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Plan first

Plan first, then invest

How We Invest

An investment strategy built for you

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


A team of experienced advisors

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.

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 at MIT

Plancorp by the Numbers


$4 Billion in assets under management

99% retention

Our clients stick with us


10 years of certification

Approved by the centre for fiduciary excellence

35 years of experience

We've been around the block


Achieve your goals

Personalized, goals-based investment planning

We build advanced, completely custom plans

Instead of a single portfolio that ignores your specific goals, our algorithms provide each of your goals with a custom investment plan, based on:


The portfolio growth required for your goal

Reward vs Risk

The amount of risk you're happy with


The time period you have to save or invest

Everything else

Stock market scenarios, inflation & your details


Then we automate them

Once you've set up a goal, BrightPlan can automate investing in a BrightPlan Investment Account to ensure you stay on track with your plan. Not ready to move your investments? No worries. You can link your external investment accounts to BrightPlan and apply our advice on your own.

How We Invest

Investment Philosophy

The BrightPlan Investment Committee is led by Peter Lazaroff and Jeff Buckner, who currently manage more than $4 Billion at Plancorp. 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. The mutual funds in our model portfolios have combined holdings 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

A handpicked diversified investment portfolio

The BrightPlan Investment Committee hand-picked the funds for each portfolio. The end result is a globally diversified portfolio filled with low-cost 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 2017, 73% of Dimensional Funds beat their benchmark, while only 14% 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.


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

When market movements push your portfolio out of balance, our software automatically nudges 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).

Industry-leading advice, at a fraction of the cost

BrightPlan provides fiduciary advice at a much lower price tag compared to traditional advisors. Keeping expenses low leaves more money to invest for your goals. BrightPlan receives no commissions or kickbacks, which keeps our advice aligned with our clients' best interests.



Set a low $500 account minimum


Low annual management fee of 0.4%


Chose funds with low expenses


Negotiated a low, unlimited trading fee with TD Ameritrade


Zero commissions, we are only compensated by clients


Real time account tracking from any device.


Safety & Security

Assets safeguarded by TD Ameritrade

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

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 Institutional, 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.


(*) 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.

How our fees compare

Low management fees and minimums

Account Minimum

Account Minimum





Management Fee

Management Fee





Low Cost Funds


Low Trading Expenses


Further Reading

[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 December 31, 2017, 9 of 9 Vanguard money market funds, 51 of 55 Vanguard bond funds, 21 of 22 Vanguard balanced funds, and 101 of 108 Vanguard stock funds—for a total of 182 of 194 Vanguard funds —outperformed their Lipper peer-group average. Results will vary for other time periods. Only mutual funds with a minimum 10-year history were included in the comparison. The competitive performance data shown represent past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.

[3] Vanguard average mutual fund expense ratio: 0.12%. Industry average mutual fund expense ratio: 0.69%. All averages are asset-weighted. Industry averages exclude Vanguard. Sources: Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2016. Morningstar US Fund Fee Study 2016

[4] How we calculated fund costs: BrightPlan fund costs are a weighted average of all of the funds included in a taxable BrightPlan Investment Account holding 60% stocks and 40% bonds. Industry averages are based on the asset weighted average fund costs of all US Mutual Funds from the Morningstar US Fund Fee Study 2016. Because the weightings of funds are different in every model portfolio, clients invested in BrightPlan model portfolios could have fund fee averages ranging between 0.13% and 0.28%.

[5] How we calculated our monthly costs v.s Industry: BrightPlan trading fee assumes the 0.08% asset based trading fee with an average of a $50,000 balance over the course of the month. Industry trading fee assumes $5 per trade and 6 trades per month to invest monthly deposits, reinvest dividends, and rebalance a diversified portfolio. These values are meant for illustration and do not necessarily reflect a specific client. If your account value is higher (lower) the monthly trading cost in a BrightPlan Investment account will be higher (lower).