It got my attention recently when both Dan Moisand and Michael Kitces wrote skeptical columns about financial planning software. They both acknowledged that MoneyGuidePro, eMoney, Right Capital, Advizr, et al. are necessary to produce a viable financial plan. Every professional needs to assess a household’s ability to achieve their various financial goals based on reasonable assumptions.

The problem is that today’s planning software programs are, for the most part, only used to create the initial plan. They are very broad, general calculation engines without much built-in expertise for providing advice in year two and beyond.

Moisand said that he gets more ongoing planning benefit from specialized software than from the existing planning tools. But he declined to delve into the increasingly rich ecosystem of analytical programs that can help planners provide deeper analysis of their clients’ financial circumstances, and let them offer specialized professional analysis and advice at a very high level. Kitces bemoaned the fact that planning software doesn’t do much to help advisors gather client data.

So after trolling the tech corner of countless exhibit halls (including the T3 conference), and after collecting data for our third comprehensive software survey (with Joel Bruckenstein), let me tell you about some really powerful tools that will engage clients more deeply and bring your ongoing client service to life.

I'll bet all the money in my pockets that you haven’t heard about them.

Let clients input plan assumptions

Start with a program that’s still on the horizon – PlanTechHub, which will be formally introduced in January. PlanTechHub, created by planning software veteran Chad Blythe, is built entirely to solve two issues that most planning software tends to ignore: allowing clients to input their data as they explore their options toward reaching their goals, and incorporating into a single interface all the various specialized tools I’m about to tell you about.