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"Software Review: Economic crisis
underscores value of retirement software",
by Dave McClure. Accounting Today June 2, 2009
The J&L Retirement Planner is a specialized version of the company's financial planning system, expanded to include reverse mortgages, asset allocation withdrawals, minimum distributions and scenario event groups. Though this is the retirement-specific version, most professionals prefer the even more advanced capabilities of the Professional Version, which provides for asset allocation, tracking, rebalancing and management. It is in the Professional Version that you'll find such advanced capabilities as Monte Carlo analysis and historical return analysis, and also the greatest selection of customized reports.
The Professional Version is designed to be an inexpensive, PC-based system that focuses specifically on retirement decisions, with less emphasis on pre-retirement life goals. It shows the yearly effects on up to 50 accounts, including investment, tax-free, retirement, asset and equity accounts. The output may also be presented with bar, line and pie graphs.
The Professional Version also offers more advanced planning and portfolio management capabilities, including the ability to handle unlimited budgets, real estate investments, Monte Carlo simulations, historical return analysis and asset allocation. It also allows the planner to define groups of accounts and maintain a constant asset allocation within each group. This feature allows the user to rebalance each group yearly or periodically. There is also a feature that allows you to rebalance a group when funds are transferred into an account within that group.
J&L's Planners offer the ability to track the IRS basis and implementation of college savings and early distribution programs established by the IRS, Rule 72t, and handling of requirements for the IRS required minimum distributions at ages 59-1/2 and 70-1/2.
Version 14.0, released in March, adds a methodology for declining property values, an option for a home equity line of credit, enhanced "what-if" capabilities with scenario grouping, more Monte Carlo simulation features and an enhanced reporting capability.
J&L Retirement Planner is a well-balanced and capable utility that offers fast results and strong client presentation capabilities in an economical package. But accountants will want to opt for the Professional Version to expand the scenario capabilities and its portfolio management capabilities.
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