Brad Downes – Progressive Financial Planners

Managing Director, Progressive Financial Planners , NSW

I have been using the AstuteWheel for a number of years now. Like many, I started by using their client facing calculators as a simple client friendly visual aid during my appointments. As the Astute Wheel has developed so has the way we have integrated it into our everyday processes.

Every initial client meeting is now positioned with an expectation that clients will complete a pre-appointment questionnaire made up of two parts. Firstly a five-minute financial health check asking them how they feel about the six key areas around their finances, ranking their comfort from 1 to 4.This gives us a good idea of the key issues and areas of their finances clients want to focus on. The second part of the questionnaire is a 15-minute financial statement of position getting the client to think about their current assets, liabilities, income insurances superannuation et cetera.

I find clients appreciate the structure and being able to come to the appointment a little more prepared, both psychologically and also by having being prompted on the key financial information that we require.

Almost everyone will complete the pre-appointment questionnaires without protest. Obviously, this gives us a good opportunity to ‘hit the ground running’ at our first appointment, in fact before our first appointment. Having this information also assists us in allocating the most appropriate planner for the appointment.

My previous attempts to get clients to complete pre-appointment questionnaires were met with many dramas resulting in clients even cancelling appointments because they felt they had too much homework. The Astute Wheel (questionnaire) is online and interactive and has enough information to keep clients engaged in the process without turning them off. As soon as they complete and submit it, an email hits my inbox with all of the data required to automatically populate their file.

On calculators and projection tools…

Whilst we all have access to Coin or X Plan to provide us with detailed financial analysis and projections, they are not particularly client friendly or interactive. The AstuteWheel projections are in fact designed specifically to be client facing and interactive allowing inputs to be changed in front of the client with a visual representation of the impact.

I use the retirement calculator in almost every appointment which helps answer the pressing questions most clients have which is; “if I want to retire at this age on this much income, how much money do I need or how long will my money last? What can I do about it?”

The retirement calculator very quickly answers these questions in a simple and effective way.

AstuteWheel’s Financial Planning software is no one-trick pony. Anyone of these features can add significant value to our practices.