NaviPlan Select V12.x Financial Planning Software Review, Evaluation, and Comparisons
|Main Financial Planning Software Comparison Page||See the 2012 NaviPlan Review||Current Financial Software Review Status Page||Real cash flow-based Financial Planning Software and Goalware|
(is listed below. The financial planning software modules for sale are on the right-side column)
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|An Overall Product Classification, Generic Review, Evaluation of Their Functions, and Detailed Comparisons with Tools For Money
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NaviPlan Review, Evaluation, and Comparison
Generic Description: Integrated and comprehensive financial planning, estate planning, and tax estimation software.
Market: Mostly BD Reps selling life insurance and annuities (with a smaller number of RIAs not).
Review Date: June '14.
Other Names or Sites They Go By: Advicent Solutions, LP.
Advicent now sells both NaviPlan and Financial Profiles. The combination of the two is now called NaviPro. Advicent is owned by Vista Equity Partners. ZyWave is not affiliated with Advicent anymore.
What Module on Tools For Money it Competes With, and is the Best to Compare To: Integrated Financial Planner.
Platform: Code-driven and cloud-based only. Their system is ISO / IEC 27001:2005 cloud security certified.
Price: $2,100 a year, with a two-year buying commitment.
For $1,000 you can buy everything on this site, which provides much more value than just financial planning software. Then you don't have to renew if you don't want to. Even if you don't want to renew Premium after the first year, you still have to pay another $2,100.
Annual Update Prices: 100%, so you pay full price every year.
Tools For Money is only 50%.
Finra Reviewed: No, because it has a Monte Carlo simulator.
Buying Caveats: There's a two-year contractual commitment to buy NaviPlan Select (just like buying a smart-phone, you're stuck paying for two years).
You also may need to spend time and money on their formal training classes, as their directions, videos, and tutorials are for old versions, and are hard to find, and in general, it's complex and "hard to use."
Printing: Typical code-based platform where you click print, and it spits out pre-programmed reports in PDF format that can only be altered by the user if exported (mail merges) to Word where you can reinvent the printing wheel all you like. So control over printing is possible, just not easy.
With all Tools For Money software, you have total control over all printing.
Delivery Methods: Cloud-based.
Number of Computers the Program Will Run On: Cloud-based.
With all Tools For Money software, you can also use anything for anything on an unlimited numbers of computers.
NaviPlan Comparison Conclusions; Comments, Opinions, and Observations
NaviPro is their new name for the bundle of NaviPlan and Financial Profiles. So NaviPlan is still called NaviPlan (Select, or currently Version 12.x).
After everyone is forced to "migrate to their cloud" by Q3 '14 there will be no other versions (no more Premium, Standard, Extended, Desktop, etc.).
Select v12.x is 100% cloud-based, requires a two-year contractual commitment, and costs $2,100 a year. The price varies because of the usual backdoor kickback deals with Broker Dealers. For example, this text is from LPL's site: "LPL Financial offers discounted pricing for NaviPlan financial planning solutions."
Next, there's some fails going on over there. Here's what happens most every time I call: You dial their main number, (855) 890-5900. Then if you press 2 for sales (to get the most basic of information, like price), all you get is transferred to an answering machine. I've tried several times over a few weeks, and have yet to get to talk with a human. Then when you do things like press 3 for the operator, and start asking questions, they go into how the company split into two parts, so now you have to call a different number to talk with the NaviPro people. Then they say it's the same number you just called - (855) 890-5900. When I said that, the gal was clueless.
I've also tried several times via their "Request Trial Periods" and things like that via e-mail, and so far, they have not answered any of them.
They have a few different phone numbers showing on the web, but calling every one is just the same voicemail black hole of nobody home (they seem to all go to their main number, which they rarely answer).
Most links to beef in their documentation, and/or anything found online, go to dead ZyWave and/or EISI websites. So there's not Much anywhere, or it's several years old, because there's little-to nothing at Advicentsolutions.com. Even their current user manual wants you to go to support.eisi.com/naviplan, which hasn't existed for years.
