J&L Software LLC - Retirement and Financial Planning Software

J&L Financial Planner

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"Modules, specialty tools define 2004 PFP software", by Dave McClure.
Accounting Today Vol. 18 No. 5 March 15-April 4, 2004

J&L’s retirement and financial planning software is a cost-effective program for developing strategies for retirement, education, home ownership and other goals; showing how those strategies are affected by life financial events such as inflation, taxes, mortgages and loans; and creating viable options in the plan through calculators for mortgages, refinance analysis, accelerated mortgage payments, inflation, trade-off analysis, required minimum distributions and credit card payoffs.

The program begins by creating accounts that represent current investments, assets, equity and the return rates, and filling out an initial values form containing the client age at which the plan starts and the client age at which the plan ends (death or retirement). Income tax rates are also entered along with inflation statistics. A financial scenario is built on deposits to or withdrawals from an account over the lifespan of the plan. Initial data input includes assumptions by the planner for investment savings, tax-free savings, retirement savings, and assets not part of the plan liquidation, plus equity and the related outstanding mortgage.

The focus of the software is on the creation of financial scenarios and investment tracking with year-by-year reports of up to five separate budgets. Incorporated into the software are advanced features for Required Minimum Distribution RMD, Revenue Code Section 529 College Savings Plans and Rule 72T asset withdrawal options. Customizable reports and charts, and the ability to import from and export to other databases and spreadsheets, give the software excellent flexibility.

Changes in initial assumptions and “what if” scenarios are navigated through tabbed headers at the top of each screen. These tabs include Groups, Asset Allocations, 50 Accounts, Summaries, Net Worth, Accounts, Scenarios and Results. In the Professional version, tabs also provide for Monte Carlo analysis, which can perform up to 200 iterations based upon input from the planner, and for historical return analysis. The planner can also select from over seven reports, including comparisons of various results and scenarios.

The Professional version of J&L Retirement and Financial Planning Software is a beefed-up version of J&L’s consumer-planning product. While the interface is somewhat dated and the functionality much more streamlined than more costly competitors, the software has won positive reviews for its simplicity, easy navigation and flexibility.

Priced at $99, the J&L Professional software provides an excellent balance of cost versus features, with enough frills thrown in to make it very attractive to smaller accounting firms or those that need to rapidly build and evaluate financial planning scenarios.

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