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What's New in COW and Spending Game for 2016?


Here's what's changed in COW:

  • PEM MODEL UPDATES: The PEM (Personal Economic Model) received a series of updates and enhancements. "Inheritance & Other Sources" was relabeled "Social Security & Other Sources." When you click the "Investments" tank label, it changes to display "Your Business" and adds a Business Income arrow connecting the risk tank to the lifetime capital potential tank. The risk and safe tanks now include a slider on the bottom of the tank which allows you to adjust the ratio of tax liability expressed by the tank when using the left (taxable growth) slider to fill the tanks. The lifestyle regulator moved to the left - closer to the tax filter. Clicking the [Monthly Cashflow Tube] launches a new monthly cashflow Excel spreadsheet (which can be saved and shared with the client/prospect.) When in CC Mode, you can now toggle between borrowing for an expense or to fund an opportunity by clicking the "For Expense" ("For Opportunity") label above the collateral capacity tank. When in "For Expense" mode, everything works the same as in previous releases. When you switch to "For Opportunity" mode, the safe and borrowed funds tanks will switch positions - so you can better discuss money flowing between the borrowed funds and investments tanks.
  • PEM LABELED IN SPANISH OPTION: The PEM main screen labels will display in Spanish if you set the COW Launcher targeted culture to Spanish. This is found in the launcher setting: [Edit Default Case Information]->[Advisor Information]->[Targeted Culture]. 
  • ALLOCATION MIX UPDATE: Swapped the position of low and high risk tanks to better match the order in PEM. 
  • RETIREMENT INCOME PREDICTABILITY UPDATES: For all three screens, the summary under the chart was modified to display resulting dollar totals instead of the previous version "last until age" values. Screens two and three replaced the [Threshold %] and [Mkt Reduction] with an easier to understand [Market Shield] checkbox, that when checked does not withdraw from market accounts in negative years. 
  • COMPOUNDING VS. SPECULATION UPDATE: A new button was added to the data entry screen to toggle between using an initial balance or an annual contribution for the calculation. 
  • CP GATEWAY: Replaced the term "Facing Risk" with "Investment Strategy" in the generated reports and strengths chart. 
  • NEW AND UPDATED PRINTABLE DOCUMENTS: Added 10-Steps after the Sale. PEM Talk Flyer and What do you do documents. Updated CP Quick Guide, eCQ, 10-Questions, 10-Step Process for Agents, 10-Step Process for Clients. 
  • NEW REVERSE MORTGAGE PRESENTATION: This new nine-screen storyboard explains the potential benefits and addresses common misconceptions associated with HECM (reverse) mortgages. The presentation includes an updated version of Retirement Ready or Not that includes a new reverse mortgage monthly income estimator. 
  • NEW REVERSE MORTGAGE ESTIMATION CALCULATOR: Retirement Ready or Not now includes a reverse mortgage monthly cash availability calculator based on formulas and data provided by Longbridge Financial, LLC. The estimated cash flow can then be easily added to the RRON projection to consider it's potential impact on retirement lifestyle dollars available. 
  • NEW REVERSE MORTGAGE RESOURCE: The launcher now includes a Reverse Mortgage Info app which links to a web-based HECM resource site designed specifically to support Circle of Wealth members. 
  • RRON UPDATES: Besides the reverse mortgage calculator referenced above, RRON now includes the ability to manage the visibility (in displayed results) and inclusion (in calculations) of defined benefits. This can be done in both the data entry screen and the calculator itself by toggling the H (hidden) and E (excluded) check boxes for each item. The calculation screen will display a "House" (equity) button which will toggle the exclusion of the Reverse Mortgage defined benefit when it exists in the list of defined benefits. If there is no defined benefit named Reverse Mortgage, the "House" button will not appear. 
  • MONEYTRAX TAKENOTE INTEGRATION: (PRO Level) COW can automatically sync presentation activity with an associated MoneyTrax TakeNote contact. While presenting, you can create and attach a "Quick Note" to the current (or associated) contact which includes an annotated screen capture.
  • ON-SCREEN HELP BUTTONS MOVED: Help documentation (F1), Help Audio (F2) and Help Video (F3) buttons were removed from the bottom of the presentation screen. They are now located under the [Resources] menu of the on-screen toolbar (which appears when you hover your mouse over the top 1/4" inch of all presentation screens.) You may also activate each from the keyboard using the function keys F1, F2 and F3 respectively.
  • ADDITIONAL UPDATES: 2015 Market history and tax schedules are complete. Help documentation (F1), Help Audio (A) and Help Video (V) buttons were removed from the bottom of the presentation screen. They are now located under the [Resources] menu of the on-screen toolbar (which appears when you hover your mouse over the top 1/4" inch of all presentation screens.) Completed an assortment of minor layout tweaks based on user feedback.