So I'm guessing you'll have to input your personal data or call them to get a screener to call you back to play with their "free demo program." So they're probably going to have a salesperson "follow-up" until you either buy or tell them to bugger off.
When inputting sample plans with a NaviPlan user, I found one of the most egregious calculation errors possible in financial planning software. Then it took them over a year to fix it.
In addition to finding a ginormous error in all of their asset cash flows, there were dozens of minor errors that I still have yet to get answers on. So our IFP still is the leader in accurate financial plan numbers.
Calculation error: "The plan inflation rate is used to project Social Security payments going forward." This means you have to use the plan's inflation rate for Social Security too. In other words, it can't be different. I think one should use at least 1% less because, that's more conservative, and matches what happens in the Real World (everyone's personal inflation rate is usually much higher than the government's reported CPI number, which is what SS is based on).
Now they're calling it "goals-based" too. They couldn't call it "goal-based" of "goal-focused" because other vendors that sell "fake" financial planning software already "own" those words. When you're in "goals-based mode," most all future numbers are wrong (fake), and when you're in "cash flow-based mode" most future numbers are correct (as they're going to get using code-based software).
Here's what they say about their tax modules: "Note: NaviPlan does not offer comprehensive tax planning, and the use of these methods should not replace professional tax-planning advice."
They get basic concepts wrong, as you can read from this paste from their users manual, "Asset allocation is the process of aligning the clients€™ risk tolerances, financial objectives, and time horizon with their investment portfolio.". That's just wrong on so many levels, I don't know where to start. The correct definition of asset allocation is here. On the same subject, their investment risk tolerance scoring tool is also too wrong in too many ways, that it shouldn't be used either.
There were no major improvements seen from V11x (other than major bug fixes, Peterson's college price database, new presentation tools, and a chart tweak). They say they've made, "A dozen improvements," so most of them must have been bug fixes (they don't list them).
Their tables, charts, and graphs are still primitive in the business, are missing dollar and other signs, and are basically the same ones recycled with different data over and over again. In Feb '14 a NaviPlan user told me, "They made another graph!" Like that was a miracle or something. I have yet to find it, so they probably just tweaked an existing graph.
So other than fixing some bugs and adding a new graph, presentation tools, and adding Peterson's database, v12.x is the same as older versions, just totally cloud-based, and much more expensive, with a two-year buying commitment.
Most all of their tables, charts, and graphs, can be made to look better and be more understandable by making a Word docx or Excel spreadsheet from scratch and plopping the numbers from real planning software into them. They're not formatted well, don't make much sense, and numbers are missing dollar signs. You can export them into Word to do this, but it's so cumbersome that if it was me, I'd just type better text and then insert much better tables, charts, and graphs from Excel, and paste them into Word.
|Financial Planning Software Modules For Sale
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Miscellaneous Pages of Interest
|Financial Planner Features / Functions||IFP: $500||NaviPlan: ~$2,500+ (with a two-year commitment)|
|Annual Update Prices||$250||~$2,500+ for one more year, minimum|
|Lifetime Subscriptions Available||Yes||No|
|Do You Have to Buy it for a Whole Year?||No, you can pay a whole $2 to use it for one day||Yes, you have to pay their whole annual cost to use it, even if you only need it for a week|
|Asset Allocator Module||Yes, and comprehensive||If you have the Ibbotson module, then yes, but primitive and very limited|
|Are You Spending Hundreds of Dollars Per Year in Software Licensing Fees to Feed a Small Army of Travelling Software Salespeople to Fly Around the World Schmoozing Advisers into Buying their Software (with lavish fine dining, gifts, freebies, and entertainment)? (If it says, "Yes" to the right, then their budgets for that are in the millions a year. YOU are paying for that, and it provides zero value to you in software features - all it does is add hundreds of dollars to their prices)||No||Yes|
