The thoroughness of this planner is unique, incorporating technical and educational features that simply won't be found elsewhere.
• Interview style questions, with explanatory notes, easily guide you through the set up, providing an unparalleled ease of use.
• Clear educational notes on complex topics (e.g. Medicare costs, tax laws, Social Security) help to inform you.
• Flexibility in entering variable income, expenses, investment returns, savings, and one time events allows for individual needs.
• Essential variables that are often ignored by other planning tools, but have a big impact on results, are accounted for (see below).
• A high level of clarity and detail in the results provides transparency into how it all works from start to finish, making it truly "complete".
The following are some of the specific features that set this retirement planner apart from all others:
• If married, there are separate entries by spouse for retirement dates, income, Social Security, investment returns, savings contributions and balances. If a planner doesn't offer this, it won't be accurate!
• If you own a home (or two), annual tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes are calculated automatically. You can even specify if either mortgage will be paid off early, or either property sold, automatically adjusting your total expenses and deductions from that year forward. You have the option to use the net proceeds from a sale to help pay future expenses.
• Federal tax calculations account for ordinary income, retirement distributions, and Social Security income (all are taxed differently), and any repeatable tax deductions (mortgage interest, real estate taxes, State income/sales tax, charity, medical, etc.). This is critical!
• For those with children, there's a built in college savings calculator that specifies the amount needed to save, per month, per year, per child. It accounts for the costs of different types of institutions, the amount of student loans allowed, estimated financial aid, and invested savings vs. regular savings. This is an awesome tool all by itself! Download it for free by clicking on the "Buy Now" button above.
• Help with estimating health care costs in retirement, with those costs adjusting at a yearly inflation rate unique to health care (based on projections from the U.S. Department Of The Actuary). No other planner does this, and it has a huge effect on results.
• The ability to itemize both current and expected retirement expenses, and to specify varying time frames for each expense. This determines your actual need, by year. For even greater accuracy, fixed expenses are not inflation adjusted. Attention to detail matters.
• The option to use cash savings/Roth IRA's to pay expenses before using taxable retirement savings (delay taxes as long as possible!).
• In any year that net income is greater than expenses, 25% of the excess is saved, and applied to future expenses. Starting at age 70, in any year that Required Minimum Distributions from retirement savings are greater than actual need, 50% of the excess is saved, and applied to future expenses. These "automatic savings" delay retirement savings distributions (and taxes!).
• If married, distributions from retirement savings are specified by spouse, and are based on actual need. All distributions account for tax liability so that each distribution covers expenses and the taxes owed on it. Again, this is critical, but it's a point most planners miss.
• The ability to enter expected (unexpected?) one time events (additions or subtractions) that significantly impact retirement savings.
• Results for each spouse are shown, by year, for: ordinary income, retirement savings contributions, investment return rates, retirement savings distributions, retirement savings balances, Social Security income, and cash/Roth IRA savings used to pay expenses.
• Total combined results (single or married) are shown, by year, for: total income, taxable income, income and cash/Roth IRA available to pay expenses, total expenses, retirement savings distributions, Federal tax deductions, Federal tax liability, and total retirement savings.
How's that for complete?