NaviPlan has developed similar concepts. The company’s financial and estate planning software can simplify plans for clients in several ways:

• It uses prebuilt, iPad-compatible presentations to explain planning for retirement, education, etc.
• It can educate clients with easy-to-understand next-generation reports.
• It shows clients their options and includes them in the decision-making process.

While these two applications are popular choices for financial advisors, they are far from the only ones. GoalGamiPro from ASI ( was also developed to meet the needs of advisors looking for an alternative to massive financial plans. It’s designed as a quick assessment tool with concise reporting for quarterly, semiannual and annual investment reviews. According to the company’s Web site, GoalGamiPro can be created in less than 10 minutes. It’s not intended to be a full-fledged planning tool, but it addresses the needs of advisors who want to scale back their financial planning in favor of a quicker solution that offers timely, succinct advice.

A newer player in this market is Guide Financial ( Guide takes a different approach by assembling all of a client’s financial and investment data in a real-time approach. The data can be entered easily by the client. Then the information can be analyzed in a real-time data environment viewable by both the client and the advisor.

According to Scott Burns, co-founder of Guide Financial, the company applies behavioral financial techniques and insights from leading retirement plans. The software uses financial targets that automatically increase in the future to account for inflation and other goal changes. The system also has automatic alerts built in to inform advisors when clients’ additional monies are available to invest. Additionally, Guide has interactivity tools that allow advisors to exchange messages with clients, collaborate on action plans, set goals, etc.

Guide Financial is best used with what some advisors might call the “accumulator” clients. Typically, these are Generation X or Y clients who are just starting to put money aside and want to ensure it is managed properly. At a cost of around $50 per month, this is an inexpensive software for advisors who work with such clients.

Another product, Upside Advisor (, offers a set of tools such as paperless account opening, portfolio selection and automated rebalancing, to name a few. Advisors can use it to communicate with clients through a custom blog, video content and e-mail. Upside has metrics and analysis built in, so the advisor can work with a client’s accounts more efficiently and provide higher levels of client service while potentially decreasing the costs associated with those services.

Though many financial planning software makers are coming around to this idea that less is more, compliance is still an issue and requires a certain amount of disclosure. If you are affiliated with a broker/dealer, it may be wise to check with your compliance department before investing in a particular solution.

David L. Lawrence is founder and president of, a consulting firm that provides financial practices, broker-dealers and independent firms with comprehensive, profit-driven efficiency consulting and resources. He is also the author of The Efficient Practice: Transform and Optimize Your Financial Practice for Greater Profits and Success, available at and other book retailers.

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