Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve ****
- Instructional documentation and help system *****
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised ****
- Overall usefulness ****
Finance Logix 3.2 is a suite of web-based products for comprehensive financial modeling. It includes modules for retirement planning, asset allocation, insurance planning, estate planning and education planning. It addresses both the cash flow and goal modes of financial modeling.
What’s it All About?
Finance Logix is designed as a complete financial planning product. It emphasizes both speed and clarity of data entry, analysis and reporting of planning information and choices and uses a significant amount of graphical display on its screens. It emphasizes data integration with the MorningStar Data for current asset valuation and includes financial modeling for retirement planning in retirement financial analysis and asset allocation.
The program includes a data exchange service for transfer of documents and other material between advisor and client, as well as calendars and alerts for scheduling client communication. It offers detailed insurance planning and estate data entry (including net worth analysis and estate tax planning).
The program also addresses asset planning and may take into account analysis of retirement needs performed in the retirement planning module as well as the client's insurance policies specified in insurance planning. It can also account for other expenses and gifts including analysis of education needs performed in the education planning module. It keeps track of beneficiaries and creates a wealth distribution schedule. Education planning is designed to address planning for the cost of education, including maximizing returns and evaluating risks for various investment options including Section 529 plans.
Financial projections include a “Monte Carlo” simulation, which permits the modeling of given investment strategies based on growth rates and variables and facilitates the evaluation of such strategies through many iterations of the calculation. Also included is the option to schedule alerts for specific appointments or actions on various dates as well as a calendar and document vault.
How it Works
The format of Finance Logix displays a dynamic navigation pane on the left-hand side of the screen. The program opens with the advisor dashboard, which allows advisors to add new clients and search for existing ones. You may create a new client page that contains personal information, names, birth dates, contact information and more. You may enable the client to dynamically review reports online. You may also select the type of reports for the retirement, education, insurance and estate modules.
The dashboard displays a list of clients whose records have recently been modified and a list of clients who have recently logged in to their Finance Logix client portals. From this screen, you may go to account settings to enter user information, preferences, model portfolios and integration of data instructions. You may open with a client management page for the creation of a new client or selection of an existing client. To work with a client, you go to the client list and select a client. Under each client, you may create a series of scenarios and view a snapshot of a given scenario. It shows a total summary balance sheet and cash flow, with a pie chart of the asset allocation breakdown and what the client needs for the planning objectives.
You may enter contribution amounts to various retirement funds with start and end dates and contributions expressed as percentage of income or percentage of salary.
An account settings feature allows you to preset values to be used by the system. It includes entry of general information, advisor personal information, default rates for inflation, earnings rates and retirement goals and default rates for various types of accounts. It allows you to enter model portfolios with projected asset distribution among types of assets and includes settings for information integration.
Under the Worksheets area you may either enter client data directly or through an interview process. The client can participate in this process through the client portal. You may enter additional client information such as retirement choices and salary data (including year-by-year and annual salary increase or actual salary). Under the assets and liabilities tab, account details, such as additions each year, tiers of return and account allocation for each asset may be entered and the account type (pension, 402k, etc.) selected.
Insurance policies with details for each policy type, premium, cash values and growth rate of cash value (which includes a chart of growth) you may enter. Policies are shown and listed in a grid format with associated premiums shown for convenient reference. When analyzing insurance policies, the insurance summary page shows a summary of the policy, a chart of policy payouts, age controls and the plan and policy assumptions. Liabilities may be added with various types identified and details. The program then displays current value, growth rate, depreciation and annual income. A value bar chart shows the net value over time.
On the cash flow and goals screen, you enter the client’s goals, retirement data, Social Security and tax attrition in depth. You can now also assign priority levels to your client’s goals. The program can provide individual college costs, for instance, to your client’s education targets. You can also determine how frequently the client needs to achieve certain goals, such as scheduling major purchases like automobiles, for example, every four years.
The dynamic planning area allows you to set allocations and projections for retirement, asset allocation, education, insurance and the client’s estate. The risk and reward screen under the retirement area lets you select how you want to run the Monte Carlo analysis and iterations.
The retirement planning area pictures and charts show if the client faces a shortfall or surplus. In the summary section, the drop down menus under the vary account allocations tab allows you to change from viewing all retirement assets to only those that are taxable or nontaxable. The “what-if” allocation chart allow you to select a different model allocation and view the effect of any change in allocations. The vary retirement assumptions tab combines drop down menus and sliders to adjust inflation, retirement goal percentages and survivor ratios.
Clicking on the report icon at the top of the screen allows you to select which printed reports you want. Some options include reports comparing various components of the categories such as retirement goal comparisons. You can view reports that you chose or send them to the client. You can also choose among different cover page images and can customize the report.
Help and Support
Most screens have a help option that either displays text instructions or launches a tutorial instructing the user on how to work with the displayed area of the program. The program includes access to the learning center from the navigation pane that suggests procedures and displays information for retirement, asset, education, insurance and estate planning. The website includes elaborate training videos on all aspects of this facility.
Where To Get This Software?
Finance Logix is available from Oltis Software LLC
Phone 1-800-557-1780 (option #1) or online at http://www.financelogix.com/Products/FinanceLogix.aspx.
The Finance Logix suite is priced at $90 per month with an additional $165 monthly for the data aggregation service.
Finance Logix addresses typical financial planning needs with an easily navigated, dynamic and graphically effective interface.
There are a number of financial planning programs available in this genre, including:
American Dream personal finance software for professional advisors,
NaviPlan financial and retirement planning calculations and graphics, and
Cygnus IncomeMax financial planning software for financial planners and life insurance agents.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at [email protected]