Financial advisor Doug Carey, who has a background in softwware devleopment, could not find a simple financial planning application to suit his needs, so he hired some programmers and at long last yesterday launched WealthTrace, a retirement planning app.
With an intuitive, easy to understand interface," says a WealthTrace press release, "users can quickly get started and find out how much money will be there when they retire and when their money will run out in retirement. They can then use the software to generate ideas and solutions to make their retirement goals possible. "
Among the features mentioned by WealthTrace in its press release:
Carey, according to his firm's website, is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), former portfolio manager, and financial software developer, who decided to try his hand at investment management and financial planning in 2010.
"Little did he know how few solutions there were out there for retirement planning," according to WealthTrace's website. "Days upon days of researching various retirement planning applciations led to the same problems: Difficult to navigate, non-interactive with clients, and 50 to 150 page reports with all the useful information buried inside."
"It was so difficult to get at the information clients were most interested in, namely, when will they run out of money and how much will the shortfall be each year?" according to the WealthTrace website. "He (Carey) had had enough and sat down with a team of software engineers to create the WealthTrace retirement planner. "
Just yesterday, I noted in a post that financial advisor software vendors are proliferating because programming has become relatively easy and cheap. We live in an exciting time of great innovation.
I wish WealthTrace well and hope it is a breakthrough product. It may well be. (I have not reviewed it.) Carey is invited to post his app's details in the A4A database of advisor software vendors, and I admire Carey's entrepreneurial effort.
However, my loyalty is to you, the reader. So I just want to be sure you remember that software startups pose risk to a practice and often cause disruption. Programming a financial planning app is different from running a sustainable software business. I hear ugly stories all the time.
That said, the risk to your firm in choosing a financial planning application created by a startup is far lower than that posed by a startup portfolio management software application. PMS conversions can wreak havoc on an RIA, and going with a startup is even riskier. Point is, walking away from a financial planning app is a lot easier than walking away from from a PMS app holding all of your historical client data.
Still, consider the extra risk of going with a startup when choosing a software vendor and be sure you get a good deal for taking that extra risk.