The fundamentals of financial planning form the bedrock of any comprehensive and successful financial strategy. These essential elements help individuals and families achieve their financial goals, mitigate risks, and secure their financial future. However, to stay ahead of the game, advisors must utilize the right software to supercharge their ability to deliver personalized and holistic financial planning.
In this digital age, technology has become a driving force in revolutionizing the financial industry. Gone are the days of relying on excel sheets, replaced by innovative software that empower advisors to make data-driven decisions with ease and confidence. From sophisticated algorithms for personalized investment strategies to intuitive apps that track debt, technology has opened up a world of possibilities for financial advisors to better serve their clients.
In this blog post we will delve into the fundamentals of holistic financial planning and the best software for advisors to help streamline these services.
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The first step in financial planning is to define clear and achievable financial goals with your clients. These goals can be short-term (e.i., paying off debt), medium-term (e.i., buying a home), or long-term (e.i., saving for retirement). Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provides a roadmap for the entire financial planning process.
The Best Goal Setting Software for Advisors
- eMoney Advisor – With eMoney, you can organize your clients’ data and map out the road to their goals, all while stress testing for risks. There is also a client portal so that clients have the ability to go in and see the progress that they are (or are not) making towards their goals.
- RightCapital – From interactive retirement scenarios and tax-efficient distributions to insurance evaluation, and estate planning, RightCapital simplifies financial planning so anyone can understand how to plan for their future.
- Naviplan – Naviplan gives your clients the ability to access their financial plan anytime and manually adjust contributions and time horizons to see how they can impact their goal coverage.
Budgeting and Cash Flow Management
Budgeting gets a bad reputation – so feel free to call it cash flow management, financial planning or however else you want to creatively disguise it. Regardless, creating a budget is crucial to understanding how much money is coming in and going out each month for your clients. Budgeting helps individuals allocate their income effectively, spend more consciously, and identify areas where they can save or invest more. Cash flow management allows you to help ensure that your clients can cover their necessary expenses, save for goals, and avoid unnecessary debt.
The Best Budgeting and Cash Flow Management Software
- Naviplan – Built on a calculation engine in the financial planning market, NaviPlan allows advisors to cater their services to any client, from simple goal-based assessments to advanced cash flow planning analysis.
- MaxMyInterest, Advisor Cash & Flourish – These solutions tend to allow you to see account balances across all your clients’ linked checking and savings accounts as well as help your clients earn better returns on their cash.
Debt and Loan Management
Providing debt and loan management as part of a financial advisor’s service offering is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows advisors to create holistic financial plans that consider both assets and liabilities, resulting in more informed decisions and effective advice. Second, debt management helps reduce financial stress for clients and mitigates the risks associated with uncontrolled debt. By assisting clients in developing structured repayment plans, advisors improve cash flow management and promote interest savings, leading to better financial stability and improved opportunities for wealth-building. Offering debt management services builds trust and loyalty with clients, who appreciate comprehensive solutions that address various aspects of their financial well-being.
Ultimately, addressing debt management is essential for establishing a strong financial foundation and helping clients achieve their financial goals with greater confidence. It aligns with the goal of improving overall financial health and helping clients achieve their short-term and long-term financial objectives.
The Best Debt and Loan Management Software for Advisors
- Optivice – Optivice is an all-in-one platform with a complete view of all of your client’s debt, credit card scores, debt repayment goals, and proactive reminders to ensure both you and your clients don’t let debt and credit slip through the cracks.
Risk Management and Insurance
Risk management involves identifying potential risks that could impact your client’s financial well-being and implementing strategies to mitigate them. In addition to monitoring and dealing with the financial risks associated with investing, insurance plays a critical role in risk management. As an advisor, you can provide guidance to your clients to help protect them against unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, disability, property damage, or death. Common types of insurance include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and property and casualty insurance.
The Best Risk Management and Insurance Software for Advisors
- DataPoints – Uncover your client’s money mindset with DataPoints client discovery tools that pinpoint financial attitudes, wealth-building behaviors, and investor risk tolerance.
- Morningstar – The Morningstar risk rating is a ranking given by research firm Morningstar to publicly traded mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). This can be a useful tool in mitigating investment risk for your clients.
- Nitrogen – with this software advisors can quantify client risk tolerance and compare how much risk a client has with how much they want and need.
- Policygenius Pro – Policygenius Pro is a turnkey insurance fulfillment platform that streamlines the process to get your clients the coverage they need.
Investment planning focuses on building and managing a diversified investment portfolio tailored to the individual’s risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial goals. Proper asset allocation, considering a mix of stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investment vehicles, helps balance risk and return based on the investor’s objectives.
