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BrightPlan helps you plan for your life goals

How We Invest

Plan First, Then Invest

BrightPlan guides you to create a financial plan filled with your most important life goals. We help you move beyond the narrow thinking of a “retirement number” or “net worth target” to visualize your dreams and create an investment strategy to achieve them.

Experienced Advisors

"When choosing an advisor, it's all about trust. The three pillars of trust are philosophy, experience and certification. BrightPlan has an intriguing service offering in this respect."

-Robert Merton, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor, MIT

Our advice comes from close collaboration with our sister company Plancorp, one of the nation’s top Registered Investment Advisors. For over 30 years Plancorp has been planning, advising and managing investments for high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients.

Now Plancorp's collective experience has been embedded in the BrightPlan software, giving everyone access to affordable fiduciary advice to reach their financial goals. If you open a BrightPlan Investment Account you gain access to a Certified Financial Planner® from Plancorp.

Plancorp By the Numbers

Goals-Based Investing

“Personalized, goals-based investment planning enhances the probability of successful outcomes compared to investment only strategies.”

-Robert Merton, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor, MIT

You know where you want to go, we'll show you how to get there. Instead of a single portfolio that ignores your specific goals, our algorithms provide each of your goals with a custom investment plan.

BrightPlan will automate investing in a BrightPlan Investment Account to ensure ongoing implementation and management of your financial plan and assets. You can also apply our advice in your external investment accounts when linked to a BrightPlan goal.

Investment Philosophy

The BrightPlan Investment Committee, led by Peter Lazaroff and Jeff Buckner, currently manages over $4 Billion. They pore over academic research, formulating an evidenced-based approach to investing based on the following tenets:

Let Markets Work For You

Capital markets do a good job of fairly pricing all available information and investors’ expectations about publicly traded securities. The market has already done most of the work. Rather than working to beat the market, let it work for you.

Embracing market pricing can net investors higher returns by:

  • Encouraging broad diversification
  • Reducing investment costs
  • Limiting volatility (and the emotional decision-making that comes with it)

Practice Smart Diversification

Most investors are neither diversified enough, nor properly diversified. We manage risk through smart diversification based on Modern Portfolio Theory. Our model portfolios invest in a global mix of over 10,000 stocks and bonds, yet you can start with as little as $500.

Focus on What You Can Control

A good investment plan requires commitment, not activity. Investors gain time and peace of mind by automating smart choices like:

  • Recurring Deposits
  • Rebalancing
  • Asset Allocation
  • Tax-Loss Harvesting
  • Dividend Reinvestment

Investment Selection

The BrightPlan Investment Committee hand-picked the funds for each portfolio. The end result is a globally diversified portfolio filled with low-cost ETFs and mutual funds from Dimensional Funds Advisors and Vanguard.

Dimensional Fund Advisors

Dimensional Fund Advisors is one of the world's largest mutual fund providers, managing over $500 Billion primarily for institutions and high-net-worth individuals.

Their rigorous, evidence-based approach to investing has led to great results. In the 15-year period between 2002 and 2016, 83% of Dimensional Funds beat their benchmark, while only 18% of their peers could boast the same.¹

The only way to access DFA funds is through an approved Registered Investment Adviser like BrightPlan.


Vanguard’s relentless mission to lower the cost of investing has driven down costs across the entire investment industry in a phenomenon widely known as “the Vanguard effect.”

Their low-cost approach has helped 94% of Vanguard’s funds outperform their peer group averages over the past ten years.²

Automated Investing

Make automatic progress towards your goals with a BrightPlan Investment Account. Here's what you get:

Tailored Advice

Open an investment account for each of your goals and rest easy knowing your investment plan fits your resources, risk tolerance, and timeframe.

Fund Selection

Choosing investments can be overwhelming. We analyze and select best-in-class investments for you.

Saving Simplified

Your plan on auto-pilot. Set up one-time or recurring contributions, we’ll invest them automatically.

Automatic Rebalancing

If market movements push your portfolio out of balance our software will automatically nudge it back on track.

Strategic Dividend Reinvestment

We minimize the need to sell funds by reinvesting dividends to rebalance your account.

Tax Mitigation Strategies

Our tax aware portfolio construction and periodic tax loss harvesting work to improve your after-tax returns (the only returns that matter).

All At Fraction of the Cost

BrightPlan provides all these benefits at a much lower price tag compared to traditional advisors. Here’s how we keep expenses low and keep your money working for your goals:

  • Set a low $500 account minimum
  • No investment management fee on the first $50,000
  • Kept the management fee to only 0.5% after the first $50,000
  • Chose funds with low expenses
  • Negotiated a low, unlimited trading fee

BrightPlan is only paid by clients. We don’t get any commissions, kickbacks, or fees, which keeps our advice aligned to clients’ best interests. See our pricing for details.

Safety of Assets

Opened at TD Ameritrade | Managed by BrightPlan | Owned by You

We don't touch your money. BrightPlan Investment Accounts are opened in your name at TD Ameritrade Institutional³, a top-tier custodian safeguarding over $1.1 Trillion in investors' assets with their asset protection guarantee.

BrightPlan selected TD Ameritrade Institutional as the custodian for BrightPlan Managed Investment Accounts because of their robust technology integrations, strong track record as a custodian for over 6,000 Registered Investment Advisors, and low fees for trading and account management.

Through TD Ameritrade, mutual funds and cash held in BrightPlan Investment Accounts are protected by SIPC and FDIC insurance.


1. Dimensional Statistic: Performance data shown represents past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Beginning sample includes funds as of January 1, 2002. The number of beginners is: Industry- 3,545 and Dimensional- 29. Outperformers (winners) are funds with return observations for every month of the 15-year period whose cumulative net return over the period exceeded that of their respective benchmark. US-domiciled open-end mutual fund data is from Morningstar and Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) from the University of Chicago. Performance of each fund in the industry sample are evaluated relative to the fund’s Morningstar Category Index. Dimensional fund data provided by the fund accountant. Dimensional funds exclude VA funds and those distributed exclusively through Loring Ward. Performance of Dimensional funds measured against prospectus benchmarks. When evaluating the Dimensional funds relative to the fund’s Morningstar category index, 79% outperform. For further methodology details, see DFA’s Mutual Fund Landscape brochure.

2. Vanguard Statistic: For the 10-year period ended March 31, 2017, 9 of 9 Vanguard money market funds, 51 of 54 Vanguard bond funds, 23 of 23 Vanguard balanced funds, and 124 of 135 Vanguard stock funds—for a total of 207 of 221 Vanguard funds—outperformed their Lipper peer-group average. Results will vary for other time periods. Only mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) with a minimum 10-year history were included in the comparison. Source: Lipper, a Thomson Reuters Company. The competitive performance data shown represent past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results. Learn more.

3. TD Ameritrade Logo: TD Ameritrade and BrightPlan are separate and unaffiliated firms, and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. TD Ameritrade does not endorse or recommend any advisor and the use of the TD Ameritrade logo does not represent the endorsement or recommendation of any advisor. Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade Institutional, Division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. Used with permission.