|Number of Asset Classes their Asset Allocation Software Uses||Unlimited||Never saw more than 13 in their reports, then I didn't see how to change anything|
|Asset Account Draw-Down Analysis Tools||Very Limited||Comprehensive|
|Deals with Pre-retirement Annual Cash Flow Surpluses and Deficits (the very heart of the financial plan)||Yes, with total control over which assets they flow in and out of annually, because it's 100% "cash flow-based"||Yes, you can also set a surplus growth and deficit discount rate, like you should be able to|
|Integration with Other Financial Software and/or Ability to Download Account Holdings from Online Custodians||Yes to both||Yes, great integration with Albridge Solutions, dbCams, and Morningstar's Advisor Workstation. But I didn't see how to import brokerage account data into the plan|
|Ability to Get Detailed Annual Expenses, Incomes, and Income Goals at Retirement from other Software (like our Personal Budget & Cash Flow Projector)||Yes||No|
|Built-in Budgeting and Cash Flow Modules||Yes, and comprehensive||Yes, good, but limited control over odd cash flows|
|Accounts for Budgeting of Replacement Costs||Yes, total control||No, so you'd have to do that manually and input them as a new expense|
|Built-in College Planner Module||Yes, and comprehensive||Yes|
|Database of College Costs||No, it's best to either look current costs up online, or call the college because of stale data||No|
|Life Insurance Calculator Module Included||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Project Life Insurance Needs into the Future||Yes||Somewhat, you can select one future year and it acts like the current year, but you cannot see a list of annual need values|
|Life Insurance Needs Module: Ability to Account for Replacing ALL Incomes, Set the Number of Years for it to be Replaced, the Percentage of it to be Replaced, then have a Unique Discount Rate Input for All Incomes Individually. Next, Ability to Choose Between Inputting Needs and Available Resources via Manual Input or Automatically (where numbers are internally generated from inside the financial plan)||Yes to All||No to All|
|Life Insurance Needs Module: Ability to have the Same Features and Functionality for Calculating the Client's Capital Needs if the Spouse Passes in Every Year||Yes||Somewhat, more limited than calculating the spouse's needs if the client passes|
|Ability to Easily Stop Life Insurance Policies (paying for premiums and face values), and/or Change Face Amounts (or premiums) in Any Year||Yes||Somewhat, with a lot more work|
|Number of Versions||Unlimited, and you can see two at a time||Several without making a new, unlimited if you make new plans|
|Ability to Easily Make a Proposed Plan from Current Plan Data||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to See ALL Inputted Data on One Page||Yes||No|
|Total Control Over Printing||Yes||No, but you can mail merge the PDFs into Word (and then Excel) for control|
|Ability to Perform Any and All Advanced "What-if" and Scenario Functions||Yes||No, better than most, but still very limited|
|Built-in Portfolio Optimizer||No||Yes|
|Monte Carlo Simulator||Yes||Yes|
|Monte Carlo Simulator on the College Planning Modules||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Designate a Financial Plan as the Current or Proposed Version with One Click||Yes, there all the time, no need to click||Yes, always there so you don't have to click anything to see the Proposed plan (which they sometimes call "Recommended" and/or "Assumed")|
|Ability to See Both Current or Proposed Versions at the Same Time||Yes||Yes|
|Input Spouse's Data Separately||Yes||Yes|
|Designate an Asset Account as Belonging to Client or Spouse||Yes||Yes|
|Designate an Asset Account as Jointly Owned||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Have Client and Spouse Retire in Different Years||Yes||Yes|
|Total Control Over Social Security Between the Two People Separately||Yes||Yes, somewhat, but you can't model survivor's benefits starting at age 60 (62 is the earliest age)|
|Ability to Change Social Security Income for Each Person Separately, AND in Every Year||Yes||Somewhat, very limited|
|Ability to Control the Social Security Tax Inclusion Rate in Every Year||Yes, you can choose between 0%, 50%, or 85% in each year||No|
