VisualCalc has introduced a new, updated version of its VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool. The VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool is a web-based calculator that banks and other financial institutions, such as financial planning and investment advisory firms, can offer their clients to help them better prepare for their retirement. This customer self-service tool can be deployed on an financial institution’s website to help its clients assess their current retirement health, and understand what changes they can make to better align their current financial and investment strategy with their future retirement needs
VisualCalc launched the initial version of its Retirement Planning Tool in 2012. This newly updated version includes a number of new features that address the specific requirements of banks and other financial institutions. Two of the key features incorporated in this updated version are: 1) support for both qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, and 2) the ability to deploy the tool in either a turn-key, non-authenticated mode (“Public Mode”), or a fully integrated, authenticated mode (“Private Mode”).
Both the Public and Private mode versions of the VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool are interactive, graphical, web-based calculators that enable users to quickly and easily assess whether or not they are on track to meet their retirement needs, and, if not, what changes are required to achieve their retirement objectives. This is facilitated by the tool’s “what-if” analyses capabilities. Users can manipulate a set of easy-to-use input mechanisms, such as buttons and sliders, to change a multitude of variables related to their financial strategy and retirement goals, including investment allocations, social security assumptions, projected pre- and post-retirement earnings, and expected retirement age. The impact of these changes, and their effect on the user’s retirement health, are immediately shown in clear, easy-to-understand tables, graphs and charts. This helps participants determine what changes are needed to best meet their retirement objectives.
Both the Public Mode and Private Mode versions of the new VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool are built on a platform featuring an embedded calculation engine that supports state-of-the-art computational algorithms and simulation techniques, such as Monte Carlo methods. This advanced pre-configured calculation engine drives the results of the user’s analysis. On top of this analysis engine, the tool’s user interface can be easily customized to incorporate the financial institution’s branding and graphical standards, so that the calculator has a consistent “look and feel” with the institution’s website and other marketing properties and collateral.
The Public Mode version of the VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool can be quickly and easily deployed on a financial institution’s website in turn-key fashion, with a minimal set of changes required to adapt it to the institution’s graphic standards.
The Private Mode version of the VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool offers an additional level of customization and integration. The tool’s functionality can be customized to incorporate a given financial institution’s specific needs, including account types and names, defined benefit plans, interest rates, and business rules. The tool can also be can be integrated with the institution’s internal databases, so their client’s account information and the institution’s business rules can be automatically loaded into each user’s session. The calculator is also able to bring in external data, such as social security balances and account balances at other financial institutions, so that users are presented with the most complete, accurate and personalized picture of their current retirement plan. This holistic view of both internal and external resources also helps financial institutions work with their clients to optimize the overall allocation of their retirement fund balances, including the consolidation of multiple accounts into a single integrated account.
Customized Example A
Customized Example B
The VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool addresses the growing need for consumers to take a more active role in constructing and managing a personalized retirement plan that is optimal for their needs. This generally involves increasing the amount of their contributions, and reallocating funds to an investment mix that best meets their retirement goals. Data from general industry-wide use of retirement planning calculators, as well as specific results from existing VisualCalc customers, validate this benefit:
- One financial institution that has deployed the VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool has found that their clients who use the tool have grown their account balances 40% more than those who do not. These clients have increased their contributions to their plans, access their accounts 25% more often, and perform nearly twice as many transactions on their website.
- Another institution that deployed the VisualCalc Retirement Planning Tool one year ago has found almost a 10% increase in the number of participants to its elective deferred compensation plan. In addition, participants have increased their contribution rates and replacement ratios.
- An independent study found that workers who have performed a retirement needs calculation are more than twice as likely than those who have not to expect they will need to accumulate at least $1 million before retiring.
- Another independent study revealed that 77% of retirement plan participants would increase their retirement savings if they knew how much they needed to save.