I had the opportunity to try out SAVVI Financial. At first glance, it seems like another budgeting tool or net worth tracker. It is neither of those. In fact, I was shocked at the final outcome. Here’s my review.
About SAVVI Financial
SAVVI is a financial planning tool launched in 2018 that uses an algorithm to determine steps you can take to improve your financial health. It gives you a scientific approach developed by MIT PhDs to maximize your current assets and benefits, then recommends actions to reach your identified goals. The original team started in 1999 and has launched several finances businesses. One of those businesses was acquired by American Express and managed over $12B in assets.
How The Site Works
You start by signing up on the website, where you can begin immediately. You link your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, credit cards, mortgages, etc. into the system, under the “Organize” tab. This is similar to other websites, such as Mint or Personal Capital, and it shows your net worth. If you haven’t used either of those, the site is set up to automatically refresh your balance information without editing your account. You can also add your accounts manually. Then, SAVVI asks about your income and benefits. Here you can add your insurance, retirement, and Health Savings Account information. This is important for the algorithm because SAVVI estimates potential tax savings for now and the future based on your input.
Under the “Understand” tab, SAVVI analyzes your information. The first section is “The Big Picture.” It breaks down your spending at the top level. The categories are broad, such as savings, taxes, mortgage payments and taxes, and healthcare. It currently estimates your general spending (food, entertainment, utilities, etc.) at a minimum of $4,000 per year but you can increase that value, if necessary.
The next section is “Insights.” SAVVI will tell you how you’re performing in certain areas based on recommended information. For example, if your mortgage payment is less than 30% of your total income, it will applaud you and the color associated with it is green. If your savings rate is too low, your color may be red and it will recommend you set a goal to improve.
The final tab is the “Plan” tab. Here you will add your goals and see your financial action plan. SAVVI will email you when your plan is ready and it takes up to 24 hours. You will see how long it will take to reach your goals. The action plan has six sections: Save, Spend, Withdraw, Transfer, Open, and Invest. Each section has details for the percentage, dollar amount, and/or the number of transactions. Related actions are linked in the details of each task.
My Review: SAVVI Financial
First, signing up takes seconds and can be done by the average American. You don’t have to have a certain income level or net worth to participate. As soon as I signed up, a chat window opened where a representative introduced himself and waited for any questions. Customer Service was quick, kind, and knowledgeable. I asked a question about an error or issue and received a quick response for a remedy.
Next, I received my financial action plan within 45 minutes versus 24 hours. One of the actions in my plan is to open a Roth IRA in order to minimize my taxable retirement income. I probably would have figured that out on my own. However, SAVVI recommended I transfer the funds to a new account and invest in stocks and bonds. The details explained how doing so would help me reach my goals and save money in taxes.
Finally, SAVVI’s consideration of your tax implications sets it apart from other automated services. Federal and state taxes are often overlooked in budgeting software unless you’re preparing your annual return or focusing solely on retirement. When you get into the details of your plan, SAVVI will estimate your tax liability through retirement.
Room for Improvement
First, the issues I ran into were related to the website itself and not the algorithm or plan. I had issues adding one of my accounts. There were technical difficulties accessing the bank website login page directly with SAVVI and the engineers are working to fix that. I had an issue where adding my life insurance information changed other values to zero. I asked about it in the customer service chat and was able to populate the other values.
Next, SAVVI is not a monthly budget so the recommendations did not account for reducing spending now or in the future. It did not encourage shopping around for better rates on things like insurance.
Lastly, SAVVI estimates it will take 30 minutes to link all of your accounts. The process took me almost two hours. I don’t know if this was because I had technical difficulties or because I had a large number of accounts. I suggest having your usernames and passwords memorized or close at hand before starting the process.
Would I recommend SAVVI?
I would definitely recommend SAVVI Financial. It is another tool in your kit and I don’t see the harm of using it in conjunction with a budgeting tool. It is not for anyone that is unable to manage their finances without an advisor. SAVVI reminds me slightly of Personal Capital, but with a very detailed plan. I don’t know of another site that will create a plan tailored to you without forcing you to speak to a planner. I liked the actions that the site provided and I feel I can execute the plan effectively.
This review was paid for by SAVVI Financial. However, all opinions and views expressed are my own.