by Carolyn Rothwell on August 23, 2012

Comparing Scenarios Made Easy! New Feature in TOTAL Planning Suite


Advisors can now quickly and easily compare scenarios in TOTAL Planning Suite, with the new comparison report feature available in the latest release. The comparison pages, available for both Easy Money and Golden Years, provide side-by-side illustrations of two planning scenarios within a single report.

Two Simple Steps to Generate Comparison Reports

1.
To access the comparison reports, start by selecting the report set containing the comparison pages.  Select the report set ‘Entire w/ Comparison’ or 'Basic w/ Comparison' in either the Easy Money Reports or Golden Years Reports drop down from the Report Selection menu, as show below.

2. Generate the report using the Easy Money or Golden Years report button at the top of the program. A new dialog box will pop up. Select the scenario you would like to compare from the drop-down box and click [Compare Scenarios].

Note: If the Scenario Comparison dialog box does not appear, verify you have selected the report set containing the comparison reports (Step 1) and you have multiple planning scenarios for this client file.

The [Skip Comparison] button allows you to generate the entire report for the current scenario without including the comparison reports, while the red [X] at the upper right allows you to cancel running the report.

Viewing and Understanding the Comparison Report Pages

Easy Money

The four new comparison reports in Easy Money are located in the Retirement section of the report, pages C13 through C16.

1.  Retirement Summary (C13) summarizes the goals, assumptions, and variables used in the Retirement Planning Analysis. The bottom portion of the page will summarize the Retirement Analysis, highlighting the dollar amount needed for retirement, the amount available for retirement based on the scenario assumptions, how long the retirement assets will last, and finally a suggestion for additional savings if needed.

2.  Retirement Needs Analysis Comparison (C14) displays the client's total income needed to cover expenses from retirement to life expectancy, compared to the total income streams available from retirement to life expectancy, which offset a portion of the spending need. The total expenses, less total income, derive the “Income Shortfall”. The income shortfall is how much the client's spending will exceed scheduled income sources from items like pension and Social Security. If the client has a projected shortfall, the client needs to have assets available to cover the shortfall, which is considered on the next report page, Retirement Capital Comparison (C15).

Note: The main scenario is at the top of the page and the second scenario is at the bottom of the page.

3.  Retirement Capital Comparison (C15) carries over the client's total income shortfall from the Retirement Needs Analysis Comparison (C14), then provides the amount of capital the client would need to have saved by retirement in order to cover his future income shortfalls. Next, the report lists the client’s current assets and the projected balance at retirement. If the client's “Total Asset Values” exceeds the “Capital Required”, the client has enough saved to cover future cash flow shortages and should not run out of assets prior to life expectancy. If the value of the client’s assets at retirement do not meet or exceed the capital required, the client will have a shortfall and deplete their assets prior to life expectancy.

In the case of a shortfall, shortage solutions will display at the bottom of the Retirement Summary (C13). Shortage solutions include:

- Earning a higher rate of return on investments.
- Increased savings, displaying additional monthly savings required at three different rates of return.

4.  Retirement Capital Estimate Comparison (C16) displays the “Total Account Values” of both of scenarios. This comparison report clearly illustrates the differences in the client’s retirement capital overtime, allowing the advisor to quickly highlight why one scenario may work better than another for the client. This report lists the “Annual Expenses”, “Income/Other Expenses”, “Surplus/Shortage”, and “Total Account Values” for each year of the projection.

For more information, please see the main Retirement Capital Estimate (C6).

Golden Years

The four new comparison reports are also available in Golden Years, located in the Summary section of the report, pages F9 through F11.

1.  Assumptions Comparison (F9) outlines the basic information for the planning scenarios, including plan assumptions, current balances and scheduled additions to personal savings, investment, and retirement accounts.

2.  Assumptions Comparison Continued (F9a) displays additional basic information used for the planning scenarios. The page includes current living expenses, loans balances and payments, and other assumptions of inflation, tax filing status, COLA factor for Social Security benefits, life expectancy and state for tax purposes.

3.  Net Worth Report Comparison (F10) combines the asset account values (investment and qualified asset) with personal asset values (non-investment type asset including real estate, automobiles, other personal property, and insurance cash values) to provide the client's “Total Asset Values”. The client’s total liabilities (mortgage, auto, credit card, and other loan balances) are listed in the next column. The “Total Asset Values” “Less Liabilities”, provides the client's year-by-year “Net Worth” for both scenarios.

For more information, please see the main Net Worth Report (F6).

4.  Retirement Capital Estimate Comparison (C16) displays the “Ending Year Account Totals” of both scenarios. This comparison report clearly illustrates the differences in the client’s retirement capital overtime, allowing the advisor to quickly highlight why one scenario may work better than another for the client. This report lists the “Annual Expenses incl. tax”, “Income/Other Exp. Distributions”, “Annual Surplus”, and “Ending Year Account Totals” for each year of the projection.

For more information, please see the main Retirement Capital Estimate (F3).

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Carolyn Rothwell

Carolyn enjoys spending her time building Money Tree Software's brand and products. Her experience creating and delivering financial plans for a full-service financial planning firm and supporting advisors working to provide the best planning to their clients as a Money Tree support member has provided an excellent understanding of the importance of financial planning.