How to Provide Simple, Specific Financial Advice with an Online Tool

Posted By on Jun 27, 2013|0 comments

A new website,, may be just what fee-only financial advisors have been looking for. In one of my recent posts, I highlight the opportunity to provide financial advice to the middle class (Five Tips on How to Serve the Middle Class and Make Money). Building on that post, this entry discusses a simple tool that you can utilize that is cost effective and will allow you to provide a financial plan to clients, make a profit and still provide an affordable service to lower and middle-class clients.

Financial Plan at Your Fingertips

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 4.01.12 is a site that runs individuals through a series of questions about their personal wealth to create a financial plan.

The site is crisp and well thought out. And, it’s quick to use—it only takes five minutes to complete the input data. The downside? As you go through the survey then the analysis, there are links to products and services. This could be helpful to provide different resources, but I also think it is a bit intrusive.

While I have not included an analysis of every single detail of the site, below are some insights:

  • Input: There are three broad categories to input: retirement funds, value of business (if you own your business), and other savings.  Having three broad areas keeps it easy, which may work well for individuals. I’m concerned that this section lacks some scalability and functionality.  Might different accounts grow at different rates?  Could you accelerate savings to any of these accounts?
  • Dashboard: Visually appealing and helpful, there are three parts to the dashboard analysis section: retirement costs, income and assets over time, and risks to your retirement.
  • Cost of Retirement Scorecard: This is extremely helpful with its colored timeline of green, yellow and red, indicating when money may run out. However, the scorecard also contains other symbols that represent other factors affecting reA risk chart from to use in simple financial planning decisions. tirement costs, which I find confusing.
  • Chart of Income and Expenses: Offered as a line graph or as a bar graph, the Chart of Income and Expenses is very helpful. Both graphs show the accumulation and then what would happen as a person begins withdrawing from his/her assets. It includes a comparison to the local average, which I appreciate.
  • “What are the Big Risks to Your Retirement?” Report: By far, this is the best analysis. As shown in the chart on the right (click on the image to enlarge it), this provides a table with seven sections and the level of risk (green, yellow red).  Each section provides an explanation and guidelines to strive for.


How does a Fee-Only Financial Advisor Benefit from

There are two things that advisors can benefit from: Having a robust analysis of running out of money and online marketing capabilities.

Analysis of running out of money – As an advisor, you could steer  individuals to the site directly or input clients’ info yourself and populate the reports.  Between your knowledge of the site and experience as an advisor, you are well equipped to use this as a discussion starter with clients. The hurdle for advisors at this time is that there is no advisor site created. Steve Chen, the founder of, indicated to me that this is in the works.

Online marketing – Individuals that independently come to the site and enter their financial information can then request to speak with advisors (potentially you!) for help.  I find this especially appealing for advisors that do not enjoy marketing or are not adept at sales.  Advisors can become known for specific areas of expertise, without needing to market themselves. For a fee, will provide these prospects with your information and you with their contact information.

Individuals may also ask specific questions, like, “Should I apply for a reverse mortgage?” and receive answers by affiliated financial advisors. If there is no advisor in that area of expertise, students in the certified financial planning program at Texas Tech provide answers to individual’s questions.

Often times, I speak with financial advisors that have a great deal of knowledge, but they are inexperienced, lack the confidence or know-how about how to get their message out to the world. is a good way for such advisors to market themselves and sell their capabilities to new prospective clients. Plus, it’s a great tool to assess your clients’ financial details and provide services to the lower and middle classes, while still making a profit.

Next Steps

Explore and  determine if you might utilize the site for your current clients and/or sign up to be an affiliate of the site and receive new leads.

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