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7/96 Reviews SW: Quicken Financial Planner 2

Listing of July 1996 Reviews

Pension Tension Relief

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.

Info File
Quicken Financial Planner 2
Pros: Complete, easy-to-use package for retirement planning
Cons: None
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
800-624-8742, 415-944-6000
WinMag Box Score: 5.0

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