‘Virtual Advisor’ Software Enhances Retirement Planning

Software built from behavioral finance standpoint takes advantage of mobile devices, CEO tells AdvisorOne

Left Coast Solutions, a start-up company based in Santa Rosa, Calif., announced Wednesday the launch of mobile software designed to use behavioral finance techniques to help workers plan for retirement.

iJoin shows workers a personalized analysis of their retirement situation and is accessible from any device.

Fred Greenstein, CEO, Left Coast Solutions“Our mission is to improve the retirement security of millions of American workers,” Fred Greenstein, CEO of Left Coast Solutions, (left), told AdvisorOne on Thursday. Mobile technology represents a “whole new paradigm” for how to do that, he said.

The software is a “virtual advisor” that can guide workers either individually or in group settings through the process of planning for retirement. Retirement-plan advisors can use the software as a supplement to educational meetings, which Greenstein has said have proven to be “extremely ineffective.”

“Instead of having meetings and giving workers a form to fill out or directing them to a website to visit when they have time, workers can pull out their smartphone and go through the process together,” he said.

After workers complete the process, a retirement planning report is emailed to each participant.

"In about twenty minutes, the iJoin mobile application enabled workers to determine how much they needed to save for retirement and showed them how to accomplish that goal," Kendall Kay, chief marketing officer for iJoin, said in a statement. "They now have a written game plan that shows how they can be ready for retirement and what sort of monthly income they will need.”

The company has been piloting the software since December 2010 among 200 workers at eight companies in various industries. In those sessions, they discovered that 97% of attendees chose to participate in their company retirement plan and 68% selected a higher deferral rate than they were currently using.

The software has been available for “a few weeks” now, according to Greenstein, and the company is working on “a ton of enhancements” to make the software more user-friendly, including adding additional reporting features. One such feature is a measure of retirement readiness iJoin calls the “R Factor.”

Some features already available to advisors are private labeling with a logo or custom disclosure. Advisors can also include their guidance methodology or risk tolerance questionnaire.

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