Once you get to our Action Center, you need to do just that: take action!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Part I: Current Path
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
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.