by Carolyn Rothwell on March 25, 2014

Top 10 Silver Financial Planner Questions Asked to our Support Team

SilverTop10Find out the top ten questions technical support receives about Silver Financial Planner.  If you are new to planning with Silver, make sure to check out this post and get the answers to ten common questions. 

1.  I'm new to using Silver, can I get a walkthrough of the program?  

Previously recorded training classes available for new users to view at anytime for the Desktop Edition or Online Edition of Silver Financial Planner. Technical support will be able to answer any specific questions you have while using Silver. 

2. How can I get my name and the client's name on the cover page?

The client name is entered on the "Names/Ages" data input under the “Names for Report Heading” field.  The rest of the report cover page customization is set within the program by going to the “Options” menu and selecting “Customize Advisor Information”.  

Here you will find tabs for "Cover Page Text" and "Cover Page Logo".  Information entered in this section will apply to all client files.  After you have customized this information, your Silver title page will reflect your changes as shown below.  For the online edition, the cover page information will be available under the Settings tab. 

For the client’s name, go to the Name/Ages data input.  The first field on the Contact Information window is "Names for Report Heading" at the very top of the input window.  Enter the client’s name as you would like it to appear on the Title Page report.

3.  How is the life expectancy calculated for Ind. 1 and Ind. 2?  Can I override it?

Silver uses the single life expectancy table to calculate individual one’s life expectancy for clients over age 55.  For clients under age 55, the program uses a set life expectancy of 85.  For Ind. 2’s life expectancy, the program adds 5 more years to the value from the single expectancy table to adjust for a joint life expectancy.  

View the single life table on page 86-87 of IRS Publication 590.

4.  Can you help me break down the numbers shown on the Cash Flow Illustration? 

To learn everything you need to know, visit this blog post:  Silver 101 - Understanding the Cash Flow Illustration

5.  What impact does the clients’ cash flow shortages or surpluses have on the clients’ assets?

Prior to retirement, the cash flow will display cash flow surpluses, but it is important to note Silver ignores pre-retirement cash flow.  Pre-retirement, Silver is focused on additions the clients are making to their assets and how those assets are growing with rates of return. 

Note:  The Special Income/Expense Planners provide an exception to this rule – allowing items entered under the Special Income Planner to be reinvested or items entered under the Special Expense Planner to be pulled from assets prior to retirement.  Education costs included prior to retirement will also be pulled from assets.

When the client retires, the cash flow changes gears and it will show the withdrawals required to meet the living expenses and taxes number.  Post-retirement, the Cash Flow will never show a shortage unless they are out of savings and don’t have any asset to pull from to cover their spending needs.

6.  Why would I see the clients’ retirement capital go down prior to retirement?  They have enough income to cover the expenses entered in the program. 

If the clients’ assets getting depleted prior to retirement, look at the Retirement Capital Analysis to see if shortages are displaying before retirement.  Prior to retirement, this would only result from two potential items, Special Expenses and Education Funding.   

7. How should I handle a mortgage?  The expenses is fixed and will only continue a set number of years. 

Handling mortgage payments incorrectly can lead to unintended consequences for a client's financial plan.  Find out what those consequences are and how to avoid them by following our tips to handle mortgages correctly in this blog post:  Best Practices - Mortgage Payments in Silver Financial Planner

8.  I entered the client's Social Security benefit, but it is not showing the amount I entered on the reports.  What is going on?

There are a few things to know about the Social Security benefit displayed on the Cash Flow and Retirement Capital Analysis reports.  

  • The program will inflate the SS benefit prior to the start age (as well as after the start age), by the increase rate entered.  See more about this item by visiting this blog post:  Social Security Benefits - Today or Future Dollars 

  • Silver assumes 85% of the SS benefit is taxable, and applies the tax rate to that taxable amount, and the after tax SS benefit is displayed.
  • The program will include spousal and survivor benefits in the projections. 

9.  What method does the program use to calculate growth on investments?  

Silver uses monthly compounding to calculate interest on investments.  Below are the instructions to replicate the monthly compounding method used to calculate growth on investments in Silver, with less work! 

  • Shortage Occurs:
    • Take the “End of Year Balance of the following year” + “1/2 year account addition” x “the interest rate”.
    • Then take “1/2 of the Cash Flow shortage” x “the interest rate”.
    • take the “Total form A” – “Total for B” = “Annual Growth”.
    • Calculating the year end balance:
    • “End of Year Balance of the following year” + “Account Additions” + “Annual Growth” – “Income Tax Account” – “Cash Flow Shortage” = “End of year account balance”.
  • Surplus Occurs:
    • Take the “End of Year Balance of the following year” + “1/2 year account addition” x “the interest rate”.
    • Then take “1/2 of the Cash Flow surplus” x “the interest rate”.
    • Then take the “Total form A” + “Total for B” = “Annual Growth”.
    • Calculating the year end balance:
    • “End of Year Balance of the following year” + “Account Additions” + “Annual Growth” – “Income Tax Account” + “Cash Flow Surplus” = “End of year account balance”.

 10.  Can I include "What If?" scenarios in the reports I print for the clients?

Yes.  You can include up to 3 saved "What If?" scenarios with your reports.  Find out how in this blog post:  3 Steps to Include "What If?" Scenarios in Silver Reports


Would you like more tips for Silver?  Check out this post: Top 5 Input Mistakes to Avoid for Silver Financial Planner.

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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.