Having a plan for your finances is crucial, and a comprehensive financial plan may include budgeting, saving, investing, paying off debt and creating a roadmap to retirement . Working with a financial advisor can be helpful in creating your personal money plan, but DIY types might prefer to use a financial planning software instead. There are a multitude of options to choose from and each one has a different range of features. If you’re a financial advisor yourself, there are also plenty of software options that you can use to help you build plans for your clients.
Financial Planning Software for Individuals 1. Personal Capital Fees Free Best For Those who want to combine their investing needs with financial planning
Personal Capital is a popular financial planning software option for both beginners and those more experienced with money management. The free version of the software includes all the features necessary for basic financial planning, including:
- The ability to link all of your financial accounts, including retirement and investment accounts, in one place
- A “net worth” tracker
- A tool to find hidden fees you might be paying for your investments
- Budgeting tools to track spending
- Goal trackers for your spending and savings targets
- Tools for forecasting retirement and college savings outcomes
These features are included in the software at no charge and offer a comprehensive view of your finances. If you need help choosing investments, Personal Capital also offers robo-advisor wealth management services for a fee.
2. Quicken Fees Plans start at $34.99 Best For Users looking for a simple software
Quicken offers multiple financial planning software solutions, depending on what exactly you want to do with your money. The Starter version, for example, lets you view all of your accounts in one place, create a budget, track your spending, manage your bills and categorize your purchases.
If you want to take a deeper dive into your finances, the Premier version may be more appropriate. This version lets you do everything the Starter version does, while also adding in some additional features and tools, such as:
- The ability to track loans, investment and retirement accounts in one place
- Access to Morningstar’s Portfolio X-ray tool
- Portfolio analysis tools
- Market comparison and investment tax planning tools
There’s also the Home & Business version, which might be helpful if you need a streamlined way to manage business and personal finances.
3. Intuit Mint Fees Free Best For Existing Intuit customers; Anyone with multiple bank accounts
Mint is one of the most popular free financial planning tools on the market. There’s a lot you can do with Mint, including:
- Tracking all of your bank and credit card accounts in one place
- Setting your monthly budget
- Tracking and categorizing expenses
- Monitoring your credit score
- Tracking your investments
- Setting up bill pay reminders
“Mint is an incredibly popular online personal finance tool that’s great for all kinds of users. Aside from it being a great budgeting tool, it has a plethora of money management tools that you can also use,” says Brian Meiggs, founder of millennial finance site MyMillennialGuide.com .
Mint is more focused on basic budgeting and money management than it is on investing. You also can’t pay your bills through the software. Still, it’s got a good user interface that’s easy to navigate, and it’s great for users who are mainly interested in tracking their spending and keeping on budget. The app works on both mobile and desktop, so it might also be good for someone who wants to manage their finances on the go.
4. WealthTrace Fees $229 – $299 for first year; $169 – $249 for renewal Best For Individuals looking for more in-depth analysis; Smaller advisory firms that want plenty of support
WealthTrace is a financial planning program that both individuals and advisors can use. Individual users can choose from three package tiers: Basic, Advanced and Deluxe. The cost of the software ranges from $229 to $299 for the first year, with lower rates for subsequent annual renewals.
So what do you get in exchange? WealthTrace allows you to budget your money and set savings goals. You can plan for both retirement and college savings, as well as getting insight into how to minimize your tax liability.
Like some of the advisor-focused programs on the market, WealthTrace also allows you to run scenarios on things like market downturns, life insurance needs and retirement income. And if you have questions, you can connect with a WealthTrace expert by phone, email or live chat to get help.
Financial Planning Software for Advisors 1. MoneyGuidePro Fees $500 – $2,000 per advisor, per year Best For Solo financial planners or individual RIAs
MoneyGuidePro is a client-centered financial planning software used by professional financial advisors that offers an alternative to the standard methods for retirement planning.
“The software doesn’t do a traditional cash flow model prior to retirement,” says Mark Rioboli, director of wealth management for Independence Advisors in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “It only factors saving and building a nest egg until retirement and once retired, it performs more of a traditional cashflow.”
Rioboli’s firm uses MoneyGuidePro because the approach it uses is “easier for clients to understand and it’s more aligned with how they think about funding goals.”
2. Advizr Fees $3 – $7 per employee, per month Best For Small to mid-size financial advisor firms
Advizr is a financial planning platform designed for retirement professionals and financial advisors and it offers clients a collaborative view of their finances.
Joseph M. Jabar, a certified financial planner (CFP) at Fischer Financial Services in Waterville, Maine, prefers this software because it’s “intuitive and simple to use. I’ve found other financial planning software suites to be cumbersome and over-complicated.”
Jabar says his clients love the software because they’re able to see their financial plan in real-time through easy-to-understand graphs and charts. The program incorporates all of an investor’s accounts, including ones Jabar doesn’t oversee directly, creating a more comprehensive financial picture.
3. Money Tree Fees $495 – $1,780 per advisor, per year Best For Multi-advisor firms
Money Tree is an advisor platform that uses a three-pronged approach to financial planning . The software allows advisors to complete a big picture, in-depth and advanced cash flow analysis for their clients.
With Money Tree, advisors can create a financial plan independently of, or in collaboration with, their clients. The software also features an interactive tool that allows advisors to quickly and easily run “what-if” scenarios to determine different outcomes. The program’s design is also capable of helping advisors pinpoint the potential shortfalls in their clients’ financial plans and find solutions for closing the gap.
4. RightCapital Fees $124.95 – $149.95 per advisor, per month Best For Larger financial planning and wealth management firms
Advisors can use RightCapital to develop financial plans through an innovative platform. It’s the software Jason Ball, a CFP at Ball Comprehensive Planning in West Linn, Oregon, uses for his clients. What he likes best about the software is its “ability to integrate accounts, client vaults and strategic tax planning for retirement planning.”
RightCapital also offers a mobile-friendly user-interface, which tech-savvy advisors may appreciate. The inclusion of tax planning tools is one of the most important things that sets the software apart from its competitors.
Whether you do it yourself or work with an advisor, it’s important to build a comprehensive financial plan. Fortunately, there are several online services that make it easier to build a financial plan and track your saving and spending.
Before you make a firm decision as to which software you want to partner with, it might be worth writing down what goals you want to plan for. By doing this, you can ensure that the benefits of whatever software you select align perfectly with your overall needs.
Tips for Choosing a Financial Planning Software
- Before selecting a financial planning software, assess your needs. For instance, are you looking for a software program that’s more focused on budgeting? Or do you need something that includes retirement calculators and other tools to help you grow your wealth?
- Consider working with a financial advisor. While financial planning software can help you get control of your money, it’s not a substitute for the human touch. That’s especially true when it comes to building an investing plan and choosing investments that balance risk and return. If you don’t already work with an advisor, use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool to connect with one in your area.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/dusanpetkovic, ©iStock.com/Jirapong Manustrong