Financial Planning Software Vendor Reviews, Evaluations, and Comparisons
|Goals vs. Cash Flow Based Financial Software||Current Financial Software Review Status Page|
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This page is mostly for financial advisors using financial planning software to run reports for their clients, although it's for anyone shopping intelligently for financial plan software.
We're trying to do a fair and balanced review, so if you dispute any of this, just send an e-mail and we'll look at it and if you're right, then we'll edit that and give you a freebie to thank you.
Financial Software Vendor Reviews
Financial Guidance (Financial Compass)
Dozens more to come eventually
Why We're Different, Less Expensive, and Better Compared to the Competition
The one-liners below have long-winded explanations that either follow, or are way too long for this page, so they may be on a different page:
Financial plan software based in Excel eliminates common problems and has many advantages:
Here's a page with more marketing blurbs and compares our money management systems to competitors - FOR ADVISORS.
The same thing as above but FOR DIY INVESTORS: Turnkey money management systems anyone can use - DIY investors and advisors
Unlike many other vendors that don't even have a phone number, you can talk with someone as knowledgeable about personal finance software as they come.
Unlike most everyone else, we have both modular, and fully-integrated financial plan software. It's almost comprehensive, because it has modules for almost every facet of financial planning and investment management.
Modular means you don't need to buy nor use the whole suite of money calculators if you just want to perform one part of the financial planning process - like just retirement. In other words, you don't need to input all of the data needed to run the retirement software, if you just want to focus on the details of making a simple college funding plan.
You can pick and choose just the planning modules you want à la carte. Other vendors make you buy everything at once (because it just doesn't come in pieces), which means it will cost you several times as much.
Then it usually makes you input much more data than what's needed to perform only the select tasks you want.
Being modular saves a lot of time, money, and work.
Because all of our money calculators are based on MS Excel, you can also integrate the modules to create a comprehensive financial plan. You can share data between the modules as little or as much as you want to, for maximum control. Then there's also a fully-integrated planner where modules are already hard-wired together.
Other financial spreadsheet vendors also usually don't have:
• With monthly-updated mutual fund picks, so you can manage money like a pro without the need for any other investment software, or a Finra Series 7 (a 6 is all that's needed),
• A comprehensive array of Financial Plan Fact Finders,
• A way to accurately see how much life insurance is needed, both now and in the future,
• Dozens of money tools for managing things like bonds, rental real estate, comparing investment strategies, and doing all of the little jobs clients want professional advisers to do. We excel in the little financial tools to do the oddball jobs,
• A free Money eBook with a vast cornucopia of wisdom to solve mysteries about the financial services industry, bunk common myths, and how-to DIY money management (both for yourself and for your clients),
• Several versions of retirement planning software from simple to the most elaborate and comprehensive,
• A large array of free tips, tutorials, and downloading of many money tools to help your practice,
• And a list of most all online free financial calculators.
Our initial prices are lower than competitors, plus ongoing costs are much lower. Annual updating is less than half what competitors charge (only 50% compared to the usual 100% of most all other vendors).
Then you can pick and choose only the modules you need, to greatly lower the price. So you're not stuck buying the whole comprehensive package, when you'll probably only use all of those functions a quarter of the time.
One of the biggest reasons financial plan software is so expensive, is because of the Broker Dealer relationship. BDs usually only approve financial planning software from vendors they have financial relationships with.
Also once a BD goes through the arduous, time consuming, and expensive process of getting a particular financial plan software platform installed, approved, integrated into their other systems, then send Reps to expensive formal training classes, they're stuck with everything for decades, because they don't have the resources to go through that whole process again. Then they don't let their Reps use anything else via this (mostly fake) compliance approval process.
This captive audience creates a quasi-monopoly, which allows money software vendors to charge much more money than their software is worth. Then there are the secret kickback deals between these vendors and the BDs. Some pass this back to the Reps disguised as "discounts," and this is then hyped up as, "a benefit the Rep can only get through our BD."
