How do I take action?
It is our mission at myFinancialAnswers to get as many people to have financial plans as possible. But there’s no point in having a plan if you’re not going to follow the plan’s instructions. Getting your information organized and going through our tool is a big step in taking control of your financial future, but it’s not the only step. Taking action is essential.

Once you get to our Action Center, you need to do just that: take action!

roboadvisor myFinancialAnswers
Action Center from online financial planning myFinancialAnswers

We have selected partners who we believe can provide you with the services and the products you need in order to meet your financial goals in a low-cost, effective manner. Throughout the site, you’ll see links that say “click here to apply” or “click here to get a quote” or “click here to get started”.

Those links are there so that you will get started and so that you can improve your chances of hitting your financial goals. Getting your finances in order isn’t an academic exercise. It will probably require you to do a few things, and the sooner the better. We have a team in place who can help you take those required next steps; click here to learn more about our partners.

What variables can I change in “Scenario Analysis”?
One of the strengths of the myFinancialAnswers software is that it allows you to create and save different scenarios, in order to see how changing your financial strategies affects your progress toward your long-term goals. While you can always go back and change your original inputs – creating a new baseline projection – we also want you to be able to explore some “what if” scenarios.

The variables that you can change using the scenario analysis tool are:

  • Retirement age
  • Total spending in retirement
  • Changes in current spending
  • Level of contribution to kids’ college tuition (if applicable)
  • Investment returns

Once you’ve changed the variables and created a new set of outputs, you can either save that scenario or change it to become your new baseline that always appears whenever you log into the tool. This tool adds an extra level of depth to our initial recommendations, enabling you to see the impacts of the changes in action.

Scenario analysis by online financial planning roboadvisor tool myFinancialAnswers
Scenario Analysis by online financial planning tool myFinancialAnswers
Will the software tell me what to invest in?
No.

Since myFinancialAnswers is not a Registered Investment Advisor, we are unable to provide specific investment recommendations. Our software will make recommendations for how much to invest and it will give explanations of asset allocation basics. But it is beyond the scope of our tool to recommend specific stocks or funds.

We do, however, have the ability to direct you to an advisor who can provide that advice. If you’re looking for more comprehensive advice – or recommendations on how to allocate your 401(k) plan – you can either ask your employer’s retirement plan advisor, consult your own financial advisor, or request a financial planner directly through our site.

Will the software tell me how much to put into my 401(k)?
Yes.

Without any input, the software will make basic assumptions about you and generate a recommendation for a contribution amount that will maximize your probability of being able to retire at age 65 and have money that lasts through age 100. As you enter in more information about your (and/or your family’s) financial situation, the software will refine its recommendations to provide a more accurate contribution number. For example, if you have other investment accounts and a spouse who earns income, then that information will be incorporated into the calculations in determining an appropriate contribution amount.

Will the tool answer every question that I have about my personal finances?
While our software is extremely comprehensive, it cannot possibly answer every question you have about personal finances. What it can do is help you understand what you need to be doing to achieve your financial goals, how to identify shortfalls in your current situation, and how to explore alternate scenarios that show the impact of different choices you make.

Here are a few questions that our software won’t answer:

  • What should I invest in?
  • Which life insurance company should I use?
  • How much is an appropriate monthly food budget?

Our software will give you the ability to find the answers to those questions, but it won’t necessarily make the answers explicit. If you need additional help, you can reach out to a financial planner through our tool, using the output you receive from the software as the foundation for your further discussions.

Why should I believe the results?
It’s fair to be skeptical of our software’s recommendations. But we believe very strongly in our tool, and here are some reasons you should trust our plans.

Our software is thorough

For most people, the tool will make over a billion calculations to come up with its results. It is completely algorithmic, and all of the recommendations that the tool makes are based on the input that you provide. Everyone receives individualized recommendations that are based on their specific set of circumstances.

The tool is “battle-tested”

Our software has been in use for more than five years for financial planning and investment management clients. It was built by one of our co-founders, Jeff Jones, CFP®, for his financial planning practice, and it’s the exact same tool that he uses in his financial planning company. We have made it available on the web so that thousands of you could get financial plans in a quick and meaningful way, but the level of detail and insight is of the highest caliber in the industry.

We have no conflicts of interest

Based on our business model, we have no incentive – financial or otherwise – to provide results or recommendations that do not help you meet your financial goals. Furthermore, two of our team members are bound by the CFP®’s code of ethics, meaning that we are bound to provide objectively fair recommendations that are in the users’ best interests. We don’t (and can’t) make recommendations to take actions unless we believe that doing so improves our users’ overall financial picture.

Simply put, if we make a recommendation, for example, to get a certain amount of insurance, it is because if a bad event (early death, disability, long-term care) happens and you are not insured, then we believe that you are likely to run out of money. A few people are prepared to accept that risk, but most people are not.

Granted, the tool’s outputs will be only as good as the input that you give it, so it is important to do everything possible to give us complete and accurate information. Try the tool and see what you think. We believe that you will find it to be accurate, informative, and fair.

What results can I expect?
Once you’ve entered all of the required information, our system will calculate your results and present you with your comprehensive financial plan. The presentation will come in two parts.

Part I: Current Path

Current Status snapshot from roboadvisor myFinancialAnswers
Current Path from online financial planning tool myFinancialAnswers

This section shows you how you are currently doing financially, how well you could be doing, and how well you’re managing your risk.

Part II: Action Center and Dashboard

Results from a user on the online financial planning tool myFinancialAnswers
Dashboard of results from online financial planning tool myFinancialAnswers

 

Scenario analysis by online financial planning roboadvisor tool myFinancialAnswers
Scenario Analysis by online financial planning tool myFinancialAnswers

This section tells you the recommendations that we think are prudent in order for you to reach your financial goals. It will also provide you with links to get started on some of the recommendations that we make.

Note that the links for external providers are affiliate links, which we are using for tracking to see how many people actually take action on the recommendations we make. This helps us ensure that our tool is having its desired impact.