Here's what's changed in Spending Game:

  • SGv2 CASE FILE IMPORT: Spending Game v3 can now import existing v2 (and v1 legacy) case files! At the conclusion of the import, you'll be presented with a short list of items you'll need to review in the case - since prior SG version accounts and features don't fully map to v3 functionality. Importing is as simple as opening a case. After clicking "Open Case..." click the file type option selection and choose "SG Version 1 & 2 files (import-only)" from the list.
  • AUTO-RECOVERY FEATURE: Spending Game takes a "recovery snapshot" of modified cases as you work on them. In the event of abnormal program termination (aka hard crash), the next time Spending Game is opened you are given the opportunity to load the recovered case file. Snapshots are taken every 5 minutes. Please note that Spending Game does not check for recovery snapshots when opening a case file via file association (e.g. directly clicking a saved case file to open it.) Instead, you must run Spending Game directly (by clicking the Spending Game program shortcut) to allow it the opportunity to check for available snapshots. PLEASE NOTE: This feature does not relieve the need to SAVE OFTEN. It's intended to be a data safety net of last resort.
  • TAB LAYOUT SAVED WITH CASE: Spending Game now saves the docking tab layout with the case file and will restore the tabs and layout when the case file is opened. (Cases without layout information will continue to open all non-excluded accounts.) 
  • PEM VIEW UPDATES: The PEM view now integrates "Comparison Case" display in a way similar to how cases are compared in model view. PEM view also includes "protection level" and "values" display options. Moved the option editors to the left of the model and named the "Scale" slider. 
  • FIND-IT UPDATES: When an account is spent down to zero, it's corresponding withdrawal amount ($0.00) will disappear - thus making it visually obvious which accounts still have available funds. The default column order was modified in order to make the math easier to explain to clients.
  • CONSOLIDATED AUTO-STEP FEATURE: Auto-step for PEM & model views is now controlled globally by using the toolbar button (green checkmark.) Clicking this button will synchronize and advance the PEM, model and FIND-IT views. Consequently, the auto-step check boxes were removed from the individual views. Also modified preferences to display auto-step delay in seconds (as opposed to geeky milliseconds) and removed the sync option - as views are always running synced. 
  • ACCOUNT UPDATES: Added ability to modify account-level safe/risk attribute to all account types. Added year-by-year safe and access attributes to all account types as well. Added [Taxable Income Ordinary] column to all accounts. The intent of this column is to express the annual dollars that contribute to taxable income, so that one could estimate marginal/effective tax rate. Term Insurance account has a new "Show DB" (in summary views) check box that will toggle inclusion of Term Death Benefit in PEM & Model Views. Permanent Insurance account has new column [Funding] which expresses total annual funding of policy (Premium + Allocation In.) Added "use values" button to loan calculator pop-up which updates the associated loan with the calculated values and then closes the calculator. Loan account now includes a deduction limit which caps the loan balance eligible for tax deductions.
  • MONEYTRAX TAKENOTE INTEGRATION: (PRO Level) Spending Game can share activity with an associated MoneyTrax TakeNote contact. While presenting, you can create and attach a "Quick Note" to the current (or associated) contact which includes an annotated screen capture. You can also send a copy of all case and cell notes to a TakeNote contact with a single click.
  • OTHER CHANGES: Moved the tab close button to right side of docking area (instead of on the tab itself.) Added comparison case background color option to preferences. Increased height of the "Year" editor in PEM & Model views to make the spinner buttons easier to use. Added [Death Benefit] option to values list in PEM & model views as well as Annual Summary for All Accounts. Comparison case options are now available in the file menu at all times. Added Taxable Income summary. Added a case notes report.

At your service,

Jeff Hopper & Team

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