A comprehensive personal financial plan prepared by a professional planner costs from $2,000 to $20,000 even when conventional computer software is used. A plan prepared by an expert system costs from $200 to $500 if no professional planner is involved. Because these systems can produce many plans at substantially reduced prices, personal financial planners may need to consider using an expert system operators’ services to remain competitive and to extend their practices. This article describes the use of expert systems in personal financial planning and the research approach used to evaluate the expert systems. For four of the six expert systems that have been developed, it compares the data-collection forms and information used in preparing personal financial plans. Then, it discusses environmental and system assumptions. Lastly, the article analyzes the impact of the variations observed in information requested, system parameters, and system assumptions, and, when possible, compares the recommendations of the plans. KEY WORDS: expert systems, personal financial planning, validation

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