How to Choose Financial Planning Software

Jhe days of doing calculations with pencil, paper and a clumsy calculator are long gone. Financial planning software allows anyone, from individuals to advisors to large corporations, to make personalized recommendations to their clients.

The right software can overcome common barriers to creating and updating customer plans, as well as streamline the entire experience. In a digital world, it is more important than ever for professionals and customers to have easy and secure access to information.

Although cost is a factor, it’s not the only one to consider when choosing financial planning software for your business.

Consider the needs of your customers and yours

Like most things in life, financial planning software isn’t for everyone. Here are four factors to consider before considering specific options:

1. Who are your customers?

Do you work with individual Millennials and Gen Z clients who are just beginning their financial journey? Or do you work with large families who have multiple homes or a family business?

Not all clients need all the bells and whistles that a particular piece of software might offer. But on the other hand, as your customers’ situation becomes more complex, you will need software that can meet their needs.

2. How do you communicate?

Do your clients need a hands-on, in-person approach? Or are they comfortable with digital tools?

You’ll want to make sure that any software you choose will match the way your customers prefer to communicate and share information. A customer-facing portal or vault can give them more control over the process, but it only works if they’re willing to use it.

3. Are your practice goals based on cash flow?

Your software is no good if it doesn’t match your planning method. Some options work purely on goal-based planning, where you determine key financial goals and make decisions based on them. Others focus on cash flow planning, which examines cash inflows and outflows and assesses how to achieve potential goals.

Some software options allow for either method of scheduling, but if you commit to either, make sure the software you choose is compatible.

4. Is it secure?

As cyberattacks increase in frequency and complexity, it is imperative to protect your customers’ personal data.

Beyond practicing healthy email, document and password hygiene, look for a software option with strong and frequently updated security policies. Two-factor authentication for user access, data backups, and encryption are useful keywords to watch for in a company’s listed security features.

Popular Financial Planning Software Options

These eight options are popular solutions in the financial planning community:

1. Advisor360

Advisor360 offers three options: Essentials, Extended and Enterprise. Essentials is the most basic, but its advisor portal provides a dashboard with real-time information. The expanded version allows advisors to create proposals and view analytics and also adds a client portal with account aggregation. Enterprise is the most robust offering, with digital onboarding tools and advisor billing. Prices are not publicly available.

2. Electronic Money Advisor

e-money advisor offers basic and advanced planning tools with a client portal that updates in real time. Pricing isn’t public, but there are four package tiers to suit your needs: Plus, Pro, Premier, and Growth.

3.inStream

inStream offers a variety of tools, including a nine-scenario matrix and safe savings rate analysis for younger clients. An individual advisor can sign up for $149 per month ($1,499 per year).

4. Investnet Money Guide

Investnet platforms include MoneyGuideOne, MoneyGuidePro, and MoneyGuideElite. The most basic version, MoneyGuideOne, offers variable testing, goal setting, and risk tolerance, but MoneyGuidePro and MoneyGuideElite are more robust.

For an individual advisor, MoneyGuideOne costs $50 per month, MoneyGuidePro costs $125 per month, and MoneyGuideElite costs $175 per month, each requiring an annual commitment.

5. Money Tree

money tree offers two options: Moneytree Plan and Moneytree Advise. Moneytree Advise is for advisors who work with clients who are just starting to build wealth or who are preparing to retire. Moneytree Plan, on the other hand, offers in-depth planning of complex financial situations as well as access to estate planning, tax planning and real estate planning.

Moneytree Advise costs $695 per year. The Moneytree plan costs $1,495 per year.

6. NaviPlan

NaviPlan The software provides standard planning tools along with features such as equity compensation, estate and insurance planning, and guided retirement planning. Prices are not available on the NaviPlan website.

7. Orion

Orion offers both goal-based planning and cash flow planning and promises robust simulations. Pricing isn’t available online in advance, but retail prices start at $12,000, according to the XY Planning Network.

8. Capital right

RightCapital offers three versions: Basic, Premium and Platinum. The basic edition includes features for investing, retirement, college planning and a student loan management module, as well as a secure vault and tax planning tools. The Premium version includes account aggregation, smart transaction categorization, and business intelligence analysis.

For an individual advisor, the basic version costs $124.95 per month, while the Premium plan costs $149.95 per month.

You should call RightCapital for information on its Platinum service.

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