This post is the third in our series of continuing education resources for advisors. The life settlement industry is complex and we here at Ashar want to make it easy for you and your client to navigate this complicated field.
At Ashar Group, we do business with a lot of different financial advisors as we broker life settlement transactions. Over the years, some transactions have stuck out more than others—some for fantastic reasons and others for not-so-good reasons.
I distinctly remember a financial advisor who always seemed to be flying by the seat of his pants. He was always losing paperwork, scrounging for a pen, or running late because he had to stop by the office to retrieve an important file. He turned out to be a good man and a great representative for his client, but nothing can ruin a first impression like being disorganized.
As a financial planner, using the right tech can give you an edge in the complicated secondary life settlement market. Who doesn’t want to be smarter, more competent, more cost-efficient, and more intuitive of their client’s needs? Here are five apps for financial planners that you should add to your home screen, in no order.
1. Dropbox, free for a Basic account
You never have your documents when you need them. USB drives get lost, and emailing important documents to yourself is archaic. Dropbox is a great solution used by more than 400 million people across the globe. You can save everything you need to the cloud, and then it’s accessible on all of your devices.
The first 2GB of storage space is free, and you can purchase more for a small fee if you have digital hoarding tendencies. There’s also an option to upgrade to Dropbox for Business, which allows added functionality like audit logs, access restriction, remote wipe, and the ability to separate personal and work accounts. More than 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies do use Dropbox it so you’re in good company if you choose this tool.
You might be asking about privacy. Well, all files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted, but for additional security you can encrypt first using third-party sources like TrueCrypt or SecretSync. All uploaded documents are automatically set as private but you can share files with clients with just a link and work collaboratively with ease.
2. Flipboard, free
Sleeker than your basic RSS reader and with smart, curated content, Flipboard has brains and beauty. This aggregated news magazine pulls news stories based on your listed interests, and you can add any source that isn’t being currently pulled into your magazine. You can even connect your social media accounts for an even more comprehensive reading experience.
This app is useful for keeping up so you can wow your clients with your knowledge of the financial industry’s current events. We particularly like the ability to annotate stories that catch your eye—and the dynamic flipping motion of this app.
3. Evernote, free for Basic account
Evernote is the digital note-taking equivalent of a Trapper Keeper. Anything you’ve ever scribbled on a notepad, napkin, or business card is probably better stored in this digital filing cabinet. What’s great about Evernote is that you can insert multimedia into your notes. It’s simple to clip and insert useful blog articles (like this one!), PDFs, PowerPoint slides, or capture handwritten notes with photos.
If you pony up and upgrade to a Plus account for $24.99 per year, you receive more monthly uploads, offline note access, passcode lock on mobile, and the ability to save emails into Evernote.
The top-most level is a Premium account for $50 a year and lets you do all of the above, plus the ability to scan and digitize business cards, version control, annotate attach PDFs, search in Office documents and attachments, and turn your notes into beautiful presentations automatically.
4. Retire Logix, free for basic version
Named one of the “100 best money moves” by Money Magazine, this financial planning app helps you to create quick estimates of how different income streams will provide for your clients’ financial needs during retirement. Its built-in Solve function calculates taxability of different types of accounts, expenses, and the impact of inflation on different avenues of cash flow.
When connected with an advisor, the app can link up to your current account location, documents and financial reports from its sister full planning platform Finance Logix. It’s free for the basic Android and iOS versions and the pro version is a bargain at $1.99 on the Windows Store.
5. SignMyPad, starting at $9.99
Many financial advisors are moving towards paperless offices. Not only is it more eco-friendly to forgo hard copies, but it also signifies that you’re innovative and cost-effective. SignMyPad lets you give legally binding electronic signatures to PDFs with your finger or stylus.
SignMyPad also plays well with others—it syncs with Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, saving you the time and cost of printing, scanning, and filing paperwork. There’s also no monthly or yearly subscription fee associated with this app, unlike many others like it.