Tony Leal

President, Envestnet | MoneyGuide

Tony Leal, who’s been involved in the advice business for more than two decades and is co-creator of its most popular financial planning software tools, feels free to speak his mind.

“The advice industry focuses on numbers while clients care about being able to travel when they retire. It’s completely asinine,” said Leal, who heads Envestnet MoneyGuide.

Leal said goals-based MoneyGuide, which he and Bob Curtis created and sold to Envestnet in 2019, has been successful because it reflects how people actually think about their money and investments, including what they want to accomplish.

“We always believed that clients care more about their goals than about a detailed ledger sheet,” Leal said. “Goals are something people can understand, and if they see how they are doing in reaching their goals, then they’ll be OK whether the market goes up or down.”

Advisers were slow to appreciate the value of using a goals-based approach, Leal said, and even financial planning pioneer Harold Evensky, who became a consultant to the company, “took a year to become a believer — and he was a good friend.”

The tenacity to deliver what he sees people really want is driving Leal to expand his latest product, MyBlocks, which consists of 38 blocks or mini-plans dealing with issues including retirement income and Social Security.

“What I love about being part of Envestnet is that they allow us to be us — a one-trick planning pony,” he said.

— Evan Cooper