One nice aspect of the application is the ease with which you can change a factor and almost immediately see the impact on the plan. In one plan I worked with, I modeled a husband dying at age 90 and his wife at age 92. The plan worked, and created more than $800,000 in projected residual cash to spare. This came from the “aggressive” portfolio model. With a couple of mouse clicks, I was able to rerun the plan with the “moderate” model.

It was immediately apparent that the plan would still work well, with less market volatility. In fact, even the conservative portfolio would have had a very high projected success rate, although the residual projected estate would be much smaller. I’m sure this would be helpful information to discuss (or demonstrate in real time) with clients so they could make a more informed decision about the type of investment model they are most comfortable with.

Once the plan is in place, you can create an action plan for your clients—a to-do list, in essence. For example, if you had a non-discretionary advisory relationship with the client, the investment portion of the action plan would tell them what assets to buy and which to sell.

My “action plan” comes preloaded with two sections: an emergency cash fund and investments. The latter are the accounts that I aggregated earlier. After you create a plan, the buys and sells are added to the recommendations in this section.

Some sections come preloaded with text. For example, when you click on the emergency cash section, it says, “Before you start adding to your investments, make sure you have three months of expenses (approximately $37,119.00) set aside in an emergency cash fund.” This is marked as “very important” for the client. You can edit or delete the text if you wish, but if not, it appears in the client report.

You can then add other recommendations. To do so, you click the “add” button and name the recommendation. You can then click on the library to see if there is template language that can be used to populate your recommendation list. During my preview of the site, the library was still being built out, but I expect it to contain a fairly comprehensive list of language soon, subdivided by topic. By selecting a topic and clicking on preformatted recommendations, you can quickly construct a comprehensive action plan for the client.

First Impressions
There’s a great deal to like about WealthMinder, but there are a few things that will turn off some advisors. Let’s start with the positives. First, it is very easy for clients or prospects to sign up and aggregate their accounts. This grants the advisor access to all that information.

The planning is not comprehensive at this point, but it is well thought out. WealthMinder’s creators have clearly kept their eyes on comprehensive products such as MoneyGuidePro and liberally borrowed some of the ideas, such as the easy goal selection; the wishes, wants, needs; and much more. The application calculates taxes each year and projected Social Security payments. Advisors can create their own model portfolios (very aggressive, aggressive, moderate, conservative and very conservative). WealthMinder will then calculate projected returns, downside risk and other related factors for the portfolios so that each advisor can have his or her own custom version of the product.

Advisors can also effortlessly shift between the advisor and client views to see exactly what their clients are seeing.

The preformatted text recommendations in the Action view accelerate the planning process. Right now, that library is somewhat limited, but it is projected to expand rapidly. As part of the “automated portfolio view” in the action plan, WealthMinder can be set up to make commission-free ETF recommendations for each asset class depending on where the assets are held. Advisors can override these recommendations if necessary. On the sell side, the algorithm looks at Sharpe ratios, and I’m told it takes taxes into account, although how it does so is not clear to me. Again, the advisor can manually override any recommended sales. Advisors can also set due dates for recommended actions and track their completion (or find out if they haven’t been completed) by the client.

The pricing is straightforward. Advisors pay $10 per client per month, or, if they pay in advance, it’s $75 annually per client.

There are a few issues that will concern some readers. One is that WealthMinder comes in three versions. In addition to the advisor version, there is, as we said before, a direct-to-consumer model. I’m told that the consumer version deals only with investments, but some advisors won’t support a firm that produces a B2C product. The other version is designed strictly for advisors working with 401(k) plan participants.

Others will think the platform lacks depth. An experienced advisor would expect a long list of things from financial planning applications, such as their ability to handle uneven cash flows to fund a goal with multiple start and end dates, or their ability to control the timing of withdrawals from various accounts during retirement. The list goes on. You don’t get those here. You must instead trade some control over the plan for simplicity. Some advisors are willing to make that trade, but others aren’t.

The application is quick and easy to use, but it appears to work best with mass affluent clients rather than folks with more needs. That’s fine if you are targeting the market segment WealthMinder addresses; as we mentioned at the outset, there are trillions of dollars up for grabs, and it is an underserved sector. This seems like a tool well suited for attracting Gen X and Gen Y clients, for example. If you target a wealthier audience, this product might not be for you, at least not right now.

Again, WealthMinder calculates all the projected returns, risk numbers, etc. That’s a great time saver, but I can imagine some advisors taking issue with the projections that WealthMinder feeds into its calculation engine, as well as the methodology itself.

The platform is relatively new, but it has attracted the attention of some influential folks. The company has already inked a deal with the Garrett Planning Network and has been holding talks with at least one other planner network. The company has also held integration discussions with a few RIA custodians, but I have not heard of any agreements being signed just yet.

Although it is early in the game, WealthMinder looks like a promising product. It is quick and easy to use, it provides the essentials, and it is attractively priced. If you are targeting the mass affluent or the millennials, WealthMinder deserves your consideration.

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