setting: The platform allows users to set and adjust various financial goals, ranging from short-term objectives like vacations to long-term plans like retirement.
  • Net Worth Calculator: By linking your accounts, Playbook can calculate your net worth. The projections are based on standard assumptions, though it does not simulate various financial scenarios.
  • Personalized Financial Plan: Users can quickly create a financial plan that focuses on immediate needs, offering suggestions in areas like financial foundation, tax advantages, and life goals.
  • Investment Portfolio Suggestions: Based on your risk tolerance, Playbook suggests suitable investment accounts, with automatic portfolio rebalancing and the option to set up multiple accounts for different purposes.
  • Balance Protection: The app includes a feature to prevent overdrafts from your linked checking account and can adjust transfers based on your account balance.

Playbook Shortcomings

Although Playbook does have a number of desirable features, there are a few areas that could use some improvement. Here are some shortcomings you should be aware of before signing up:

  • Limited Tax-Optimization Features: Although Playbook is designed to optimize tax situations, it falls short in offering specific tax-advantaged account options for business owners, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), or college savings plans. This limitation could be a drawback for those seeking more tailored tax planning.
  • Manual Balance Entry Limitation: If investment accounts cannot link to Playbook, there is no option to manually input balance information. This can result in inaccuracies in the overall financial plan if any account is omitted.
  • Absence of Human Financial Planning Element: Playbook operates primarily through algorithms and lacks the human component of financial planning. This can lead to issues, such as not fully considering an investor’s willingness to take on debt for certain goals, potentially leading to unrealistic future net worth projections.
  • New Company with Limited Track Record: Being a relatively new player in the market, Playbook has a shorter track record compared to more established financial planning platforms.
  • No Support for Self-Employed Retirement Plans: The platform currently does not support self-employed retirement plans, which could be a limitation for self-employed users looking for comprehensive retirement planning tools.

Playbook Pricing

Playbook offers two pricing plans: the Essential plan at $19 per month ($180 if paid annually) and the Plus plan at $59 per month ($348 for annual upfront payment). These fees cover investment recommendations, automatic account transfers, and wealth management services. Additionally, the investments, primarily low-cost ETFs, have separate annual fees ranging from 0.03% to 0.08%. This structure allows users to choose a plan based on their needs and budget while considering the extra costs of the investment products.

Final Thoughts

My Playbook review has covered its key features, pricing, and potential shortcomings. Playbook stands out for its tax optimization strategies and user-friendly interface, catering to both high earners and new investors.

Understanding what to know before signing up to Playbook, including its flat-rate pricing model and additional ETF fees, is crucial for making an informed decision. If you’re considering a financial planning app that focuses on tax efficiency and offers a straightforward fee structure, Click Here to get started with Playbook 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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