Living Balance Sheet® is a financial planning platform created by the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Guardian makes the software exclusively available to its career vendor. Living Balance Sheet aims to help both individuals and entrepreneurs organize their financial lives, reveal unusual knowledge and provide accurate advice as traditional financial planning often goes wrong.
The platform Live balance sheet borrows several ideas from other insurance-focused planning programs such as Leap Systems and Circle of Wealth. Built on the eMoney platform, the software provides extensive aggregation of financial data as well as modeling for future scenarios.
Provides Mission Control for Your Finances
Live Balance Sheet offers a single main location for reviewing your entire finances from a zoomed out perspective. Together with your Guardian agent, you can fill in a personal account that gives you a solution to your assets and liabilities. You can access this information anywhere, anytime via the internet. There is even a Live Balance Sheet app available for at least iPhone users – even if it has not been updated in several years.
While an economic imagery may not seem like a huge deal in today's environment of scheduling services doing much of the same thing, Live Balance Sheet was in a small collection of options over a decade ago when the Guardian first rolled out it.
This feature also allows you to store digital copies of important documents with probably higher security than placing such documents in a more commonly used cloud archiving system such as DropBox or Google Drive.
Finally, the system intentionally prohibits transactions to / from your financial accounts. This ensures that if someone gained unauthorized access to your account, he / she will not be able to process any transactions with the specified accounts.
While Live Balance Sheet plans software, it is also a sales tool used by Guardian agents to support their financial planning brand. This brad is strongly skewed to benefit life insurance, and more specifically whole life insurance. Live Balance Sheet comes loaded with several "modules" designed to help Guardian agents explain their philosophy of a "protection first" financial plan, which uses many graphic narratives to question more traditional / ordinary financial advice. .
If you are going to work with a Guardian Agent using Live Balance Sheet you will likely go through hours of presentations aimed at warming you up for the entire life insurance policy as an important part of your financial plan. You can really use the software without this, but given that Guardian agents are the gatekeeper to access the software, be prepared for a long sales level.
This does not mean that it is necessarily bad advice. The software definitely helps to create budgets, look for opportunities for tax efficiency and model pension scenarios to give you a better idea of where you are and where you are going. And it's a much more comprehensive guide than simply deferring an arbitrary percentage of your income to your 401 (k). al.
Several years ago, the Guardian launched a website and created several marketing materials focusing on what they claimed were unique discoveries that led them to study the pension planning landscape. The company also commissioned a study by insurance consultant Dick Weber and put together a website to talk about life insurance as an asset class – the site now only leads you to a page on the Guardian Life's main page that tells you the site is not currently available.
The "unusual" knowledge that the Guardian referred to contained many similarities with the ideas originally organized and discussed in Bob Castiglione's Lifetime Economic Acceleration Process (LEAP) . Again, a paradigm that aims to build the reason why cash value life insurance should play an important role in someone's financial plan.
While some of this advice is at least worth listening to, it's healthy to approach it with a touch of skepticism. I'm not … repeat … DO NOT say it's bad. It's just crooked in a direction that attaches great importance to whole life insurance friendly designs that can … sometimes … over emphasize cash value life insurance as a knight in shining armor.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Live Balance Sheet
Having access to a financial aggregator that synchronizes your account balances across multiple banks, brokerage firms, etc. definitely helps to capture your overall financial picture. Putting this against equally synchronized debt to reach your actual balance sheet at every opportunity provides a unique insight that would benefit a large portion of the population. Having this type of data ready on a particular day of the week potentially helps many people make informed decisions by reviewing their entire financial lives while on the go and guiding decision making that many of us are likely to be more in the dark than we care. to admit. Trying to put all this together is a wonderful task and LBS deserves serious kudos for handling this goal.
Living Balance Sheet also deserves high marks for its ability to allow advisers and clients to review scenarios and strategize plans to build a more secure financial future. The platform also deserves praise for being one of the most comprehensive resources that helps agents explain the benefits of cash life insurance.
But the software has not aged so well and what once emerged as an industry-leading technology is now lost in the multitude of options that certainly captured many of the features that LBS exclusively boasted at the same time. While a mobile app is technically available, it has not been updated in three years and several reviews mention that it fades significantly compared to the desktop version of the software. Here is a screenshot of the version history from the Apple App Store when this blog post was written:
Is access to LBS worth it?
To access Live Balance Sheet, you must work with a Guardian Life Insurance Company agent. The software is not available to licensed investment or insurance personnel who are not career salespeople for the company. This means that if you use this software, you will probably face a lot of pressure to buy life insurance from Guardian Life through the agent who gives you planning through LBS.
This might be a good option for you. Although Live Balance Sheet provides a number of useful features to help you organize your financial life, it is not the only software that can achieve similar goals. You can actually get very similar functionality (focusing entirely on whole life insurance) through any financial planner who uses eMoney & # 39 ;s financial planning software.
And there are many other financial planning software options that emerged after the launch of Live Balance Sheet that handle similar or in some cases much more extensive planning functions than LBS.
So if you find a good fit with a Guardian agent and you happen to like the feature in Live Balance Sheet use it for all its value anyway. But you will probably be able to live without it if you choose to buy insurance elsewhere or work with another financial planner.