Frequently Asked Questions
About Bicycle Financial
Our goal is to make it downright simple for people to get their financial lives in shape – especially those who’ve been confused by money decisions in the past, or who find the whole money thing intimidating or overwhelming. It sounds idealistic, but it’s true.
Ahh, let us count the ways. We’re different in large part because of what we don’t do. We don’t bombard you with confusing language. We don’t make money on your money. We don’t push products to make money. We don’t push individual stocks. We don’t give you a dizzying number of choices. We don’t make you feel stupid or unwanted. We DO keep things simple and transparent.
We know that many of the big financial companies struggle with customer trust issues. We also know that we have to earn your trust. This is why we’ve gone the extra distance: (1) We’re a Registered Investment Advisor, which means we have a legal responsibility to put your interests ahead of our own; (2) we only recommend financial products and advice that are well-established, straightforward, and cost-conscious; and (3) we don’t charge you any Bicycle fees on the money you invest in your retirement or college savings accounts. It may sound unbelievable, but our only agenda is to make it easier for you to get your financial life on track.
We like Target Date funds because they invest in many different stocks and bonds and the fund managers adjust the mix of stocks and bonds throughout the years. In addition, Target Date funds take on less risk over time, again without you having to get involved in the details. It all goes back to our goal of making things easy, effective, and affordable.
We specifically like Target Date funds from Vanguard, American Funds, and T. Rowe Price, companies respected for the quality of their funds. It’s hard to find a lower-cost provider than Vanguard. Both Vanguard and T. Rowe Price are widely used in employer retirement plans, and American Funds manages a well-respected college savings plan.
Once you become a client and create your plan, which is a relatively quick process, we make it easy for you to open your Bicycle Financial Emergency Fund, Individual Retirement Account, or College Savings Account via our online website.
To fund your account(s), you can send a check, do a direct deposit from a bank account (ACH), or wire funds from another financial institution. Don’t worry – we walk you through the process.
The minimum amount of money you need to open your account depends on the specific fund that you select. For our Individual Retirement Account, the Vanguard Target Date funds require a minimum investment of $1,000, whereas the T. Rowe Price Target Date funds require $2,500. For College Savings Accounts, the minimum investment is $300.
After you open the account with your initial deposit, Vanguard and T. Rowe Price will accept ongoing investments of at least $100.
All Registered Investment Advisors like Bicycle Financial are required to work with a financial custodian. In our case, we use a custodial services company called Shareholders Service Group (SSG). Like a bank, a custodial services company provides an investor a place to store their money (such as the money they put in their Emergency Savings, Individual Retirement, or College Savings accounts). When you purchase a Target Date Fund, SSG facilitates that activity on your behalf, working behind the scenes with a clearing company called Pershing, which is a subsidiary of a bank called BNY Mellon.
It depends. When you buy or sell a mutual fund, like a Target Date fund, in your retirement account, you will pay a transaction fee if you go with a Vanguard Target Date fund, but you won’t pay one if you go with a T. Rowe Price Target Date fund. But even with the fee, the Vanguard fund may be the most cost-effective way for you to invest over the long term because of Vanguard’s low ongoing mutual fund fees versus T Rowe Price’s higher ongoing fees.
No. If we recommend a particular mutual fund company, it's only because we like their products, pricing, and overall philosophy and approach. Mutual fund companies, like Vanguard, charge fees for their mutual funds which you would have to pay whether your account is with Bicycle or another firm. The fund company sets their own fees and we have no control or involvement.
Your employer and Bicycle Financial
If you leave your employer, you’ll retain access to your financial accounts at no cost.
We’ve spoken with employers of all sizes (from 30 to 200,000+ employees) and would be happy to speak with yours about offering Bicycle Financial as a benefit for employees.
Let us know your info on our Contact Us form and, in the Comments box, tell us the name of your employer and anyone we should contact there. We’ll be happy to take it from there. Thanks!
Yes. We want satisfied customers, even if they need to take a break from us (sad as that is to think about).
If you have a question about how to open a Bicycle Financial account, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question about an account that is already opened, please call our financial custodian, Shareholders Service Group, at 1-800-380-7370 and they will be able to assist you.