Plan Settings (also known as preferences) are the underlying default assumptions used by the software when calculating client cases. In Voyant we code for what we know -- i.e. what the government has announced or legislated -- and when moving beyond the known, we give you, the adviser or paraplanner, tools to set whatever you deem to be reasonable assumptions about future projections.
Note that the assumptions which come packaged with Voyant (with the exception of the Market Assumptions) are just placeholders and are not updated by us, other than changes that relate to legislation. We recommend that you review and set these defaults as a firm, prior to use. System Preferences (the settings which serve as a template of default values for future client cases) can only be set in Adviser at present, so we recommend that you also read this article about preferences in Adviser: A master list of the software's default assumptions.
The preferences which can be found in Plan Settings in AdviserGo are the same as the client-specific Plan Preferences in Voyant Adviser.
View and edit plan settings in AdviserGo
Editable preferences (assumptions) are found in AdviserGo on the Dashboard screen under the heading Plan Settings.
These preferences are the same as the client-specific Plan Preferences in Voyant Adviser. They are not System Preferences, which serve as a template of default values for future client cases.
Plan Settings apply only to the client case at hand and can be changed, if necessary, on a per-scenario basis, just as they can be in Voyant Adviser. The same rules of inheritance from the Base Plan apply.
Most of the preferences that can be set at the plan level in Adviser can also be managed in AdviserGo. There are a few deliberate omissions, such as Market Assumptions, default Asset Allocation, and the default settings for the Major Market Loss simulation. These will likely be added to AdviserGo sometime in the future. Default Ages is also an omitted setting.
System Preferences, on the other hand, cannot currently be managed in AdviserGo but they may be added at some point in the future. System preferences serve as a default template of preferences for future client cases and can be managed today in Voyant Adviser.
Firms that use our rebranding services to manage their preferences can effectively manage the default Plan Settings in AdviserGo as well. The same System Preferences controlled through their rebrand – those that appear in Voyant Adviser – will show as the initial default Plan Settings in AdviserGo, provided they haven’t been edited at some point by the user.
Master list of Plan Settings in AdviserGo
In this list is a summary of how each preference, setting, or option is used in the software. The preferences inventoried below are used in all versions of Voyant unless otherwise noted - e.g. (UK).
Inflation / Growth
Inflation Rate % is used to inflate expenses and the future purchase price of properties. Importantly, the default inflation rate is also applied whenever a “Present Value” is used. The inflation rate is used to compute the future value of any monetary amount found in the Steps sections throughout the plan input screens. This default can be overridden at the individual item level.
Savings Growth Rate % is used as the default interest rate (Growth Rate) for cash accounts, which are found on the Savings screen. This default interest rate is used provided that Grow this account by Portfolio option is not selected for the account. Importantly, this preference sets the initial default interest rate for the software's Cash Sweep Account (e.g. John's Cash). This default can be overridden at the individual item level.
Investment Growth Rate % is used to set the default growth rate (capital growth) on investments, money purchases and drawdown pensions, provided that Grow this account by Portfolio is not selected for the account. This preference is also used as the default growth rate applied to the hypothetical taxable savings account created when running the Annual Savings Insight. This default can be overridden at the individual item level.
Reinvest Investment Yield allows the yield on investments (unwrapped investments and ISAs) to be defaulted to either reinvest or pay out annually. Voyant is usually set, by default, to reinvest yields rather than pay them out annually, but this can be easily changed either at the default/plan setting level or on an individual item basis.
Property Growth/Depreciation Rate % is the initial, default rate at which a property, once purchased, will increase or decrease in value. A negative value could be entered in cases where a depreciation rate is deemed appropriate. For a future property purchase, the Inflation Rate is used to compute the future value of a property when purchased. This default can be overridden at the individual property level.
National Average Earnings % (UK/US) Income Rate (Ireland/Canada) is used as the default rate of income inflation for Employment and Other Income. This default can be overridden at the individual item level. It is also used to escalate state pension benefits In the UK version as part of the Triple Lock formula.
Social Security COLA % (US) is the Cost of Living Increase (COLA) on Social Security benefits.
CPP/QPP COLA % (Canada) is the annual rate at which future Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits will increase.
Annuity Assumed Interest Rate % is used as the default annuity interest rate, which is used to convert an accumulated pension fund into an annuity or to calculate payments when purchasing any future annuity. This default can be overridden at the individual item level.
CPI % the Consumer Prices Index can be used (if selected) to inflate items such as escalating final salary pension and annuity payouts. It is also used to escalate the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB) in the UK version of the software. For the UK software, the future Lifetime Allowance (LTA) is also escalated based on CPI.
RPI % (UK, Ireland, US) the Retail Price Index can be used (if selected) to inflate items such as escalating final salary pension and annuity payouts. The software's Real Money option (available on the Dashboard and Let's See screens) displays present values of the calculation results using RPI to compute the present values.
