Deciding what to do with your retirement payout when it comes is difficult for most retirees.
Thinking about which financial advisor to trust with that function can be intimidating—nobody likes the thought of losing their life savings to an ill-considered investment. In short, financial literacy is a widespread and growing problem.
Well, the smart people at SmartAsset thought it was about time someone did something about this. In this review, we lift the lid on how their product accomplishes that aim.
What is SmartAsset?
SmartAsset is a financial technology company with personalized financial modeling software.
It helps people make informed decisions about their finances. The company’s website is a treasure trove of tools and guides to help you decide what to do with your money.
Besides that, SmartAsset uses its software to link users with financial advisors, in their area or online, to help them with specific needs.
How Does SmartAsset Work?
It is straightforward. You have an issue of a financial nature that confuses you. After typing a question into Google, you land on their site through one of their many financial guides.
Perhaps you want actual figures on:
- the total monthly payment breakdown on your mortgage,
- the federal taxes you owe, or
- the amount of money you must save every month if you want to be comfortable in your retirement.
We are talking about the sort of personal financial information regular folks don’t always have at their disposal. So directly, or through their guides or their smartreads, you will land on one of their calculators.
All you do is fill in your personal information and location, and the calculators will tell you precisely what you can afford, what you owe, or what you must save now to have your goal amount saved upon your retirement.
As you will see below, SmartAsset helps users with a lot more than just mortgage and tax calculations.
Features of SmartAsset
The SmartAsset suite of calculators and guides are offered under different branches of personal finance. Below we break these down and expand on how they deliver on the platform’s core promise.
Financial Advisor Search
Smart Asset has a great platform for finding a financial planner in your area. Not only do the vet all the financial planners in their network, they also take you through a short questionnaire to match you with an advisor that meets your needs.
The process is quick, the questions are easy, and the results are instant. You don’t even have to get bombarded by phone calls because the information for each advisor in your area is displayed on the screen.
If you are looking for a financial planner, but aren’t sure where to start or who to trust, the SmartAsset financial advisor service will jump-start your search.
SmartAsset has several tools to help prospective homeowners make the right decisions.
From which house you can afford on your current income, to the mortgage you will pay on the property, and the costs for closing the lease, to even whether you should buy a home or should instead be considering renting.
So, all the tools you need to qualify your choices and options when buying property are right there at your fingertips. You don’t have to do anything beyond filling in the fields on your income and where you intend to buy a property.
There are comprehensive guides on purchasing a home also on the website. Comparisons on the different mortgage rates currently obtainable in the market are included, and there are reviews for the leading mortgage providers.
Nobody likes to attract the scrutiny tax authorities, because tax evasion penalties can be ruinous. So, come tax season, the average person wants to make sure they are up to date with their tax obligations.
However, taxes are just too complicated for regular folks like you and me. So, the SmartAsset calculators on the different taxes we must pay are a great help. The calculators on the platform include income tax, property tax, tax returns, paycheck, and retirement tax, calculators.
There is also an in-depth tax guide, as well as reviews of tax software like TurboTax, Credit Karma Tax, and TaxSlayer. There is even a guide on how to fill out your W-4.
Are you planning your retirement? It is always best to get that sorted early. SmartAsset has the tools to help you validate the many options you may be considering—one of which could be what Robo-Advisors to use.
A selection of the retirement calculators SmartAsset provides under ‘Retirement’ includes social security, 401(k), and retirement calculators. There are also guides on retirement planning, financial advisor selection, and estate planning.
Planning for your retirement is a good thing to do. So is making sure your current financial matters are in order, and for that, you need the right bank.
SmartAsset has calculators to help you calculate your savings and comparisons and reviews of the best savings, checking, money market, and CD accounts.
If you are a little green as to how the different banking accounts operate, it may help to first read through the checking and savings guide provided.
When you are now familiar with how the various accounts are structured and what they offer, you may use the bank reviews provided to help you decide which bank is the right fit for you.
Here there are no calculators, just reviews and comparisons of the different credit cards options. The best travel cards, the best balance transfer cards, the best cashback credit cards, the best rewards credit cards, and a few others are compared here.
If you are new to credit cards and would prefer to read up on them first, SmartAsset has got you covered with guides on rewards credit cards, balance transfer credit cards, and credit cards in general.
When investing your hard-earned money, you want to make sure you are making the right choices. You want up to date information on where to invest your money.
Should you go with Mutual or Index funds? Does the stock market perhaps offer better returns? How about bonds?
SmartAsset has guides that give you more qualified advice and answers to the above questions. The website also compares brokerage accounts and has different calculators for investment returns, capital gains tax, asset allocation, and inflation.
What happens to your loved ones after you are gone? Will they be comfortable?
SmartAsset covers those worries somewhat with a calculator that shows you how much life insurance you need. It also advises on life insurance providers and benefits, as well as guiding you on how to go about buying life insurance.
Think you can get better terms for your current loan under a new credit facility? SmartAsset has a refinance calculator and guide.
It also has a tool to compare the different rates, so you can decide if this is the right option for you.
Some emergencies cannot be covered with your savings and current income, so you may have no option but to take out a personal loan.
You may still have questions on whether you can afford the loan repayments, however. There is a SmartAsset calculator to help you with this, as well as helpful guides and rate comparisons.
A good education will open many doors in your future and set you up for financial prosperity and professional fulfillment. But a college education is expensive, which explains the huge student debt albatross hanging America’s neck.
SmartAsset has a student loan calculator and other resources to guide your choice of provider. If your current loan obligations are draining the life out of your finances, the platform provides useful information on the different student loan refinancing options available to you.
For users of its software – people looking for help with their financial decisions, SmartAsset is free. So, you might ask:
How Does SmartAsset Make Money?
The SmartAsset website isn’t crawling with all manner of ads. You get the feeling the last thing they want is for people using their calculators to be distracted by pop-ups and display ads.
So, if they are not charging the users for using their tools, they have got to be monetizing all that traffic somehow. They have two main ways of converting traffic to revenue.
On any article that contains advertising SmartAsset clearly states they are compensated. This compensation does not affect the recommendations made and, in most cases, you are given a list of several advertisers where you can choose the right one for you.
This means SmartAsset is pointing you to top level companies without making single recommendations about which one to choose.
As a part of their placement tool with financial advisors, SmartAsset receives a compensation for the leads they send out. As we mentioned before, these CFPs are all carefully vetted to meet SmartAsset’s standards.
This arrangement works for everyone if you look at it. Users get connected with qualified providers who are better placed to help with advice SmartAsset’s automated tools can’t provide.
Financial advisors, in turn, who host expensive seminars and buy free meals for people who may never convert as customers, receive warm leads with high chances of conversion.
SmartAsset for its part can make an income without charging the very same users they depend for the leads they sell. That’s how they keep their tools free to use.
Should you use SmartAsset?
Other than your time, using SmartAsset does not place any financing cost or obligation on users of its automated calculators. Also, there is a ton of resources on personal finance matters of any kind. We don’t see why you shouldn’t at least give the platform a try.
There are murmurs of disgruntlement from a few current and former employees of the company anonymously posted on employer review site, Glassdoor. The reviews, though, are mostly positive.
It’s a growing startup, after all, so a bit of disorder and growing pains are to be expected.
After trying the different calculators, we can testify that the software works without glitches. The platform gets our recommendation.