Listing of July 1996 Reviews
By Joel T. Patz
As you wrestle with your 401(k)-and nervously eye the cloud hanging
over Social Security-you may well wonder if you can ever afford
to retire. A new product from Intuit, Quicken Financial Planner
2, provides the perfect answer to that dilemma and then goes on
to do much, much more.
It's often tough to persuade employees to plan for the future.
Many avoid retirement planning because it's time-consuming to
set up and the mathematical manipulations can be confusing. But
this program steps you through the process quickly and understandably.
You can set up a Quick Plan in a matter of minutes by entering
simple, generalized data such as age, salary, current savings
and living expenses. If you're more ambitious, you can establish
a full-blown plan by tossing in every bit of information you have,
from rental income to anticipated vacations and car purchases
throughout your life. In either case, Financial Planner presents
its findings clearly, with no gobbledygook. Click on the Results
tab, and a traffic-light icon flashes green if your retirement
will be fully funded, yellow if there are concerns and red when
it encounters a serious problem.
Best of all, a what-if feature lets you manipulate variables,
allowing you to adjust your plan to meet your retirement needs
with the least pain along the way. You'll be able to adjust your
savings to ensure you'll have the money to send your children
to college, choose the right mutual funds and select the correct
amount of insurance. Charts and graphs show everything from your
cash flow to your portfolio value and net worth.
Like many Intuit products, the program comes on CD-ROM or floppy.
Both offer excellent documentation on how to use the program,
but the CD-ROM version adds personalized advice and videos from
Jane Bryant Quinn on all major topics.
This description just skims the surface of the product. Quicken
Financial Planner 2 is so easy to use and provides such outstanding
results that I can't recommend it highly enough. And at this price,
it could become an affordable part of a thoughtful employee benefits
program. You-and your employees-shouldn't be without it.
Quicken Financial Planner 2
Pros: Complete, easy-to-use package for retirement planning
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
WinMag Box Score: 5.0