The Best Investment Planning Software for Advisors
- Morningstar Advisor Workstation – this tool supports advisors with the latest Morningstar investment data, tools, and reports to serve existing clients and generate new business. By integrating with additional advisor systems, it automatically brings in current client and account data for the clearest view of your book of business.
- Envestnet – Envestnet’s software provides everything from comprehensive manager research to portfolio consulting and management. Their investment solutions help you create portfolios that align to your clients’ goals.
Retirement planning is essential for ensuring financial security during the post-work years. It involves estimating the amount needed for retirement, considering factors such as inflation, life expectancy, and lifestyle expectations. Advisors help clients choose the right retirement accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s, and develop strategies to accumulate sufficient savings to maintain their desired standard of living in retirement.
The Best Retirement Planning Software for Advisors
- Income Lab – Income Lab is designed to assist financial advisors in creating comprehensive retirement income plans for their clients. It is primarily focused on helping address the challenges associated with generating a sustainable income during retirement.
- SSAnalyzer – The SSAnalzyer makes it easy for financial advisors to give quality advice to clients on Social Security with minimal effort.
- Retirement Analyzer – This software allows advisors to create and share financial plans with clients while modeling different financial strategies to help give clients a better retirement picture.
Tax planning aims to optimize tax efficiency within the bounds of the tax laws. This involves understanding the tax implications of various financial decisions and structuring investments and transactions to minimize tax liabilities. Tax planning may include tax-efficient investments, retirement account contributions, charitable giving, and strategic timing of income and deductions.
The Best Tax Planning Software for Advisors
- Holistiplan – Holistiplan helps scale the process of tax planning by quickly reading tax returns, generating client deliverables, and creating instant scenario analysis.
- Bloomberg Tax – This suite of tax research and software solutions includes global tax intelligence and calculation software that enables advisors with timely and in-depth information needed for tax planning.
Estate planning is crucial for preserving and transferring wealth to future generations or intended beneficiaries. It involves creating wills, trusts, and other legal documents that dictate how assets should be distributed upon the individual’s passing. Proper estate planning can also help minimize estate taxes and ensure that one’s wishes are carried out effectively.
The Best Estate Planning Software for Advisors
- FP Alpha – FP Alpha’s estate planning tool allow advisors to automatically upload their client’s estate planning documents, and display the flow of a client’s current estate plan. The tool compares alternative estate plan scenarios, involving the new policy proposals, to what clients currently have and recommends alternative scenarios that better align with their goals and overall situation.
- Trust & Will – Trust & Will is an easy way to create, edit, store, and share estate plans online. Advisors are able to bulk purchase estate plans for their clients, send their unique referral link, monitor client progress, and review their clients’ documents. Advisors also have access to a personalized dashboard to offer clients a discount and have visibility into their progress and documents.
Financial Planning Software
While there is no one magic pill (or software) for financial advisors, there is some software available that comes as close as possible to providing an all in one solution. These solutions tend to focus on
The Best Financial Planning Software for Advisors
- RightCapital – RightCapital’s mission is to transform complexity into clarity for advisors by combining retirement planning, insurance needs review, tax efficient distribution and more into their software.
- Moneytree – With Moneytree’s highly precise calculation engine, you can effectively connect with your clients, rapidly evaluate their financial situations, and craft thorough plans to help them achieve their dreams, collaboratively.
- eMoney – eMoney provides advisors with extensive products such as a client portal, spending and budgeting tools, insights and data, and business analytics.
- Asset-Map – Asset-Map displays all of a household’s members, entities, financial assets, liabilities, cash-flows, and insurance policies so advisors can address gaps in a financial plan, uncover new opportunities, and track progress towards goals.
- Elements – Elements provides a high level overview of your clients finances without getting stuck in the weeds. With it’s fun and innovative interface it’s a great tool for younger advisors to get just the right amount of information they need to build out a financial plan.
The importance of having the right software cannot be overlooked when it comes to holistic financial planning. Software enables personalized financial advice based on each individual. Sophisticated personalization enhances the effectiveness of holistic financial planning and increases the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
Additionally, software specifically built for advisors enables seamless collaboration between advisors and clients, promoting transparent communication and efficient sharing of information. Virtual meetings, secure document storage, shared goal tracking, and online dashboards create a conducive environment for ongoing discussions and adjustments to financial plans as circumstances change.
By combining holistic financial planning with cutting-edge software, advisors can navigate the complexities of their client’s financial journey more effectively – laying the groundwork for informed decisions and successful long-term financial planning. As the financial landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology becomes increasingly crucial in building a robust and adaptable financial strategy that aligns with each client’s unique goals and aspirations.