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In Search of the Best Financial Planning Software: NaviPlan

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My technology decision just became a bit more difficult.

Last week I offered my review of eMoney and discussed how I was leaning toward selecting it as my financial planning solution (see In Search of the Best Financial Planning Software: eMoney). In fact, I was even considering canceling a demo I had scheduled this past week with Advicent Solutions to look at its planning program, NaviPlan. However, I did not, and after a two-hour demo, I was very impressed with the functionality of NaviPlan. This was in contrast to an earlier experience I had with the product. 

I first used NaviPlan in 2003. The version I had was customized for JP Morgan, my employer at the time. In short, I found it to be among the worst financial planning software solutions I had used. That was then, this is now. At the time, the software was owned by the Canadian firm, EISI. Today it is owned by Advicent Solutions.

I have to admit, NaviPlan has changed a great deal since then. In fact, what I saw during the demo was really impressive. I should note that I was viewing Advicent’s top-of-the-line planning solution which I believe is called NaviPlan Pro. In any event, it’s very comprehensive and extremely detailed. For example, the income tax component covers the AMT plus the tax law changes which began in 2013, such as the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) and the excess Medicare withholding tax (0.9%).

I also found that NaviPlan’s estate module has some nice graphical reports and functionality, but it may not have as many estate strategies compared to eMoney. Even if NaviPlan is a better planning tool, it still doesn’t integrate with as many software applications or custodians as eMoney. Although Advicent has plans to increase the number of integration partners, it’s hard to say which partners are on its radar or when this will occur.

My next step is to determine if NaviPlan is a better planning tool than eMoney. If not, then my decision is easy. If NaviPlan is better, it’ll be a question of how much better and is it worth sacrificing integration to gain a slight edge in the quality of planning it provides.

In the next two weeks I plan to utilize the eMoney trial I have, compare it with NaviPlan, and make a final decision by the end of November or early December. I’ll let you know. 

Until next week, thanks for reading and have a great Thanksgiving!


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