Free and easy

There’s an old saying that free advice is worth what you pay for it. That’s especially true of investment advice, most of the time. Just think of that guy at work who’s always telling you about his ETFs, or any number of loudmouth financial celebrities on TV.

Most rules have exceptions, however. One that we’d like you to know about is our own QuickAdvice service. It can give you a fast, realistic estimate of how much income you’ll have to live on when you retire, based on how you save and what you’ve put away so far. We’ve just relaunched it with a new look and better functionality. If that’s not enough already, here are three reasons it’s worth more than the price tag.

#1. It’s the real deal.

Most of the financial calculators you’ll find online are pretty simple. Even when they’re adorned with nice animation and impressive-looking charts, they’re less sophisticated than the average accounting spreadsheet, and run basic calculations right on your computer or a web server. They’re great for, say, figuring out what a mortgage might cost you. But that’s about it.

QuickAdvice is different. Enter some info about yourself, your savings habits, and the investments you’ve already set aside for retirement. We’ll send it to our advice engine – the same sophisticated system that powers our flagship investment advice services GuidedSavings and GuidedSpending. Using much the same techniques as the largest pension funds and banks, the system will run a zillion simulations of your financial future, analyze the range of possibilities with proprietary statistical tools, and deliver your answers in a second or two.

#2. It’s built for speed.

To create QuickAdvice we took out much of the detail that our other services require for more in-depth financial advice. That makes it quick. It also limits what you can do. You can’t include a spouse’s assets, for example, or describe your own beyond the basics of stocks/bonds/cash, or “tweak the knobs” in various interactive ways.

Think of it as a sort of old-school stock-car racer: the basic chassis of a luxury model, but stripped of amenities like windows and seats and tuned to go fast. In the long term it’s probably not the most appropriate vehicle for your retirement journey. But it’s very interesting to take for a spin.

#3. It’s free.
Finally, there’s the cost. Not only is it free, but there are no strings attached. You don’t need to set up an account or subscribe to anything. To set your mind at ease, QuickAdvice doesn’t keep any of your personal information, not even an email address. And even if it did, our systems meet some of strictest security regulations in the financial world.

So why did we even bother? Because the world of financial planning is big, confusing, and expensive. We think everyone deserves a little expert guidance for free. Check it out – we think you’ll agree.