5 Totally Free Tech Tools Every Financial Advisor Needs

February 17, 2023 | 8 minute read

When you think of tools for financial advisors, what do you imagine? If "fax machine" came to mind, you might need to update how you conceptualize technology tools.

Whether you find yourself tinkering with the newest digital tools as soon as they're released or you prefer a rolodex for keeping track of prospects, there's no denying technology has changed the way people live.

In this digital world, clients expect a certain level of convenience that requires 21st century tools to deliver. Client-experience incentives aside, digital tools have the power to make your life easier too — they streamline communications, improve organizational effectiveness, and increase efficiency.

If the thought of vetting and learning new technologies seems time consuming, don't worry. We've compiled a list of essential digital tools for financial advisors that even serious luddites can master quickly.

1) Calendly

What it does

Calendly is a web add-on that integrates with your calendar and allows clients to easily book meetings using a custom link, which you can send to prospects and post on your website.

Why you should use it

This is a big service upgrade for you as a financial advisor. Not requiring clients to pick up the phone to book a meeting is huge, since nobody really likes making phone calls these days. Most people would prefer to click on a link, which is exactly what Calendly makes possible.

In fact, The Phone Lady (an expert phone sales consultant who coaches Planswell partners) attributes the use of software like Calendly to an overall improvement in an advisor's business.

What the tool costs

Calendly has various account tiers, ranging from free to $16/month. If all you're using Calendly for is booking the same type of meeting (e.g. half-hour consultation blocks), the free plan should work for you.

If you want to set up multiple different types of meetings, however, you may want to upgrade to the essentials plan, which is $8/month.

2) Evernote

What it does

Evernote is much more than a note-taking application — their goal is to help you "remember everything." The software's features include organized note-taking, task lists, templates for taking more effective notes, calendar integration, and a web clipper.

Why you should use it

If you're anything like most of the financial advisors I've talked to, you have a lot on your plate. Keeping yourself organized might just be the biggest hurdle to your success.

Utilizing a tool like Evernote will help you stay organized, which will improve your overall performance, efficiency, and could allow you to offer improved services to your clients. You can set up a series of folders to store notes and documents for clients and even set reminders to follow up with leads you're nurturing.

What the tool costs

Evernote offers several account levels, including a free version that has enough functionality to suffice for most financial advisors. If, however, you want to truly utilize the task management function, you'll want to upgrade to the personal tier ($8.99/month) the free version won't allow you to set due dates past "tomorrow."

The personal tier also allows you to store 10 gigabytes of notes per month, sync to unlimited devices, and create custom note templates, which might help streamline the onboarding process.

There's also a professional version for $10.99/month which might be useful if you manage a larger team, as it allows you to assign and monitor progress on tasks with multiple users.

3) Zoom

What it does

There isn't much to say about Zoom that you probably don't already know at this point, but just in case: Zoom is widely regarded as the best video conferencing tool in the business. It allows you to set up, host, and record high quality meetings and webinars.

Why you should use it

If you're relying on potential clients to actually travel to your office to meet, you're leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. Even an existing client may not want to leave the house to check in on their assets or an investment, and they may choose to dump you for more tech-savvy advisors if you don't offer videoconferencing as an option. So, meeting over Zoom will not only save time, but it could save your business as well.

What's more, this digital tool makes it easy to replicate the feeling of an in-person meeting. You can share important information through the screen sharing feature, like displaying financial goals or visualizing milestones.

Giving a client easier access to your services is not only generally an excellent idea, it's become expected in a post-pandemic world.

What the tool costs

You can use Zoom for free so long as you don't need to host meetings with more than 100 people that last longer than 40 minutes. This should be plenty of time for financial advisors to meet with prospective clients or check in with existing ones.

If you want to record and store meetings on the cloud, however, you'll need to pay for a subscription. They're fairly inexpensive though: a single user on the pro plan (which offers 5 gigabytes of cloud storage) is $200 CAD per year.

4) Dropbox

What it does

Dropbox is a secure cloud storage tool that offers solutions to in-office data storage problems. It also allows you to simplify processing paperwork with customers since you can send, receive, and sign documents over the internet.

Why you should use it

First of all, if you're going to be offering clients the option to meet virtually, you're going to have to find a way to process paperwork that won't make customers feel like they're living in the 1970s (i.e. something a little more modern than a fax machine).

Dropbox allows you to share information about a client's finances with them easily and without worrying about data security. Dropbox plans also offer online document signing solutions, computer backup and file recovery, and the ability to share large files.

How much the tool costs

Dropbox offers a variety of plans for individuals and businesses that all have varying storage capacities and other functionalities as well.

In all honesty, the free version probably won't work for financial advisors with too many clients. Only 1 user gets access, and you get a measly 2 gigabytes of storage space.

If you want to be able to send files back and forth between clients and have them sign contracts, you'll need to upgrade.

For financial advisors with a smaller operation, the plus plan ($11.99/month) is probably sufficient. You get 2 terabytes of storage (literally 1,000 times more than the free plan) and can sign up to 3 documents each month.

If your business is larger, however, you may need the professional plan ($19.99/month). This gets you an extra terabyte of storage and adds advanced sharing controls with file-locking capabilities.

5) Planswell

Are we above plugging our own services? Nope! If you haven't taken a look at the tools Planswell has to offer, you absolutely should.

What Planswell does

Planswell marries AI with human relationships.

Our proprietary, client-led financial planning software is offered to partner advisors for free, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll fill your pipeline too! We connect expert advisors and life-licensed insurance agents with qualified, local households at the exact moment they’re curious about funding their retirement. 

Why you should use it 

Don't think of Planswell as a lead-gen company; yes, we’ll take care of your prospecting, but we’re not selling lead lists. Some important distinctions about the households you’ll meet through Planswell: 

1) Exclusivity

The households assigned to you are assigned ONLY to you, for life.  No rushing to the phones to beat other financial advisors to the punch — that’s a bad experience for advisors and households alike. With Planswell, you can take as long as you need to nurture a real, trusting relationship with your prospective clients. That’s a win-win for all involved.

2) Data

Planswell households have all opted to create accounts on our site and supplied us with 40+ intimate data points about their finances. They've also SMS-validated their phone numbers, so we know there's a real human on the other end of the phone who's invested in their financial future. 

3) Real-time

Our software instantaneously develops and delivers a comprehensive financial report to the user and to you, their assigned advisor. Upon receipt of the report, it’s your time to shine. You get an easy foot in the door: “I’m looking at your plan, and I can see a couple easy ways to get you more money in retirement.” 

As you likely know, prospective clients are best served hot and fresh right out of the oven, while financial planning is on their minds.

What the tool costs

It’s completely free to get involved with Planswell, but we do offer subscription tiers for those who want to get the most out of our services. Subscription tiers come with a guaranteed number of households in your state or province each month (typically 10-50), so it’s ideal for those wishing to accelerate growth. 

All subscriptions are month-to-month, so you’ll never be locked into a contract if the platform no longer suits you. Depending on consumer demand in your area, we may even be able to offer discounts on your subscription. Chat with our team to see current offers for your market.

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