This conflict of interest creates a vicious circle that feeds on itself. The result is the state of financial plan software today - it's way too expensive initially, they ding you way too much every year in annual licensing fees, it doesn't do the jobs very well, and Reps aren't allowed to use better money software that will do a better job for their clients. Management of both the BDs and the financial spreadsheet vendors laugh all the way to the bank in the short-term, but over the long term, quality Reps eventually wise up and quit these kinds of BD's to become their own RIAs.
Next, our prices are also so low because Excel makes it easy to program, then everything "stays put." This eliminates the need to employ expensive software programmers.
These "code-programmers" have to spend too much time on making things stay put. It's a constant battle keeping up with Windows operating system updates, compiler changes and updates (most programming languages become obsolete every few years), and maintaining "millions of lines of complex code." So with code-programming, you can't just make something, seal it up, forget about it, and then expect it to work week after week. It just always has to be something with code. Remember the big MS Office format change in '07 where the files went from xls to xlsx? Huge change, right? Changes of that magnitude occur every few years when you're dealing with code compilers.
This has nothing to do with making financial plans, and all of these costs are just passed onto you.
In addition to making their money software cost twice as much as it's worth, this is what's responsible for making things not work, crashes, fixes, bugs, patches, mysteries, numbers not adding up, integration that doesn't work, and time consuming support calls (if they even answer the phone).
You don't see any benefit from any of that other than the annual, "Crashes will stop when you pay up again to update and start using the new version." Then this cycle just starts over again and repeats.
The bottom-line here is that when financial software is based in Excel, ALL of these problems go away forever, users get to save a ton of money, are not constantly annoyed, and are able to get on with their lives in peace.
The way our retirement software, comprehensive financial planning software, and college planner software performs Monte Carlo simulations is superior to all other vendors. This means better forecasting with lower risk going forward in the Real World for you and your clients.
Basically, most other vendors just iterate the rate of return on investments, and comes up with a probability of success number. Ours does that too, but at the same time, it also iterates inflation and taxes as well.
These two variables are responsible for much more outcome failure than just not realizing a needed rate of return.
We also use a more realistic range of iterated variables than all other vendors.
The end result of financial planning software vendors that try to "do everything for everyone" is already out there. These vendors have the capability of performing many of these tasks, but the end result is that they don't do hardly any of them very well. They do them adequately, but don't excel in any particular one of them.
We excel in the most important areas, because we can.
The goals of this kind of investor software, from the client's point of view, are to make the best financial plans possible, and make investment portfolios match clients' lives as closely as possible.
Vendors that make expensive financial planner software that does everything for you, may seem to make your life a little easier, but it doesn't excel in what clients' want most from you - Real World results they can use to make important decisions that will affect their lives for decades to come.
This financial plan software excels in actually doing the financial planning and investment management work better and more accurately, than any other vendor, for less money.
We don't want to get bogged down in all of the very expensive and time-consuming areas that other vendors already have covered.
We want to continue to be the premier source for financial planning software that does the "heavy lifting," for the most profitable tasks, the most important tasks, getting the most correct answers to the big questions clients will pay to get answered; and of course, actually getting good investment returns with low risk. This is how YOU make money.
Other vendors are like a 10-course vegetarian meal - lots of different tasty things decorated with lots of useless fluff, but no satisfying fatty meat. If you went to a restaurant and paid $100 for this; and then the next day went to one where you got a two-pound fresh lobster tail and a two-pound hunk of filet mignon, both for $50, which one would you go back to?
The one that satisfied what you needed the most for the lowest price, of course. That's the best metaphor we can think of to describe the difference between us and the code-driven vendors. People want and need big chunks of the best juicy red meat, and so that's what we chose to excel in.
So obviously we recommend buying our suite of financial planner software, then in addition to that, buying financial software from the best vendors that excel in doing all of the other functions we don't care to do. For example: Morningstar for the investment database, TurboTax for taxes, and Leimberg's Number Cruncher for estate planning. This is how you can perform all of your required software functions better and cheaper.
