It’s been nearly three years since we introduced SMI readers to the web-based financial-planning software MoneyGuidePro® — the most popular such software among professional financial advisors — and our affiliates at SMI Advisory Services made it available to SMI Premium-level members for a remarkably low \$50 one-time fee.

Now, MoneyGuide has gotten even better with the addition of MyBlocks — a system that offers 1) a simpler "getting started" process for first-time users and 2) helpful new features for existing users.

Think back to your high school algebra class (but don’t freak out!). No longer are you doing math with numbers, as you’ve done since first grade. Instead, your algebra textbook is all about letters: x’s, y’s, and z’s. Your task: solve equations that have unknown variables.

Planning for your financial future is a lot like high school algebra — except that the variables tend to be more numerous and, in some cases, unknowable! For example, maybe you intend to work until age 70, but what would happen to your finances if you lose your job at 66? Or if you had to cut back to part-time to care for an aging parent? What would happen if your spouse dies earlier than expected, and, as a result, you receive only one Social Security retirement benefit instead of two? What if inflation turns out to be higher than anyone expected?

In trying to plan your future finances, how can you “solve for x” when, to borrow words from the Apostle James, “you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:14)? All these uncertainty factors are what make long-term planning such a challenge.

Since there is no way to know what the future may hold, it’s wise to develop a plan that takes into account multiple “what if” scenarios. In other words, you need a plan that — despite all the unknowable variables — can offer a reasonable likelihood of ensuring financial stability in your later years.

That’s a tall order, but unlike a high school algebra test, it’s okay to get outside help! The web-based MoneyGuide software can help you formulate a plan that will enable you to face the financial future with greater confidence and peace of mind.

MoneyGuide isn’t just another planning tool. Among professional advisors, it is considered the best planning software available. Typically, MoneyGuide is available only to clients who are working directly with a financial advisor. But, by special arrangement, we’ve been able to offer the software directly to SMI do-it-yourselfers since 2017. The 1,500 SMI members who have signed up have been equipped to seize control of their retirement preparation, reduce uncertainty, and move toward accomplishing their most important financial goals.