‘Free’ financial advice always comes at a cost

The wait is over… a well known Robo adviser firm in the US has launched its eagerly awaited Free Financial Planning tool to help move towards their goal which is to make sophisticated financial advice available for everyone.

No need to pay an experienced financial planner, when you can download an app built by a team of PhDs and do it yourself, at work, on the train, at the gym, wherever you want to build and maintain your own financial plan!

Bye, bye financial advisers, no need for you anymore. This tool allows you to work out how much you can spend on your dream home, determine how long of a career break you can take without damaging your financial goals, play around with scenarios and projections to your hearts content….and as for assumptions about growth rates and inflation you can change these if you like to.

It all sounds so fantastic… but wait… what is the catch? The old adage of there is no such thing as a free lunch is ringing in my ears. The world of tech is not giving things away for free. As a computer engineer friend of mine said to me once, if the tech you are using is free, then you are the product which is being sold. Now I do not know how the data people are going to pour into this free tool will be packaged up and used but what I do know is that if you read the small print, this free financial planning tool which will allow you to make all of your most important life and financial decisions for FREE includes this disclaimer:

All information provided by (the) financial planning tool is for illustrative purposes only and you should not rely on such information as the primary basis of your investment, financial, or tax planning decisions. 

Now, do you really want to go cheap and free and use your own time when making these big decisions or should you pay a qualified, experienced and professional financial planner who can truly guide you through life’s ups and downs and move you further towards your goals.

I know which I would choose.