About the Timeline and future planning events
The Timeline is the visual framework our outline of client’s future plans. Shown in the top half of this screen is your client’s timeline and their future planning events. This timeline was devised initially as you first entered your client’s basic personal information to create the plan.
On this screen you will use events to visually depict their goals, aspirations, concerns, and other future milestones. It is here on the timeline that you can bring your client's financial goals to life, emphasize key points in time, and most importantly, make the plan one that is both personal and unique.
Events are place markers which represent key events in the clients life, forming a framework around which the plan is built. Events can be entered on the Timeline and we will look at in a moment.
Events are an extremely flexible and powerful feature in Voyant.
Not only are they a feature that allow you to schedule things to happen in the future they also serve as discussion points as you present plans to your clients. View the Timeline, the chart in Dashboard or the Let’s See charts and you can clearly see the events serving as inflection points in the timeline. Moreover, events are movable. Should you need to reschedule something, you can immediately see the effect as you drag the event up or town the timeline. Repositioning an event will affect everything that is connected to the event.
Why not enter an age, the year, or a date for timing?
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 you are discussing the plan with your client, click the event icon (1) and then the event name (2), as pictured right, and with one easy drag-and-drop (3), everything tied to the repositioned event is recalculated instantaneously, as shown below.
Along the Axis - Your clients’ future ages are shown along the axis of the timeline
Notice the numbers along the axis of the timeline. These are, in this example, clients John and Julia’s future ages. John’s ages will be shown the top row because he was the first person we entered in the plan. Julia’s ages will be shown in the second row. These ages will also be shown along the x-axis of charts on the Dashboard and Let’s See screens, and in printable reports.
Default Events - Some events are created for you automatically by the software
On the timeline are a few default events to start. Move your cursor over any of the event icons to see the name of the event and other details such as the event’s year or what the event owner’s age will be at that future point in time.
Plan Start - The timeline for your clients will initially show the following events. The plan’s Start year, which should be set to the current year.
Retirement - Your client and your client's spouse or partner's planned retirement, if they are not retired already, positioned initially at age 65.
Mortality - Your client and your client's spouse or partner's lifespans will be set with their Mortality events, which are usually placed initially at age 90.
Plan End - The latter of these two events will ultimately mark the Plan’s End.
These events will also be listed in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Move your cursor over any of these listings and its corresponding event will be highlighted in the timeline above. This list, which pops out selected events in the timeline above, could be an effective presentation tool as you review the timeline with your clients.
The assumed ages of your clients' retirement as well as their life expectancies can be easily changed by selecting the icon and dragging and dropping the Retirement or Mortality events up or down the timeline, to the owner's appropriate future age.
Tip – You can also move events by double clicking the event icon. This will open the Edit Event dialogue, which includes an event slider and options to move events to future years or to the future age of its owner.
Adding Events to the Timeline
To illustrate how events are added to the timeline and used to schedule items in the plan, let’s add two events onto the timeline. There first will be used to show John’s plan to purchase a sports car at age 55. The other event will be used to plan for their daughter Martina’s future wedding.
There are two ways to add events to the timeline.
Option 1 - Use the Plus (+) menu to add an event to the timeline
1. Click the plus button (+) bottom right.
2. Select Event. The Event dialogue will display.
3. Name: Enter a name for the event - e.g. “John’s Sports Car”.
4. Owner: Select the owner of the event - e.g. John. Any future ages shown for the timing of the event will be those of the event’s owner, John. The event will also be shown on the timeline in John’s colour.
5. Type: Select in the event icon palette an appropriately representative symbol for the event. Considering this is a sports car purchase at age 55, the Mid-life Crisis event seems appropriate.
6. Edit Timing: Use the slider at the bottom of the dialogue to set the event at age 55. At you move the slider to the right, notice how the future Year and Age to the left change to show the year/age in which the slider is positioned. Move the slider until age 55 is shown in the Age field to the left.
7. Tip – If you prefer, rather than use the slider you could instead click the Year or Age fields to position the event by selecting the appropriate future year or future age of the event’s owner. Again, the future ages shown will be those of the event’s owner, John.
