Retirement Planning Tools for Investing Insight
Successful investing depends on a number of factors, but perhaps none is more important than an investment portfolio built around your goals, preferences, and risk tolerance. Many money management and retirement planning tools aim to give investors a platform to gain the insight they need.
These investment programs give you and your financial advisor a number of valuable resources that aid in selection of the proper wealth creation strategy, including the ability to:
- Compare assets with the support of simplifying visuals
- Evaluate assets based on their risk, volatility and more
- Assess the impact of rebalancing your portfolio
- Gauge the effect of different tax possibilities
Not all retirement planning tools are the same, though. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which will benefit you the most. And some platforms are specifically designed for financial advisors and their clients.
This article looks into three valuable retirement planning programs: MoneyGuidePro, eMoney Advisor and Personal Capital.
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For the eighth consecutive year, respondents of Financial Planning Magazine's annual survey named MoneyGuidePro the top financial planning software. In fact, an overwhelming 42% of financial advisors chose MoneyGuidePro as their number one platform.
Designed for the advisor-client partnership, MoneyGuidePro gives financial advisors professional resources they need, while giving you access to information you want to see and learn. Unlike many investment platforms, MoneyGuidePro focuses on the user experience, emphasizing visual communication and engagement. A great example of this focus is Play Zone, a section in which you can discover the potential effects of changes you could make to your portfolio.
One of the program’s characteristics that both investors and advisors appreciate is that financial advisors maintain ultimate control of the platform. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of its resources, but advisors can hide MoneyGuidePro’s more complex features to streamline your experience. Advisors will also make sure that you won’t make any changes that could potentially harm your long-term goals.
eMoney Advisor is another investment and retirement planning tool built for the advisor-client partnership. Known by advisors for its detailed cash flow analysis module, eMoney is the planning software of choice for roughly 25% of advisors. Professionals often use eMoney Advisor for investors with more complex planning needs.
The platform’s engaging, digital experience is tailored for you, giving you a clear view of your financial picture. With eMoney, you can monitor your portfolio activity, assess your spending trends and track your progress toward your goals, including the ability to project the likelihood of your success.
Beyond tracking, eMoney also suggests potential adjustments that could help you reach your long-term goals. It then lets you compare as many as four scenarios side-by-side so you can visualize the benefits of your options. And importantly, eMoney’s analytics tools put data into digestible and comprehensible charts and graphs.
Personal Capital is an up-and-coming retirement planning tool that now has more than 900,000 registered users. The investment platform offers both a free and premium, paid version. But with the free version only providing access to the financial dashboard, you would most likely make use of Personal Capital’s premium program.
Personal Capital emphasizes the importance of tracking and analyzing all of your investments, not just the assets you manage through its tool. This is an important distinction, because your entire financial portfolio is the only true measure of your wealth.
Imagine a scenario when you’re considering investing more in equity because your planning program shows that you could take on more portfolio risk to better meet your needs. If only part of your assets are tracked in your tool, however, it wouldn’t know whether you have significant equity in another account. And if that were the case, you could wind up taking on more risk than you should for your goals and timeline. This is why completeness and transparency are so critical.
With all of your assets within the program – including your 401(k), IRA or other retirement accounts, Personal Capital analyzes your investments and goals to provide you with a retirement plan review. Your unique review includes a risk assessment and an asset allocation plan based on your preferences and needs.
It’s also important to note that Personal Capital is not designed for collaboration with your financial advisor. Even if you are tracking all of your assets under the same platform, you still need to know what level of risk is appropriate for your needs.
Leverage Retirement Planning Tools Responsibly
There are many resources that you can use to inform your investing. But with too many options and a lack of clarity, it’s easy to get confused or make mistakes. No matter what tools you use, sound retirement planning is the product of creating a strategic plan and sticking to it over the long term.
There are many avoidable investment mistakes that often stem from a lack of direction. If you need guidance to determine the best direction for you – considering your goals and needs – talk to an advisor. For starters, you can learn about several wealth creation strategies that have helped many investors achieve their long-term goals.
Just click below to download a copy of The 5 Greatest Wealth Creation Strategies.
About Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA
Greg Hammond is the chief executive officer of Hammond Iles Wealth Advisors, and co-founder of Planned Giving Strategies®. Greg leads a team of professional financial advisors providing customized wealth management and investment solutions for high-net-worth individuals, families, companies, and charitable organizations across the U.S.