|Ability to Set the Age Social Security Starts for Both People Separately||Yes||Yes, but you can't model survivor's benefits starting at age 60 (62 is the earliest age)|
|Ability to Stop Social Security at any Age to Model a Worst-case Scenario||Yes||Somewhat, with limitations|
|Ability to Include Any and All Sources of Annual Miscellaneous Expenses, in Addition to the Generic Annual Income Goal||Yes, you can control every dollar in every year||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Set Social Security Inflation to be Different than the Overall Plan's Inflation Rate||Yes, and it can be whatever you want in every year||No, you're stuck using the plan's global inflation rate for Social Security|
|Ability to Include Any and All Sources of Annual Miscellaneous Incomes||Yes, complete control over everything||Yes, but limited (you can set up earned incomes and the like after retirement, with a COLA and ending year, but there's no controls other than that|
|Ability to Control Withdrawals Using IRS Age 70½ Required Minimum Distributions||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Control Withdrawals Using IRS 72t Distributions||Yes, all three methods||Maybe, didn't see how to input it, so maybe not|
|Investment Account Payout Methods||9||Just a few, didn't see much of a selection other than "flexible" and RMD|
|Ability to Change Asset Payout Methods Midstream||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Start and Stop Asset Withdrawals at Any Year||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Start Asset Withdrawals After Retirement Has Begun||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Start a New Asset at Any Year (even after retirement has started for anyone)||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Set Asset Account Rate of Returns to be Whatever You Want in Any Year||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Have Total Control Over How Much Asset Account Contributions are, and When They Start and Stop Annually||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Control the Tax Rate in Every Year||Yes||No|
|Ability to Set a Tax Inclusion Rate on Each Asset Separately||Yes||No|
|Presentation Page (report) that Shows Each Non-asset and Asset's Estimated Withdrawal Taxes in Every Year||Yes||Somewhat, limited|
|Ability to Simulate Roth IRAs and Conversions||Yes||Yes|
|How Many Years the "Window" Is||75||80|
|Both Client and Spouse Can Have their Own Separate Income Goals, and they can be Whatever You Want in Every Year||Yes, total complete control over both clients separately||Somewhat, you can add "new goals" to the main income goal, but the main goal amounts cannot be tweaked. In the "Calculate Retirement Expenses" section, you input their combined income goals (not separate), then assign an overall inflation rate, then you can do little-to-nothing to it|
|Ability to See and Print All Miscellaneous Incomes and Expenses in Every Year||Yes||Yes|
|Displays the Present Value of Additional Capital Needed to Fund the Combined Income Goal Deficits in Every Year||Yes||No|
|Displays All Basic and Advanced Pertinent Retirement Planning Information||Yes, much more relevant data displays than any other retirement planner||No|
|Calculates and Displays How Much More Money is Needed to Reach the Retirement Goal as Monthly Payments Until Retirement||Yes||Yes|
|Calculates and Displays How Much More Money is Needed to Reach the Retirement Goal as a Current Lump Sum||Yes||Yes|
|Calculates and Displays How Much More Money is Needed to Reach the Retirement Goal as a Current Lump Sum in All Years||Yes||No|
|Allows You to Set a Unique Rate of Return on How Much More Money is Needed to Reach the Retirement Goal (AKA discount rate)||Yes||Yes|
|List All Assets with Pertinent Data (e.g., asset values, percentage this asset is of the whole, age when it becomes effective, contributions, payout ages, payout methods, rate of return assumed, and amount of income subject to taxes)||Yes||Yes but limited|
|Lists All Non-Asset Incomes with Annual Amounts, Ages When They Start, COLA Inflation rates, and if it's Taxable or Not||Yes||Yes but limited|
|Everything Everywhere Displays Year, Both Ages, and Year Numbers for Quick and Better Understanding||Yes||No, and reports usually are missing dollar and percent signs, and chart leader lines|
|Number of Asset Accounts Available||16 personal assets and 9 joint assets in each Current and Proposed version (for a total of 50 in each plan)||Probably unlimited|
|Ability to Account for Fixed Assets Like Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Annuitized Annuities||Yes||Yes|