Then not only will you have financial plan and money management software that excels in everything you'll need, but it will probably end up costing less in total than buying comprehensive planners that try to do everything for everyone.
It may be a bit harder to work with, but the bottom-line is that you're going to be able to do much better jobs for paying clients - and that's how you get paid and survive. Clients will give money to, and will refer their friends and family to, those that can deliver competitive Real World results at the lowest cost.
When you buy financial software that claims to do it all, then you're getting tons of fancy fluff, but with little red meat. Just ask your clients which they prefer, and they'll tell you that they want the meat, and couldn't care less about the fluff.
• These financial tools excel in working like things do in the Real World - by allowing control over most everything, having the flexibility to analyze virtually any investment portfolio / financial planning / retirement planning scenario.
This gives clients what they want and need with no conflicts of interest, which helps keep financial planners out of compliance trouble, and then allowing total control over printed reports. All for less money.
For consumers, it helps you invest more wisely, doesn't overwhelm you with meaningless text, charts, numbers and reports, and gets the jobs done better than if you were to hire a highly-paid financial planner.
• Commission-based financial planners don't need a Finra Series 7 license to manage money using this investment software. A Series 6 is all that's required (if you stick to our all-mutual funds program).
• You can usually get your financial software delivered (and working) via e-mail in less than an hour.
• There are periodic marketing sales when you can get huge discounts.
• With the multiple-user versions, which they all are, it's easy to get the programs to work on more than one computer, because you can just use a USB drive, or e-mail the programs to yourself as attachments. So if you're half way done making a retirement plan in the office, then have to go home, you can just e-mail it to yourself, then pick up where you left off at home. Then send it back to your office when you're done. You cannot do this with code-driven financial software, unless it's in the clouds. Try it and see that it only works on that one computer at the office.
• There are no indirect costs with this financial plan software, such as training, software add-ons, or hardware / database / network upgrades. So you won't have to buy anything else to get going.
• There are no conflicts of interest of any kind here. We just want you to succeed at doing your job so you can make a good living helping the financial lives of one American family at a time. Our money calculators don't exist simply to help a life insurance company peddle more product that's rarely good in any way, move proprietary / captive investment products.
• This is also the place for people who are annoyed by e-commerce: This website and money calculators are 100% clean. This means there are no cookies, ads, Java, scripts, flash, Active-X, pop-ups, redirects driving you to marketing sites, putting you on junk e-mail or phone lists, slow-loading videos or graphics, it won't put web shortcut icons on your desktop, alter your favorites list or browser, or make you go online to do your work. None of that here.
You don't even need an Internet connection to login into an insecure cloud server.
There's also no macros on the financial spreadsheets (or Word docxs), other than the Monte Carlo macros. So there's no "hidden" programming that's capable of doing anything that you don't know about.
• You're not going to be "marketed to" in any way once you're a customer. There's a small army of under-employed people wanting to make an easy living at home by telemarketing, e-mailing, postal mailing, and spamming the clientele of financial software companies (financial advisors). They're using the famous bank robber, Willie Sutton's, method of getting rich quick by painting a target on your back because they think, "That's where the money is."
They either want to contact your current customers to increase sales, get referrals; or use your data to sell to others (like spam lists, the NAPFA database, lead generation firms. your competitors, etc.).
So we've "been there and done that" when it comes to what everyone else does. We know how to do it all more logically, more straightforward and to the point, faster, more bug-free, much cheaper, with more user control, better printing, and with much better Real World results.
|Financial Planning Software Modules For Sale
(are listed below)
Financial Planning Software that's Fully-Integrated
Goals-Only "Financial Planning Software"
Retirement Planning Software Menu: Something for Everyone
Our Unique Financial Services
Mr. Market Timer's Unique Market-neutral Stock Market Timing Services
Miscellaneous Pages of Interest
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