Most people want to retire with enough money in their bank accounts to allow them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives without having to work again.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to achieve this goal or even where to begin. It’s a good thing then that there are companies out there that offer financial advice and retirement programs to help you achieve your goals.
One such company is called Financial Engines. It’s a company that offers online financial services to both employees and employers.
It specializes in providing retirement advice and plans that employers can offer their employees. It can also deal directly with employees to provide a personalized plan for retirement and other financial goals as well.
But is Financial Engines really a legitimate company that you can get financial advice from or is it just a scam to avoid?
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Financial Engines is A Legit Company that Offers Financial Advice
Financial Engines is a financial company that provides online financial advice and retirement plans to corporations and their employees.
They were established in 1996 as a company that only focused on giving financial advice, before shifting to providing company-sponsored retirement plans and advice on Social Security.
They also provide financial advice and investment management to employees, allowing you to discuss with them your own personal financial goals.
They have been in business for about 23 years now, so you know they are doing something right to last this long.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues or problems with Financial Engines. One of the main issues that people have with Financial Engines is their annual fee.
There are also a lot of various complaints about people’s experience with the company, particularly with the performance of their investments and how they have been dealt with by advisors and customer service from the company.
I’ll discuss these issues and complaints in more detail as we progress further in this review of Financial Engines.
Who Uses Financial Engines?
The services that Financial Engines offers is designed for two groups, with one being the companies and businesses who want to offer retirement plans for their employees. The other group are the employees who are looking for financial advice and investment management services.
For employers, the company gives an opportunity to provide added benefits to their employees in the form of a company-sponsored retirement plan.
Companies can choose to shoulder the entire fee for the retirement plan or do a 50-50 with their employee.
For employees, not only does Financial Engines offers employer-sponsored retirement plans, but they can also avail of their financial advisory and investment management services.
These services can help you plan for your financial goals, as well as grow your money. It’s important to remember, though, that these services are not available for free.
In the next section, I’ll discuss in more detail how Financial Engines’ service works and the fees associated with it.
How Does Financial Engines Work?
Financial Engines is a company that works with both employers and employees, offering employer-sponsored retirement plans.
They also provide financial advice and investment management to employees for a certain fee. To avail of the financial services that the company offers for individuals, you first need to talk to one of their advisors.
They have branches in different areas, so you just need to provide a zip code to find advisors in your area.
If you’re already enrolled in an employer-sponsored retirement plan from Financial Engines that your company offers, you just need to make a request to avail of their other services.
For financial advice, Financial Engines provides you with personalized investment recommendations and it’s up to you to execute the recommendations they give you.
The cost of using the company’s services is not really mentioned on their site. It seems it will likely depend on the arrangement that the company has with the employer.
A review mentioned that the annual fee ranges between 0.20% and 0.60% of the value of the retirement portfolio. The average fee is said to be below 0.40%.
This is just the fee that you will have to shoulder for using Financial Engines service. There are also other fees you need to shoulder like the administrative fee.
Aside from the different financial services that the company offers, they also have several educational tools and materials that you can use to help you understand investing and planning for your retirement.
For a workplace account, the company requires a minimum of $5 present for management.
What People Are Saying About Financial Engines?
The majority of the reviews and comments about Financial Engines seems to be positive and it also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any complaints and issues with this opportunity. Chief among them is the annual fee that you need to pay.
Though this is really dependent on your employer’s arrangement with the company, there are some who don’t like the annual fees.
This is because paying an annual fee will definitely have an impact on the performance of your investment, especially in the long-term.
Another issue I found with Financial Engines is the many different complaints that people had with their experience of the company.
Some say that the company is only focused on commissions and not the client’s well-being, while others had a hard time closing their account or withdrawing their money.
There are also complaints that the performance of their investments was subpar compared to other investments from other companies.
Not everyone shares these complaints, so I’m guessing this is likely because of the advisor or customer service people that the investor had dealt with.
As for the performance, that’s really not unusual as not every investment performs equally. Some will really perform better compared to others on certain occasions.
What I Like about Financial Engines
Now that we know what Financial Engines is and what they are offering, it’s time to discuss what is good about this opportunity.
- One of the first things that I like about Financial Engines is that they declare themselves as a fiduciary, which means only your best interest should be put first instead of the company’s own. This is great since this provides you with an assurance that everything they do should only be done with your best interest in mind.
- I also like that Financial Engines provides you with an option to let you handle your investment on your own and they’ll just provide recommendations or you let them manage it for you.
- I also like that Financial Engines uses real people instead of robo-advisors when it comes to their services. Though I don’t have any issues with robo-advisors, I still prefer talking to a real person when it comes to discussions about finances, wealth management, and investments. I believe these subjects are always best discussed face-to-face with a real person and not just a computer.
What I Dislike about Financial Engines
Of course, not everything about Financial Engines is good and dandy, as there are also things about this opportunity that I don’t really like.
- The first thing that I don’t like is the annual fee you need to pay. Yes, it may be low but it will still have an impact on your overall investment performance in the long-term. If you can manage your own investment, that would be preferable.
- Another thing that I don’t like about Financial Engines is the many different complaints that people have with this opportunity. Though this is mostly due to the advisors or customer service people they have talked to, it’s still not a good image for an investment company if there are a lot of complaints.
Do I Recommend Financial Engines?
After learning more about what Financial Engines really is and what they are bringing to the table, I can say that they are an opportunity that is worth checking out.
Yes, the annual fee can be a bit of a problem in the long-term and the many complaints a bit worrisome. But I still feel that this opportunity is worth checking out. Especially if the company you are working for is already working with Financial Engines.
But you have to remember, that when it comes to investing and money, nothing is really guaranteed. There will still be ups and downs, wins and losses. This will really depend on the company that is managing your investment.
If their historical performance shows they do well, then you can set your mind at ease. But if historical performance is bad, then it’s best to look elsewhere.
For Financial Engines, they seem to perform well in general, which is why a lot of companies work with them.
But, you still have to be wary and do your due diligence before signing up with them. Just check it out for yourself and see if what they offer is something you think is worthwhile.