Online financial services helping some manage money

June 25, 2013 9:38:24 PM PDT
Need help planning your financial future? Now all you need to do is log onto your computer.

Saving for retirement should be a priority for most people. And now there's a new way to get financial first aid without landing you in the red, and you don't even need to make an appointment.

After Jeeves Murphy Landed a new job, he needed some help tuning up his old 401k.

"I wasn't putting any money toward it, so I wanted to do something with it," he said.

Seeing a financial advisor didn't fit his schedule or budget, so Murphy turned to a new breed of money management -- websites for advice.

"They were able to help me move it over into an IRA," he said.

Until recently, Murphy was part of the 78 percent of Americans without a financial advisor, with cost being cited as a major roadblock.

Jorge Padilla with the Financial Planning Association says most sites have no minimum asset requirements.

"Now it is feasible for pretty much anybody that has saved up some money or has some financial resources to reach out," Padilla said.

Payment plans vary, but most sites offer free advice to start, followed by one flat fee or a small monthly one.

All of them are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and staffed with certified financial planners or registered investment advisors.

On sites like learnvest, you work one-on-one with your very own CFP via phone, email or screen sharing.

"You can see a picture of your net worth and your financial progress day in and day out. That helps your financial planner push you in the right direction," said Stephany Kirkpatrick with Learnvest.

Other sites, like FutureAdvisor, use computer software to generate custom investment advice.

"FutureAdvisor's software is monitored continuously by a team of computer scientists and mathematicians here in house for algorithm correctness," said Bo Lu with FutureAdvisor.

The websites we spoke with say that they utilize bank-level online security and encryption to protect your personal information. Now if you have your heart set on seeing someone in person, you can search for an advisor who fits your needs and budget.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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