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The New IFA App

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Mobile devices are gaining technological horsepower at an increasing pace. And that's opening new opportunities for investors to learn more about investing, track their portfolios, monitor their various financial planning goals and file their tax returns.

To help investors harness greater mobility, we've developed the IFA App. Besides bringing our clients handheld access to powerful wealth-management tools like eMoney, IFA's Retirement Plan Analyzer and the Index Calculator, we're making available free-of-charge a vast array of educational articles, videos, films, interviews, charts and market data to anyone with an iPhone or an iPad. The app can be downloaded in Apple's App Store. (An Android version is set to be released later this year.)

So let's take an abbreviated tour. As shown below, the IFA App is designed to be very intuitive and easy to navigate. From the home screen, you can access a wealth of information by clicking icons with a similar look and feel as your iPhone's or iPad's home screen. Several icons take you to sub-screens, and swiping provides access to 12 additional screens of about 240 icons, some of which are shown below. Since this app brings in almost all of the IFA.com content, we believe that it is the most comprehensive wealth-management app available. 

IFA app Menu

On the top and bottom navigation of all screens are 12 icons, which are visible throughout the app. With the "Background" icon, you can choose from 20 wallpapers so that screens can be customized to your liking. 

The "Log In" icon provides links to apps for Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, as well as eMoney and IFA Report Access. With eMoney, clients can aggregate most -- if not all -- of their financial data from various firms, as well as their IFA investments.

As we've detailed in the past, eMoney is a powerful financial planning tool for analyzing personal information much like a corporate income statement and balance sheet. When working with an IFA wealth advisor, these tools help our clients do everything from examining their household cash flows to monitoring family savings and longer-term retirement plans and goals. 

Access to eMoney is a service provided for free to all current IFA clients. The first screen below shows a hypothetical couple's daily updated net worth and investment totals for all of their accounts. A more granular view (see second screen) can track holdings in IRAs and cash as well as aggregated data for credit cards, insurance policies and different types of loans. 


eMoney Overview

This portion of the IFA App also has a separate section allowing clients to analyze their investments by asset class. (See first screen below.) Advisors can also set up eMoney to help investors compare how they're doing financially at any given time compared to specific investment goals, from minimizing taxes and managing household budgets to retirement planning and leaving money to heirs. (See second screen.) 

As with most other screens provided by eMoney in the IFA App, goals and types of investments can be tailored to each client's situation. Our advisors can also use these programming tools to develop and run more sophisticated "What If" scenarios. In addition, a "probability of success" tool enables IFA advisors to monitor each client's holistic financial planning needs over time on a situation-by-situation basis. 

eMoney Decision Center

Another feature worth further investigation for investors includes one-click access to data, charts and information traditionally found on IFA.com regarding different IFA Index Portfolios. (See screens below.) Given how much data is made available relating to global equity and fixed-income markets across a broad set of different asset classes, these mobile pages are designed to be used by any investor, not just IFA clients. (Note: IFA Index Portfolio numbers refer to the percentage of the allocation to stock indexes. Thus, Index Portfolio 70 has a 70% allocation to stock indexes and a 30% allocation to bond indexes.)

IFA app Portfolios

Getting all of this information reformatted so it can easily be read in the palm of your hand has been quite a challenge. It's taken our founder, Mark Hebner, and IFA's app development team more than a year to debut.

Charts and information included relate to many aspects of investing. Among other graphics, the IFA App puts into an investor's hand the ability to view the annualized return, standard deviation of returns and growth of $1 for each index portfolio between any two months over the past 91 years. Also built into the app are various measurements of SPIEs (Simulated Passive Investor Experiences) and T-stat data relating the elusive alpha that active managers are trying to generate for their investors.

A unique value-added feature developed to help our clients take full advantage of everything IFA offers -- from investment and retirement planning to Social Security optimization, college planning and charitable giving -- is the "Services" icon. (See below). It even provides resources to tap into our set of referral services to specialists like estate planning attorneys, insurance experts and tax services offered through IFA Taxes, LLC. 

IFA app icons

The IFA App, though, isn't just enhanced to help investors work alone in understanding their portfolios better and exploring different big picture wealth-management solutions. The app includes an interactive "Wealth Advisors" icon. (See below.) It's designed to provide direct connections with an IFA advisor to initiate discussions via phone, text, email or even FaceTime. Just tap the Wealth Advisors icon and select the advisor's name. Each wealth manager's client services specialist is also listed here. (The "About IFA" icon, which can be found at the top of each page and is pictured below, is another way to get more information about our team.) 

IFA app Menu

One other observation: Recently, my IFA wealth advisor suggested that since I hadn't taken the Risk Capacity Survey for awhile, it might be a good idea to recheck our risk capacity. (See screens below.)

As it turned out, a few seemingly minor lifestyle changes and tweaked financial goals altered our final score -- more so than I originally imagined. The point here is that as part of this risk capacity review process, I was surprised to find that taking the Risk Capacity Survey in the app actually seemed more efficient and time-effective than doing it on a laptop.

The screens just seemed to zip through questions more efficiently, although much of that could be credited to being able to complete my survey while walking between rooms. After all, there's something to be said for not being forced to stay in a stationary position.

IFA app Risk Capacity Survey
The IFA App is a work in progress. Our inhouse development team continues to refine and improve the capabilities of the app and we are committed to adding features that enhance the user experience.