$1,550 (full Money Tree Suite)
Financial Planning software
Additional Requirements to Operate Certain Features
On a scale of 1-6 this product…
Benefits & Bugs
+ The use of Monte Carlo Simulation in financial projections considers uncertainty in regard to long-term projected returns, providing clients with more realistic information on which to base their decisions.
+ A single unified database shared by all component programs in the suite allows users to enter client information only once.
+ Superior on-board charts and graphs are created from client data.
– Lack of an "interview" module to facilitate entering of client data onto "questionnaires."
– Lack of multimedia use in online support, which appears to be a reprint of a hardcopy manual with hyperlinks.
– The inability to change asset class names after having entered client data without the risk of distorting future reports for that client.
The Money Tree Suite of software includes Easy Money, Golden Years and Retirement Solutions. Easy Money is a Windows-based financial planning program capable of tracking a client's net worth, education funding, asset allocation needs—including the impact of income taxes—and more. Golden Years retirement planner helps to manage the current resources of retired clients, considering the impact of factors such as life expectancy, income needs, retirement age, income taxes and inflation. Retirement Solutions is comprised entirely of modules that assist in the future retirement planning of non-retired clients based on projected needs and the impact of assorted variables.
Someone once said that the only true constant is change. They may not have been speaking of the financial markets at the time but they could have been. Now, thanks to technology such as that found in the Money Tree Suite, financial planners are no longer locked into presenting clients static financial projections based on straight-line historical averages.
Since volatility is such an integral component of the financial markets, it's a useful tool in presenting realistic projections to clients. By simulating a random event multiple times, Monte Carlo Simulation reveals a probable range of uncertainty, which allows financial planners and their clients the ability to fine-tune a strategy to counter projected market and inflation volatility.
Overall, this is a superior program that will prove valuable to financial planners and the clients that rely on them. However, there is room for improvement in overall functionality by enhancing the online documentation and user interface—these components are rather "clunky."
While state-of-the-art technology is clearly built in to the core program, the user interface and online documentation modules seem to have been left in the Dark Ages. Users must contend with filling out a series of electronic laundry lists to enter client data onto "questionnaires" and must labor over reading the same to access any form of online support.
It would be beneficial to have a multimedia interview module (similar to those used by many popular income tax preparation programs) to guide the input of client data and help bypass areas that did not pertain to a particular client situation, thereby streamlining the efforts of the planner. The online documentation would be enhanced by multimedia contributions.
Contact Mike Vitkauskas
Money Tree Software
PO Box 637
Philomath, OR 97370
Please send your comments, questions and article proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org, Smartpros Ltd. All Rights Reserved.