Blooom: Improving 401(k) retirement plans with Yodlee Interactive Aggregation API

This is a guest blog post by Chris Costello, Co-Founder and CEO, blooom. Are you actively investing in your 401(k) retirement plan? Blooom is the first online service developed by a Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm that automates the investment selection within users' existing 401(k) accounts regardless of where you work, where your 401(k) is held, or the size of your account. What makes blooom different in this regard is that there are handfuls of companies that can give advice on how to invest your 401(k), but we're actually doing the investing on behalf of our clients. Instead of DIY, we like to say we DIFY: Do It FOR You. Kevin and I, two of the three co-founders of blooom, have been investment advisers for a long time. I've been in this industry for almost 20 years and Kevin for about 16 years. We created blooom two years ago, after decades of targeting very high net worth clients, and always seeing that younger people and smaller accounts were largely left out of access to quality financial advisors. So we decided to build out a tool that could help people who have accounts that range in size from $100 to $1million, including younger people, who are also more technologically inclined. We wanted to help them manage their retirement savings with a simple, user-friendly web application. We noticed there was virtually no competition in terms of companies that were being intentional about automating the investment process for employer-sponsored retirement accounts like 401(k)s. So blooom was born. Blooom is employer and 401(k) custodian agnostic, meaning it does not matter where you work or where your 401(k) is held. As long as Yodlee® Interactive can pull financial data from your institution, you can be a blooom client. Yodlee Interactive pulls the data out of participant's existing 401(k) account so that it can be brought into the blooom web app, which is then displayed for the user in a very simple, non-intimidating format. Users can see the health of their existing 401(k)s and from there, can quickly and easily take action. They can make certain decisions, or even choose to hire blooom to outsource the ongoing investment management of their account. We use Yodlee Interactive's service to pull data during the initial sign up process and ongoing day-to-day management as we check and adjust the accounts for clients. Data is coming via Yodlee from the actual user's account. Our relationship with Yodlee Interactive has helped us become the catalyst for change in a slow-to-change industry, to reach a new audience, and to help people begin properly saving for retirement at an earlier age. To learn more about how we leverage Yodlee Interactive Aggregation API, check out this case study.