8. Click Save, top right.
The event will be added to the timeline in the year (and at the age) selected. It will also be shown in the list of events to the bottom right of the Timeline screen, as shown below.
Notice the icon’s colour. This is John’s randomly assigned colour, which in this case is green. All of John’s events on the timeline will be shown this colour, making them readily identifiable as belonging to him, whereas Julia’s events are shown in blue.
Option 2 - Double-click the timeline to add an event
In addition to using the Event option in the plus (+) menu, events can also be added by double-clicking any bar above the timeline.
For example, the Campbells would like to set aside funds to one day pay for their daughter’s wedding. Let’s add an event to the timeline to plan for this future goal. Let’s add an event using this option.
1. Double click any bar above the timeline. The Add Event dialogue will display, as shown below.
2. Name: Enter a name for the event, “Martina’s Wedding”.
3. Owner: Select Martina. Any future ages shown for the timing of the event will be those of the event’s owner, Martina. The event will also be shown on the timeline in Martina’s colour, which in this plan is pink.
4. Type: Select in the event icon palette the Wedding
5. Edit Timing: Use the slider at the bottom of the dialogue to set the event at age 25. At you move the slider to the right, notice how the future Year and Age to the left change to show the year/age in which the slider is positioned. Move the slider until age 25 is shown in the Age field to the left.
6. Tip – If you prefer, rather than use the slider you could instead click the Year or Age fields to position the event by selecting the appropriate future year or future age of the event’s owner. Again, the future ages shown will be those of the event’s owner, Martina.
7. Click Save, top right.
The event will be added to the timeline in the year (and at the age) selected. It will also be shown in the growing list of events to the bottom right of the Timeline screen, as shown below.
Notice the icon’s colour. This is Martina’s randomly assigned colour, which in this case is magenta. All of Martina’s events on the timeline will be shown this colour, making them readily identifiable as belonging to her, whereas John’s events are shown in green and Julia’s in blue.
We will later this event in a moment to schedule the Martina’s wedding as a future milestone goal.
Tip - Events can also be added on the fly on the Timing and Steps tabs
Events can be added on the fly not only on the Timeline screen but also on the Timing and Steps tabs, which you will use to set the timing of items such as incomes or goals and expenses as you enter them into a plan. Timing tabs set the overall timing of an item while Steps are used conditionally, if you need to change things about an item in the future - e.g. double future spending on travel at retirement.
If you need to add an event to time something but haven't added the event to the timeline in advance, simply double click the space above the timeline on the Timing or Steps tab to add a new event to the timeline and use it to time the item you are entering into the plan.
Events are colour-coded based on the event’s owner
Colour assignment are random. The client specific colours in your client case may be different from the ones shown below based on the order in which you entered people into the plan and in some cases, possibly based on your firm’s rebranding of the software.
Note - The events you add to the timeline serve only as placeholders, at least initially
It is important to understand that for the most part, events you add to the timeline serve initially only as markers. Adding events to the timeline will not automatically add goals or expenses to the plan. Rather, events highlight when these goals or expenses are to occur in the future. We will use these events for timing later, when we add to the plan milestone goals for John’s sportscar and Martina’s wedding and the costs associated with them.
If you need to make edits to event on the timeline, simply double click the event icon. This will display the Event dialogue, shown below, on which you can change the event’s name, owner, icon, and position on the timeline, changing the year in which the event occurs and the timing of anything (such as incomes, expenses) that are timed using the event.
Presenting the Timeline - Displaying or hiding events based on owner
In the upper right corner of the timeline is a list of event owners. Not only does this list provide a key to the colour coding of the events on the timeline beneath it, these event owners are also clickable. This is another interactive feature of the timeline designed for client presentations. Clicking an event owner will toggle their events off or on, hiding or displaying them in timeline below. For example, you could choose to have a view of the timeline that shows only Julia’s events. To modify the timeline, deselect John, Martina and Alex, top right, leaving only Julia selected.
Events owned by the other plan members can be brought back into view by toggling on their owners. The timeline will be refreshed to show all events anytime you leave and then return to the Timeline screen or by clicking the Refresh button in your browser.