When “free” is not free, when paying is worth it

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Nothing on the internet is truly
free. 

Many sites are lead generation sites, and most social
media websites track our every move to get paid.  If you any doubts, please read this
article:  “Mark
Zuckerberg, Let Me Pay for Facebook
– ‘Free’ social networking sites cost
more than we think.”

If you search
financial planning and other sites on the web for retirement calculators, you
will find many options.  See our prior
post explaining why one
line calculators can differ so much
.

On of these
websites provides “free” use of a gamified retirement calculator.  However, when you delve deeper (I read the
company form ADV as of May, 2015), you learn that the website may receive
compensation from vendors for referring users to financial products and
solutions in order to fulfill action steps, such as lenders for a user who
needs to refinance her mortgage.  The
website receives a referral fee from the mortgage lender. The same for a rollover
of a 401(k), a fee from Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade, or for life
insurance, a fee from the insurance. 
Furthermore, management of the website own a registered investment adviser and many
are insurance sales people. 

Hardly sounds free – it’s a leadgen portal!

Websites like this are lead generation
portals.  Compare to those “free”
seminars on estate planning put on by insurance salesmen to sell life insurance
and other products.

In contrast, there are good tools,
for which you pay.  One example is the investment
firm Betterment, which recently introduced a new tool available to its paying
customers called “RetireGuide.”
 The firm
describes it as “a new planning tool, available for free to all Betterment
customers, that helps investors work through scenarios, like …. RetireGuide
provides sophisticated retirement guidance that is easy to understand,
always up-to-date, and simple to change as your life changes.  RetireGuide uses information you provide and
the balances from your Betterment accounts, as well as assets outside of
Betterment, to answer these questions. It also provides a seamless way to start
saving more in a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your retirement
plan’s recommendations … This is the only retirement planning tool available to
investors today that merges an advice engine with a way to automatically save
and invest in a diversified portfolio.”

RetireGuide looks very good, as a tool to help you keep
with your retirement plan. 

Where are we at WokeMoney in all this?  We had designed tools and how to steps to
help you create your own plan for free.  However,
that website was never launched. 

What do you think of this?  Your comments would interest me, thanks. 

        

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