Plugged in: Technology essentials to power your practice

Even if your practice is not supported by deep pockets for extensive technology investment, there are a number of solutions available in the market today. RetireWare was one of the financial planning software compiled based on recommendations and mentions from other advisors.

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"... rules for locked-in retirement plans, other potential income sources, part-time or contractual income during the initial years or retirement, government pensions, future income taxes, ... and cash flow events like property sales."


"... long-term planning considerations like life goals, insurance and education costs. RetireWare also ... runs Monte Carlo simulations ..., and allows planners and users to share files by saving reports in PDF format."


"... also models defined benefit, defined contribution, and group retirement plans, and adjusts RRSP contribution room calculations ... [T]he program also simulates a tax return each year..."


"... helps users determine the amount of risk they should take and whether or not it is a necessary and viable long-term strategy."

RetireWare Review on www.advisor.ca

RetireWare Retirement Planning software was first introduced by Aperion Software Limited in 1999 and sold mainly to consumers. Since then the company has launched an expanded version for financial advisors that determines whether savings, income and other assets will be adequate to enjoy desired standards of living during retirement.

Users can define their retirement income objectives in a number of different ways and the program determines if those are realistic given current savings levels. The program models rules for locked-in retirement plans, other potential income sources, part-time or contractual income during the initial years or retirement, government pensions, future income taxes, unknown investment returns and life expectancy and cash flow events like property sales.

The program uses wizards and user interfaces, integrates financial information from spouses and budgets, considers asset allocation, expected returns, volatility and scenarios where portfolios deviate from target asset allocations, long-term planning considerations like education costs and life goals, insurance and education costs. RetireWare also models province-specific locked-in rules, runs Monte Carlo simulations — where a large number of random scenarios are calculated and taken into consideration, and allows planners and users to share files by saving reports in PDF format.

Along with modelling Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan, Old Age Security and OAS clawbacks, Guaranteed Income Supplement, RRSP, locked-in retirement account, RRIFs and province-specific LIF and LRIF rules, the program also models defined benefit, defined contribution, and group retirement plans, and adjusts RRSP contribution room calculations if there are pension adjustments. The program also simulates a tax return each year, incorporating earnings, interest, dividends, capital gains and taxable dispositions. RetireWare calculates interest and dividend income and capital appreciation based on asset allocation specified by the user before and after retirement.

Perhaps most importantly, Aperion Software president, Marc Des Rosiers says the software helps users determine the amount of risk they should take and whether or not it is a necessary and viable long-term strategy. The program does not do complex estate planning, but it will identify funding shortfalls.

Although the program's price and functionality is impressive, the company admits that client reports are less customizable than most. Advisors can pick which sections they would like to include in the report, but not much else. This can be modified for firms interested in purchasing an enterprise version of the software. The program includes an extensive help function, a PDF format manual and unlimited e-mail support, but Aperion does not offer telephone support.

Kate McCaffery writes a monthly column in Advisor's Edge Report and other financial palnning content on www.advisor.ca.

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