You want to plan your future, but it seems so complex. Budgeting, learning how to invest, understanding the varying levels of inflation, and then trying to predict how all of these variables meet decades from now…it all can be quite overwhelming; so much so that most people quit long before they even get started. Thankfully, LINK by Prudential is offering a solution to the madness (and it’s free!).
LINK by Prudential – A New, Fun Way to Plan Your Future
This is a sponsored post from Prudential, but opinions of the product are genuine and unabated.
What is LINK Exactly?
I first heard about LINK by Prudential back in January and I was immediately intrigued. In my opinion, one of the most difficult tasks for people to tackle in life is their finances. And, any tool (especially a free one like this) that can help smooth that process and allow people to get over their fear of starting could be a home run for its users.
Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me (as it usually does) and I checked it out immediately.
The Sign-up Process
The initial sign-up process was pretty basic. I supplied my:
- Marital status
- Zip code of residence
- Number of dependents
- Age of dependents
- Current income
- Monthly expense total
- Risk tolerance for investing
As I supplied my information, new goal icons appeared on the timeline – things like retirement, my son’s and daughter’s college savings, my emergency fund, and life insurance since I have dependents. (Looking to plan your future? Turns out it’s pretty easy…)
After this initial set-up, the tool took me through each icon in further detail. I supplied information such as:
- My current emergency fund total, along with my monthly contributions
- Yearly income with the number of years I’d like to protect my family in the event of my unexpected passing
- Current college savings and monthly contributions
- The age you expect your child to attend college, and where you expect they’ll go
- Current retirement savings and again, monthly contributions
From these inputs (which took maybe 10 minutes total, which is pretty fricken awesome if you ask me), the tool was able to spit out immediate results. Was I on track with my plan for the future?
As it turns out….no I’m not. Womp wommm….
According to LINK, I’m squared away on my emergency fund, but am struggling in each of the other categories. Definitely good to know! Looks like I’ve got to step up my game!
My Opinion of the Tool and the Results
As I was entering information and studying the results of the tool, I made sure to jot down the pros and cons of the process.
- The tool was well-organized and easy to understand and visualize. I believe absolutely anyone can use this tool and gain from it, which is HUGE!
- It did a fantastic job taking the guesswork out of retirement and college planning
- It can be difficult for the average person to factor in inflation and investment growth, this tool completely stripped out these complications for the user
- Resources were offered for term life insurance, which is the exact product I buy for myself and my family. Love it.
- After all the inputs, the results are immediate, all in one place, and easy to view
- The college planning tool was super helpful, but they assumed the full cost of tuition, room and board, and no scholarships. As far as I could tell, you could not adjust for these factors.
- With a 4 out of 5 risk tolerance, they assume I’ll only earn 6% on my investments. This is too conservative in my book, and plays a little too much into their hands (where they offer to help and improve your results, which may have been better than their estimates in the first place)
The absolute BEST part of the tool was the college planning page
I was blown away with how simple they made college planning.
If you really didn’t have a clue what tuition would cost by the time your son or daughter started, they allowed you to type in the college you think they’d go to. The tool then showed you what it would likely cost years from now! This means that they have hundreds (probably thousands) of colleges listed in their database with the current in-state and outside-of-state tuition costs. Also, as part of the calculation, inflation and tuition costs were estimated and included in the final result! Talk about an invaluable resource!
This will help so many people plan for college that otherwise have absolutely no clue.
My Takeaway and Recommendation
I really enjoyed this LINK by Prudential tool and am a little jealous I didn’t come up with it myself. It’s simple enough that anyone can use it and get something out of it, but it’s detailed enough to really give you a great assessment of how well you’re doing with your future planning.
If you have 10-15 minutes of spare time (which we all do…it’s called putting your phone down and ignoring social media for a hot second), I highly recommend going through this process.
- It’s free,
- it will give you an immediate check-up on your financial plan,
- and it could even provide you some extra help from Prudential if you’re interested.
If you’re not interested, then simply decline their offer at the end of the tool. It’s as simple as that.
Are you ready to plan your future? Take the assessment and tell us about it in the comments below!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.