|Control Over Pensions Between the Two People Separately||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Set a Survivor's Pension to Pay Out Reduced Benefit After Death||Yes, with total control over annual amounts too||Yes|
|Ability to Set an Annual COLA Rate for Fixed Assets Like Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Annuitized Annuities||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Have Pensions and Other Assets Pay a Death Benefit to Cash Flow||Yes, with total control over annual amounts too||Yes|
|Displays the Amount of Annual Deficits When You'll Probably Run Out of Money||Yes||Somewhat, limited|
|Displays When You'll Probably Run Out of Money (AKA "Gap funding")||Yes||Yes|
|Displays Annual Percent of Annual Income Goal Being Met||Yes||No|
|Displays Balance of Available Capital in Every Year With Percentage Increase or Decrease from the Previous Year||Yes||No|
|Displays the Average Weighted Rate of Return on All Investment Assets Combined in Every Year||Yes||No|
|Displays the Present Value of Additional Capital Needed at Retirement in Every Year||Yes||No|
|Displays the Present Value of Additional Capital Needed at Retirement in the Current Year||Yes||No|
|Number of Informative Charts and Graphs You can See While Working Already Set Up||Over 800||Around a dozen (that are recycled)|
|Ability to Make as Many New Charts and Graphs as You Want||Yes||No (only if you mail merge to Word and then do it in Excel, then back to Word)|
|Ability to Change Charts and Graphs Any Way You Like||Yes||No (only if you mail merge to Word and then do it in Excel, and then go back to editing in Word)|
|Detailed Chart of All Annual Miscellaneous Incomes and Expenses||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Ability to Control Income Goal Inflation Rates Both Automatically and Also Set Them to be Whatever You Want in Every Year||Yes||No|
|Layers of Annual Inflation of Income Goals||5||1|
|Ability to Set the Ending Year so Numbers will Stop Showing to Reduce Clutter||Yes||No|
|Displays Each Person's Life Expectancy Age Using IRS Unisex Mortality Tables||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Set Accounts to Liquidate at Death||Yes, but you can only set them to not pay out, pay out 100%, immediately, starting at retirement, or at death. Then "Lifestyle" assets and real estate are even more limited. Their text: "...you cannot control the default order in which available accounts and assets are liquidated to cover estate needs."||Yes, you can set any asset to pay out any percentage amount at any year for any reason for total control over all of this|
|Ability to Set a Life Expectancy Age Independently of the Calculated IRS Life Expectancy Age Using IRA Unisex Tables||Yes||Yes|
|Displays the Difference in Years Between the Inputted Life Expectancy Age and the Calculated IRS Life Expectancy Age||Yes||No|
|Displays Both the Number of Years and the Percentage of Retirement Years Where There's Both Sufficient and Insufficient Capital||Yes||No|
|Displays the Total Current Value of Assets and Total Current Annual Contributions||Yes||Yes|
|Displays All Sources of Income and Tells Where They're Coming from in Every Year||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Set the Number of Trailing Zeros on Presentation Pages (so it won't show values down to the dollar if you don't want to see that much detail)||Yes||No|
|Input Validation and Detailed Error Messages to Tell You what You Did Wrong and How to Fix it||Yes||Yes, called Planning Assistant|
|Accounts for Any and All Types of Investment Assets, Including Rental Real Estate||Yes||Yes|
|Displays Detailed About How Much Retirement Income is Being Withdrawn from Each Asset Individually||Yes||Yes|
|Has "Flexible Assets" that Pay Out Retirement Income Like Life Does in the Real World (AKA "as needed")||Yes||Yes|
|Allows Inputting of Investment Assets Using the "Bucket Approach" (used by asset allocators and retirement planners that want to model scenarios like depleting non-qualified assets before tapping into qualified assets)||Yes, including any and all overlaps||Yes, using their Liquidation Strategies function (but overlapping payouts are only allowed with qualified assets in a very limited way using the "Add Redemption Strategy" feature). But not able to model tapping one asset class within a portfolio before others|
