As financial planning has evolved to be primarily about the delivery of advice itself – not just for the sake of a product sale – so too has the software evolved, from a calculator to illustrate the outcome of a product or strategy recommendation, to a collaborative tool that can be used to formulate the client’s plan itself. After all, given the complexity of an uncertain future, it’s hard to really understand what path to pursue, until the client first analyzes a range of scenarios to understand the opportunities. Accordingly, financial planning software has increasingly become a tool for real-time collaborative scenario planning.
In the future, though, financial planning software can and will progress further, from a tool that supports collaboration at a single point in time, to one that truly supports continuous planning for the reality of continuous change we face in our lives. Imagine a holistic personal financial management (PFM) solution for clients, that simultaneously operates as financial planning software for the advisor, all continuously updated from external data flows, making it feasible for the advisor and client to see the milestones and recommendations that have already been accomplished, and whether the client is on track in progressing towards goals of the future.
… a major opportunity for financial planning software of the future is to better allow financial plans to be built modularly over time, until they come together into the financial planning whole. Especially given that ultimately, most clients will seek out a financial planning for a specific solution to a specific problem – e.g., a “modular planning” issue – and only later broaden it to a more comprehensive relationship.