Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why I Love Financial Engines

I discovered Financial Engines ( several years ago. Created by Nobel prize winner, Bill Sharpe, the site and the advice it gives, come closest to my own investing philosophy.

Although one can pay for higher levels of advice, I've always stayed on the free side of Financial Engines. It took less than an hour to put in my financial information and to set my goals.

I did not count either of my houses--just my stocks and the amount of money I'd be adding to my 401 (k) each month. The latter has changed over time.

What I love is that I can ask Financial Engines what the chances are of making my retirement goals at any given time (or play around with the times or amounts contributed) and the site will give me a general idea of how close I am coming. For example, I know that at my current savings rate, I have a 69% chance of reaching my goals ($50,000 per year in retirement income) at age 67 but an 85% chance if I wait until age 69.

I have changed my mutual fund allocations a few times based upon advice from Financial Engines. However, I don't always take the advice I get from the site. For example, for the last year, it has advised me to move money into life-cycle funds available through my employer. I've chosen not to do that because I think those funds are too conservative, given my late start on saving. I also know that I can tolerate a fairly high level of risk.

In general, I think Financial Engines is a great way to monitor one's investments and I do recommend it to others.

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