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A Closer Look at Using eMoney

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At Index Fund Advisors, our clients are provided complimentary access to a wide range of investing and financial planning tools. In 2015, for example, we introduced an interactive software suite, eMoney. The idea is to give our clients a choice of high-tech applications to use in analyzing their personal financial situations. 

In recent years, though, eMoney has made some interesting changes in both presentation and function. These improvements are helping our advisors to effeciently and effectively continue to build comprehensive financial plans for IFA's clients. As a result, we thought it might be helpful to take a fresh look at eMoney and its various planning applications, from household budgeting and setting retirement goals to financing educational needs and meeting healthcare requirements over a lifetime.

Functionally, at least, eMoney remains much the same as before. But some of the screens and organizational structures are different from years past. The main client portal, for example, still includes aggregated data across a wide range of investments. (See screenshot below.)

eMoney Screenshot 1

But eMoney, which is now owned by Fidelity, has cleaned up all of these different data points to give a more streamlined overview page, something akin to each person's personal financial "dashboard."

In one place, investors can track all sorts of investments, including insurance policies and educational plan contributions for their children. The program also allows individual inputs to be added into eMoney's dashboard view. Those can include items to track such as credit card balances, individual loans, properties and stock options.

The program also has a separate section just to add more specific data. This "Facts" menu lets clients and their advisors put in different retirement ages and life expectancy ranges. It also allows planning to be adjusted according to overarching concerns such as savings and contribution rates, taxes and financial priorities.

eMoney Screenshot Tools

This sets up even more capabilities to run a variety of "What If" scenarios. It can be found in the second-half of eMoney's "Plans" page. Your advisor can set up a variety of different scenarios in this section to see how adjustments to almost any basis "fact" underlying financial matters might alter long-term planning goals. But the program comes with several pre-established scenarios relating to long-term care needs, inflation rate changes, premature death and disability.

Besides being able to change inputted numbers and specific planning assumptions, this Tools section lets IFA's advisors in consultation with their clients apply such data tweaks to specific estate planning strategies -- including an ability to drill into estate "transfer" and "liquidity" issues.

Whatever scenario information is adjusted, eMoney can also be used to run simulated results for overall household cash flow impacts and ramifications on a detailed balance sheet basis for each client.

eMoney Screenshot Plans

The deep dive into combining all of this data culminates in a master "Plans" section. (See screenshot above.) Three ways to cull such information are presented -- Goal Planner, Decision Center and Distribution Center.

In Goal Planner, clients can track how they're meeting financial targets related to lifestyle issues by current income levels, expenses and savings. The "probability of success" to each person's holistic financial plan for retirement (by expected retirement age and living expenses) can also be managed in this part of the program. Also, tools are available to check educational goals and monitor plans to leave money to heirs.

eMoney Screenshot Decision Center

The Goal Planner, like other parts of eMoney, feeds into a "Decision Center" app. (See screenshot above.) This pulls everything together to show how specific goals -- from when to retire, sell a house or take a vacation -- play out as part of your broad-based IFA financial plan. It includes estimates on cash flow levels at different ages and projected asset levels at different ages.

The other major planning screen, Distribution Center, takes much the same approach as the Decision Center. It also culls data from other parts of eMoney, assembling a dashboard for reviewing issues and goals related to estate planning. It mimics Decision Center in terms of compiling activities and goals related to managing a person's overall asset base on one side of the main page. The rest of this portal is dedicated to graphics depicting each family member's personal net worth. It also breaks down assets and liabilities on an individual basis, including a separate section for tracking assets directed to any possible heirs.  

eMoney Screenshot Vault

Another popular feature of eMoney, shown above, is a built-in app called "The Vault." It allows you to electronically store all sorts of documents including trusts, wills, insurance policies, tax returns and financial performance reports. Interestingly, Fidelity gives a fairly extensive listing of its security measures taken to protect both Vault paperwork as well as eMoney's information on the whole.

And as we've written about in the past, eMoney has a "Reports" section that lets you -- in collaboration with an IFA advisor -- produce and store all sorts of customized financial planning reports. Besides specifics on balance sheet items and cash flow dynamics, you can get in written form different "what if" scenarios you'd like to discuss with one of our wealth professionals.