Help for Predicting Your Financial Future

This may be a record year for baby boomers trying to determine if their current financial plan will provide the financial future they expect.  There has been so much damage to our retirement nest eggs that we are thrown off balance when we think about it.

In response, lots of us are re-balancing our investments, cutting expenses, increasing our savings, and maybe lowering our expectations.  However, we are still not sure all of these efforts will be enough.

I have previously written about different tools that I have used to analyze our retirement portfolio.  These are still useful but often they don’t take into account your entire financial and life planning situations.  For example, your true financial future will be substantially affected by any downsizing plans that you have.  Downsizing allows you to convert home equity to cash for use in shoring up that retirement nest egg.  Thus, there is always been a need in my mind for a retirement planning tool that takes all of these life changing and adjusting factors into consideration.

Quicken had a retirement planner tool at one time that I used.  I liked it but apparently not enough of my fellow boomers did because Intuit took it off the market.  Many of the mutual fund companies have online retirement planners but I don’t 100% trust them.  I am concerned that they are biased towards more investing and/or are overly simplistic.

A New Predictive Financial Planning Tool

Today I came across a “plan for life” financial tool that I had not heard of previously.  It’s called Financial Fate.  When it was first introduced, it was a pay product, selling for $70.00.  Right now, it’s a free download.  I installed it myself and gave it a test drive.  

I am not going to write full review of Financial Fate but I will mention three features that I liked.  First, it is comprehensive.  It takes into account changes you anticipate in your lifestyle including the aforementioned downsizing, buying a vacation home, remodeling plans, home equity transactions,  working part time, putting kids through college, investments, current and future expenses, life expectancy, you name it.  This is good and bad.  The good is that no plan that does not factor these issues in can be considered complete.  The bad is that you will have to sit down with all of your current financial data and enter it.  It does not import from Quicken or any other software.  Some of the data entry can be avoided by clicking on the “assumptions” button.  When you do that, the software enters data for you based on statistical information in its database.

The second feature I like is the simplicity of the financial future predictions that it provides.  While you are entering data, a “Your Financial Fate” window is updated with simple phrases predicting your financial status at death such as “solvent for life” or “bankrupt.”  It also predicts your “ending net worth.”  This feature allows you to play with little “what if scenarios” and immediately see the results.

The third helpful feature is the excellent reporting that is available, including financial “to do” lists and investment reports.

The big question mark I have right now relates to how the Financial Fate software works behind the scenes.  In other words, I am curious about the logic that is being used to make the predictions.

If you are at all curious or concerned about your financial future (and you should be), I would give Financial Fate a try, at least while it is free.  Come back and leave a comment about your experience with it.

Photo credit:  Michael Marlatt

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