|Ability to Calculate Detailed Needs for Both Disability and Long Term Care Insurance||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to Calculate Disability Insurance Needs for Both Clients at the Same Time||Yes||No, you can only do one at a time|
|Asset Account Draw-Down Analysis Tools||Very Limited||Comprehensive|
|Deals with Technical Details of 401(k)'s - like Catch-Up and Matches||Yes, you can integrate the IFP with the Most Functional 401(k) calculator||No (maybe, didn't see it)|
|Ability to Turn Assets Providing Retirement Incomes On and Off Individually||Yes||Yes, using their "Transfers" function (but only in the Proposed version, not Current)|
|Displays How Much in Investment Assets are Needed to Fund Annual Income Goals After All Sources of Non-asset Incomes are Accounted For||Yes||No (maybe, the report was not done well enough to make it clear what's going on)|
|Displays Different Colors to Designate Between Client, Spouse, Both, and Data that Does Change With Input, and Not||Yes||No|
|Comes With a Detailed Fact Finders for Gathering Data From Clients||Yes, comprehensive||Yes, good and only ours is better. Their Ibbotson Investment Risk Tolerance Calculator seems to only use 13 questions, which is insufficient. The rest of their Fact Finders are okay to good|
|Comes With a Free Effective / Average Tax Bracket Calculator to Help Determine Inputted Tax Rates||Yes||No|
|Displays All Years of Information Automatically||Yes||Yes|
|Complete User's Manual with Detailed Directions on How to Do Everything||Yes, including a list of Real World options if you run out of money too early, and much more valuable retirement planning information)||No, online help screens (Planning Assistant), video tutorials, and big on DIY and formal pay training classes|
|Phone and/or E-mail Support||Yes, but for more money, but it's rarely needed because there's little-to-no bugs and the directions are more than sufficient - few people e-mail or call for support anymore these days||Yes|
|Platform||Excel Based (making it extremely stable, inexpensive because uber-expensive code programmers don't need to be employed, bug free, will always work on any computer (Mac or PC) with Excel, any and all operating systems, and rarely needs of any kind of updating)||Cloud-based|
|Transparency||Total, all data flows logically from left to right as if you were reading, then you can use Excel or a hand calculator to verify all numbers so you easily can trace EVERYTHING back to your input. No secrets, no surprises, no mysteries, just awesome data||None|
|Ability to Save Individual Client Files as a Unique File Name (so you can back them up onto your physical computer, so you can access old client input data even years after you let the software expire)||Yes, it's just a spreadsheet, so you have total control over saving client files. Not only that, you'll always have your client input data even when programs expire. Then you can just copy and paste it into the new version if you update, or use it to input into other programs||No, it's all cloud-based|
|Tax Software Included (software that will calculate taxes due, like TurboTax, or in reality, just estimate the current year's taxes due)||No||Yes, the best in the biz, other than stand-alone programs like TurboTax|
|Cost Benefit Ratio Feature||Yes, unique to the IFP||No|
|Number of Computers One "Copy" Will Run On||Unlimited, just spreadsheets you can use on any computer with Excel 2007 or later installed||1 (n/a, cloud-based)|
|Modular Too||Yes, not only can you just input minimum data to run a simple modular report (e.g., college, life insurance needs, or net worth), but if you buy the IFP and then want just the stand-alone module, then you'll probably just get it for free by asking. For example, all fields with an asterisk need to be input into a NaviPlan before it will work. You could have completed a simple modular plan in the time it takes to do that||No, it's just one big program, so you'll need to buy and input more than what's needed if you want to run a quick simple modular report|
|Ability to "Go Back in Time" (to input a plan, to see how things worked out in the current or a past year)||No||Yes|
|Accuracy of Numbers||Extreme, the best you can get anywhere||Very good, only the IFP is better|
|Dangerous Installation Procedure that May Wipe Out Windows (DLL) Files if They Screw Up (making a reload of Windows needed, which is more work than having to buy a whole new computer. Yes this kind of thing happens all the time with code - e.g., ExecPlan's free demo in '08)||No||No (cloud-based)|
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