Pension COLA % (US) sets the default Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) on pensions.
Default Tax Table Assumption % can be used to edit and apply an across-the-board annual escalation to the future tax related assumptions such as tax brackets, allowances and thresholds and contribution allowances to investments/pensions.
Amount taxed as regular income % (US) can be used to set a default amount liquidated annually which is taxed as regular income.
Amount taxed as capital gains % (US) can be used to set a default amount liquidated annually which is taxed as capital gains.
Onshore Bond Internal Tax Rate % (UK) is used to set the internal tax rate to be applied to onshore bonds in order to better capture the relative differences between onshore and offshore bonds. The internal tax rate will only be applied to growth on the account – e.g. a 20% rate of tax would reduce an assumed ‘headline’ growth rate of 5%, to 4% - a reduction of 1% (i.e. 20% of the assumed growth). An assumed ‘headline’ rate of 4%, on the other hand, would see a reduction of only 0.8% (to 3.2%), and so on.
The liquidation order is used to set a default order for asset liquidation based on asset type. Read more >>
The savings order is used to set which types of accounts receive priority when multiple contributions are set to occur in a given year. Read more >>
Transfer all excess income/credits to savings is usually set to No by default as Voyant is normally set to assume unallocated surplus is spent. You have the option, however, to switch this setting to Yes and assume the opposite. Use this setting to assume leftover surplus is saved, if you think this approach is appropriate for your clients and their lifestyle. Read more >>
Save income after retirement as with the above setting, is usually set to No by default as Voyant is normally sets to assume unallocated surplus is spent. Switching this setting to Yes allows you to assume that surplus is saved in the retirement stage. Prior to retirement, surplus will be assumed spent. Read more >>
Grow all investment and retirement accounts using asset allocation is usually set to No by default. Switching this setting to Yes automatically sets all investments and retirement accounts to be grown using asset allocations. Note that when this is set to No you have the option to grow accounts using either a fixed growth rate or to have growth derived from an asset allocation. When this setting is set to Yes the Grow this account by dropdown will be set to Portfolio/Holdings in the Growth section of the input screens and cannot be changed to Entered Capital Gains and Yield.
Grow all savings and cash accounts using a 100% cash allocation is usually set to No by default. Switching this setting to Yes automatically sets all savings accounts to be grown using a 100% cash asset allocation. Note that when this is set to No you have the option to grow accounts using either a fixed interest rate or to have growth derived from a 100% cash asset allocation. When this setting is set to Yes the Grow this account by dropdown will be set to Portfolio/Holdings in the Growth section of the input screens and cannot be changed to Entered Interest Rate.
Allow qualified withdrawals before age 60 (US) is usually set to No by default. Switching this setting to Yes allows qualified withdrawals to be made prior to age 60.
Crystallise final salary before money purchase (UK) is usually set to No by default which means that if in a given year the lifetime allowance test is being performed on a combination final salary schemes and money purchase pension, the test on the money purchase will be performed first. Switching this setting to Yes allows you to assume the opposite so that the final salary tests are performed first.
Apply CPP/QPP Split (Canada) is usually set to No by default. When this setting is set to Yes total CPP/QPP pension payments are split equally between primary client and spouse/partner.
Overriding Plan Settings - Editing assumptions at the item level within a plan
The default growth rates and other assumptions, found on the Plan Settings screen will be used as the initial default values when creating a client case. However, most these defaults can be overridden, when necessary, by making edits at the item level.
For example, the default Inflation Rate for all expenses in the plan could be set to 2.5% in the Plan Settings. This means whenever a new expense is added to the plan, that expense will be set to inflate in the future at a rate of 2.5% per annum.
However, perhaps there is a particular expense, education or health care costs for example, that should inflate more rapidly. Exceptions to the default can be made by simply editing the Inflation Rate for that expense individually.
Any edits made at the item level will override the initial defaults from Plan Settings. Moreover, once edited at the item level, these settings will remain as edited for the item, regardless of any later changes made in Plan Settings.
How to revert an a setting edited at the item level back to the Plan Settings
Should you ever need to revert a setting edited at the item level back to the plan default, click Use Defaults and the item will once again use the default value taken from Plan Settings.
Outputting Plan Settings in printable reports
Information about the software's Plan Settings can also be output in printable pdf reports. Reports can be generated from the Reports screen. For more information on how to generate a report click here.
The main AdviserGo report that relates to plan settings is the Assumptions report. This report contain most of the client-facing values from the Plan Settings that would be meaningful to your client. It is not intended to include all of the software's preferences. Rather, the report only features preferences that have an obvious bearing on your client's plan.
The Financial Summary report also has a summary of a the main inflation and growth assumptions. Click here for more information on this report.