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".
These are the essential features that set The Complete Retirement Planner apart from all other financial planning tools:
• If married, there are separate entries by spouse for: multiple sources of annual income, retirement dates, Social Security benefits, retirement savings contributions, cash/investment balances and interest/return rates. A planner without this capability 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 house sold, automatically adjusting your total expenses and deductions from that year forward. You have the option to use the net proceeds from a home sale to help pay future expenses.
• Enter your estimated monthly Social Security benefit at Full Retirement Age (from www.ssa.gov), and the annual income calculates automatically for all years (by spouse, if married), including annual COLA's, starting with your chosen claiming age. Instantly see the long-term impact on your total retirement results based on different claiming ages!
• To assist with understanding Social Security claiming options, there's a built in Social Security calculator. Educational notes provide an overview of common benefit options, and the calculator quickly models monthly and lifetime benefit results, by spouse, by claiming age. Easily determine how to maximize your benefits!
• If either spouse qualifies for a Social Security supplemental benefit (an additional amount raising their benefit up to 50% of a spouse's benefit) (explained in more detail in the planner) it is calculated automatically, noted, and added to their benefit in the appropriate year.
Yet another feature that is important to many, frequently missed, and won't be found in any other planning tool.
• Federal taxes on ordinary income, taxable distributions, and Social Security (different tax laws) are calculated separately for each year (not just an estimated rate for all years/income types), and include any repeatable tax deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, State income/sales tax, charity, and medical costs. An effective rate for State income tax may also be entered, completing the picture of total tax liability. This is critical, as taxes have a significant impact on how long your savings may last in retirement!
• Help with estimating health care costs in retirement, with those costs automatically adjusting at a yearly inflation rate unique to health care (projections are 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, specifying varying time frames for each expense. This determines actual need, by year. For greater accuracy, fixed expenses are not inflation adjusted! This attention to detail is significant.
• Expenses are paid from income first, then from a proportionate mix of cash/investments and Traditional 401k/ IRA's, and finally from Roth 401k/IRA's. Cash equal to 2 years expenses (less income) is held in reserve to protect against having to sell investments during a market downturn. This hybrid approach helps to maintain liquidity, reduce Required Minimum Distributions and tax liability in later years, and allow Roth IRA's more time to grow. Savings last longer, and tax liability is less than if only one fund type was exhausted at a time.
• In any year that net income is greater than expenses, 25% of the excess is saved and applied to future expenses. Starting at age 72, in any year that Required Minimum Distributions from retirement savings are greater than actual need, 70% of the excess is saved and applied to future expenses. These "automatic savings" help to delay distributions from Roth IRA's, allowing that money to keep growing!
• Distributions from retirement savings are specified by spouse, and are based on actual need. This means that all distribution amounts cover necessary expenses and the tax liability on the distribution. Again, this is critical, but it's a point other planners ignore.
• 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, non-taxable income, Social Security income, 401k/IRA savings contributions/distributions/balances, investment return rates, Roth 401k/IRA savings contributions/distributions/balances, and cash/investment savings balances.
• Total combined results (single or married) are shown, by year, for: gross taxable income, Federal/State tax liability, Federal tax deductions, income available to pay expenses, total expenses, cash available to pay expenses, cash used to pay expenses, total retirement savings distributions, each distribution's % of total savings, and the balance of total retirement savings.
How's that for complete? There's simply no other financial planning tool like The Complete Retirement Planner!