As experienced mountain climbers know, getting down from the peak safely is a lot harder than getting to the top. Similarly, for financial advisors, helping their clients accumulate enough for retirement is often easier than creating and managing a distribution plan for their senior years.

Fortunately, there are several software programs on the market that help advisors determine maximum but safe and tax-efficient portfolio withdrawals for their retired clients. According to a recent survey, the top five programs used by professional financial advisors are MoneyGuidePro, eMoney, RightCapital, Money Tree and NaviPlan.

Which is the right one for your firm?

Sean M. Williams, wealth advisor at Sojourn Wealth Advisory in Timonium, Md., uses RightCapital. The software, he says, “allows me to provide extensive analysis. I’m able to look at different scenarios for tax-sensitive withdrawals for income. Rather than the plan being a snapshot of time with different forecasts, we now have a 365-day plan.”

At the same time, “the experience is very user-friendly for clients and myself,” he adds. “It was very important to me that any planning software I used allowed for a dynamic client portal and phone app.”

Derek Bostian, a certified financial planner at Two Waters Wealth Management in Huntersville, N.C., also uses RightCapital, and largely because of its ease of use. “I was able to figure out how to build a plan in under 30 minutes and understand why and where certain pieces of data went,” he says. “We evaluated all of the major players. It was the easiest for us to learn.”

“I like the display interface for clients so they can see the immediate effects of financial planning decisions that they can make,” Bostian says. “The tax tab is one of the most powerful because you can show current, future and hypothetical tax rates very easily. You can also show the effects of Roth IRAs, life insurance distributions and other planning strategies.”

“What-if” scenarios are available in other planning software programs, Bostian says, but RightCapital shows the probability of success in real time without having to change screens. “It’s very easy to show side-by-side comparisons of different planning situations and circumstances rather than having to toggle between different tabs and settings in the software, something I wasn’t able to do with previous software programs we’ve used,” he says.

Clients also have access to their own portal and can make different assumptions and change the variables as they see fit. The advisor has control over what is saved and what is not.

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