FTC Disclosure: The following review is a paid sponsorship by Prudential. All opinions expressed are my own.
Over the past several years, I noticed Prudential make a push into retirement planning with its witty billboard ads. Here are some of the most memorable quotes.
“They say millennials are lazy. Retire early and prove them right.”
“Donate to a worthy cause. Your retirement.”
“Robots can't take your job if you are retired.”
But it was unclear to me exactly how Prudential was going to help Americans with their retirement planning. I've always thought about Prudential Financial as mainly a life insurance company since its founding in 1875.
In reality, Prudential is a full-service financial firm that offers insurance, annuities, mutual funds, pension- and retirement-related investments, administration and asset management, securities brokerage services, and commercial and residential real estate transactions.
Then when my old colleague, Alison M., reached out to tell me she was now working at Prudential Financial and how it had created a new online digital wealth product to help guide people through their financial journey, I welcomed the opportunity to work with them.
What Is LINK by Prudential?
LINK by Prudential is a new digital financial solution that helps you gauge where you are currently at so you can set concrete financial goals and reach them over time.
LINK takes a big picture approach to your family’s future, focusing on things like saving for college, retirement planning, estate planning, and having money saved for life's odds and ends.
Through the use of various financial calculators and Prudential’s financial advisors, LINK helps guide you toward reaching your goals for saving and investing.
LINK by Prudential Sign Up Process
Signing up for LINK is easy. The first step is to create a profile by answering some basic questions about your finances and your financial timeline.
Creating a Profile
Here are the basic questions LINK will ask you:
- Marital status
- Number of Dependents and ages
- Place of residence
- Current income
- Your monthly expense total
- Current college savings for your kids
You will also be asked about how much risk you are comfortable taking when investing. Your risk tolerance will be factored into investment solutions suggested to you later in the process. Risk-adjusted returns are key to everyone's financial goals.
As you move through the process, LINK will also request information about the current state of your retirement goals.
You will be asked about the age you want to retire. Sooner the better, of course. After all, this is a FIRE focused site!
You will be asked the type of lifestyle you desire during retirement. Hopefully, a good one where you don't have to scrimp and feel stressed in retirement. Otherwise, retiring would be counterproductive. Some people are OK with Lean FIRE. But as you grow older and have family, Fat FIRE becomes much more preferable.
You will also be asked where you want to live after you retire. I personally want to live somewhere warm so that my joints will ache less and I won't need to spend as much time warming up on the tennis court. Too bad warmer climates tend to have higher living costs.
Goal Setting For Retirement
After creating your initial profile, LINK moves on to goal setting. Much of this is already inferred as LINK makes suggestions based on your answers to the previous questions.
For my family, our main goals consist of college savings, taking care of my parents and in-laws, and building $300,000 in retirement income by the time our boy attends kindergarten in 2022.
Other savings goal categories include Auto, Home, Family protection, Wedding, Baby, and General investment.
Part of the reason why we're trying to boost our retirement savings further is just in case we are blessed with a second child. My wife will be 39 and I'll be 42 this year. The chances of conceiving naturally are only about 5%. But as Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber once said, “So you're saying there's a chance!”
If we live long enough to see our boy get married, he'll have to pay for his wedding on his own just like his parents did.
After you choose a goal, you will be asked questions about any money you already may have saved towards this goal. LINK takes this information, as well as information from your online profile, to build a helpful goal tracker.
Once your profile is complete and your goals are set, LINK provides you with customized solutions that are designed to help you hit your goals.
The suggested solutions will lead you to other Prudential Solutions, such as the Prudential Managed Accounts and Prudential Life Insurance products.
Additional LINK by Prudential Features
Besides the initial process mentioned above, there are a few other features that help LINK’s service stand out.
Network of LINK Financial Advisors
Although LINK is an online tool, Prudential grew its business through its network of financial advisors. Prudential’s financial advisors can be reached by phone, online, through video, or in person.
After you create a LINK profile, you can access it 24 hours a day on any device. This allows you to monitor your account, make adjustments, and keep track of your progress toward meeting your goals.
Slice A Budget Tool
Proper budgeting by consistently spending less than you earn is one of the foundations of good personal finance habits. Prudential's Slice A Budget tool walks you through your monthly spending and guides you as to how to budget so you can cut expenses.
You can input various income and savings numbers to see how the tool will respond. If your expenses are too high, the tool will catch your overage and make sure you budget better.
What Does LINK by Prudential Cost?
LINK by Prudential is free to use and sign up, like other free financial tools. However, after going through the process, you do need to set up an online account in order to save your information.
If you choose to follow LINK’s advice and make investments with Prudential or purchase a product like life insurance, you will be charged just as you would with any other investment company.
The cost of each service will vary by product. You should definitely ask for a detailed cost breakdown before making a commitment.
LINK By Prudential Final Review
Prudential Financial is a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker PRU. It has a market capitalization of roughly $30 billion. Given it is publicly listed, it is strictly regulated by the SEC and is required to report its financials quarterly.
If you are looking for a new online tool to help provide you a holistic view of your finances while offering you financial solutions from a trusted company that has been around for over 144 years, LINK by Prudential might just be right for you.
I like LINK especially for young parents who are trying to juggle everything from work, to childcare, to saving for their retirement and their child's future. There's just so much going on at this stage in life. Having an online tool to help direct you in the right direction may be very helpful.
As new parents in 2017, we would certainly have welcomed some handholding if it wasn't for the fact that I've been working in finance since 1999 and have been writing on Financial Samurai since 2009.
If you are looking for a comprehensive investment company with user-friendly tools that are accessible from anywhere and at any time, it’s worth your time to check out LINK by Prudential.
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