by Carolyn Rothwell on February 14, 2013

Top 5 Input Mistakes to Avoid for TOTAL Planning Suite


If you are new to TOTAL Planning Suite, we want to make sure you have a great start with the program and avoid common data input mistakes.  Create plans like a pro and save yourself a call into our tech support team with the help of this list of the top five data input mistakes. 

Top 5 Input Mistakes to Avoid:

1.  Not selecting the married checkbox.

Do you see your clients filing status changing from “Joint” the first year to “Head of Household” or “Single” the next?  Are the estate reports not reflecting marital transfer?  

1a

The culprit is more than likely the “Check if Married” box found on the Client Information tab.

1b

2.  Entering a tax rate in the Federal Tax Index Rate input.

Seeing sky rocking taxes, deductions, or qualified plan additions? 

2aGo to the Income Tax Data section and the File Status/Options tab.  The first field is “Index Rate for Federal Tax Tables/Exemption.”  Check your input and make sure you do not have a tax rate entered.  This field is looking for an increase rate that is applied to items like federal breakpoints, standard deductions, exemptions and limits to qualified plan additions.  Typically, planners use a rate close to inflation – assuming the breakpoints and the like will be indexed overtime.

2b3. Not having the box checked for an asset to use it in retirement.

Are the starting asset values on the retirement reports lower than you expected?  Are the asset reports missing some of the total value?    

3aView the Asset Details report and check the “Ret” column to make sure it says “Yes.”  If this does not say “Yes,” that asset is not included in the retirement projections.  Go to the Asset input and make sure you have the “Check if used for retirement” box checked.  If you uncheck the "Check if used for retirement" box, the asset will only appear on the Current Year Net Worth report and Asset Details report.  With this box is unchecked, the asset will not appear on the retirement, estate and survivor reports.  Most assets you will want the box checked unless it is something you want shown on the Net Worth report only.

3b

4.  Accidentally checking the box to use the post-retirement rates.

Are rates of return not matching what you entered in the asset input?  Are rates of return changing unexpectedly at a future age?  Seeing Equity/Other returns split evenly between interest, dividends, capital gains and appreciation?  

5a

Check to see if you have the “use this rate after retirement” box checked on the Assumptions input section, Assumptions tab and then Retirement Rates tab under “Post retirement rates.”  If this box is checked and the clients are already retired, this will overwrite any other return entries.  If the clients are not yet retired, this will overwrite the current rates of return upon Ind. 1’s retirement age.  The return for Equity/Other type assets will be divided evenly between interest, dividends, capital gains and appreciation.  

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5.  Entering both monthly and annual expense amounts.

Expenses too high?  Are the personal expense amounts on the reports double what you expected?  

describe the imageGo to the personal expense input and make sure you have the expenses amount in the monthly or annual column – but not both.  There are cases where you would want to use both the monthly and annual expense amounts, like a club with an annual membership and monthly dues.  Just make sure you are not doubling your entry.  The program will automatically calculate the total annual expense for items entered monthly, and break the annual expenses amounts down into monthly values for the cash flow report.  

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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.