Plans cover a lifetime spanning the Start date - often the date the client record was originally created - to the death of the client or the death of the spouse or partner. A timeline is used to illustrate life as a series of stages and events.
The timeline is managed on the Time screen in Voyant.
The numbers running along the horizontal axis of the timeline show the future ages of the primary client (the first person entered in the plan) or when an event is selected in the timeline, the future ages of the owner of that event.
When an event is added to the timeline, an owner is usually selected for it in the Events palette above. If an event is added to the timeline without an owner, two-digit future years will be displayed instead on the axis when the event is selected.
Events and stages will be used throughout the plan for timing: to schedule when expenses, account contributions, incomes, pensions and protection policies are to begin and (in some cases) end. Events can also be used to schedule the liquidation of assets.
Events are specific future planning points in time. Buying or selling a home, a wedding, retirement date, or a major holiday to celebrate a special anniversary are all examples of events.
Stages are distinct periods of time and are normally used to illustrate periods of major life changes. Some commonly used stages are early career and late career, active or early retirement and late retirement or long term care. Your clients' needs and goals may change dramatically during these periods of time. If at least one of your clients is still working (or has yet to go into deaccumulation) at the start of the plan, the software will divide the timeline into two basic stages, Pre-retirement and Retirement. These two stages can be further subdivided, if necessary.
It is important to understand, however, that stages are strictly optional and in many cases events are more flexible and easier to add to the timeline.
Which are more convenient to use for timing, events or stages?
As a rule, events are much more flexible than stages since they can be easily moved up or down the timeline to reschedule the timing and duration of items in a plan, provided that the event is not being used as stage boundary. Stage boundary events are noted with perforated boxes. Stages, by contrast, are discrete periods of time that cannot overlap. Stages a better suited for dividing the timeline at a broader level. Retirement, for example, could be divided into two stages, "Active Retirement" and "Late Retirement" or "Long Term Care" both with very different needs and expenses. All said, use events primarily.
Also, generally, the timeline should be subdivided into no more than six stages. Using an excess of stages can diminish their effectiveness when presenting the plan to your client.
Why events and stages? Why not enter ages, years or dates for timing?
Stages and especially events provide a layer of abstraction that specific dates and ages do not. Items timed using events, such as the duration of one’s career, can be easily adjusted by dragging events up or down the timeline. Items can even be rescheduled interactively on the Let's See charts, as the plan is discussed with your client. Click the Edit Time button and with one easy drag-and-drop, everything tied to the repositioned event is recalculated instantaneously.
Timeline- Full Screen
If you have difficulty viewing all the Events you have entered on the timeline, this can be made more clear by making it full Screen size. Do this by select Full Screen to the right below stages. The 'Full Screen' view opens-up in a completely separate/new 'window'. To restore, simply select the cross in the top right of the screen.