November 11, 2017 at 7:45 am #407
In my opinion, there is a great need to educate and simplify the basic cash flow/retirement planning process. Unfortunately, I don’t think you are there quite yet. Following are some general comments and observations of both versions.
The maximum account amounts is a bit limiting, Perhaps this is to push some into the pro ver?
I found the default ad space at bottom center of UI to be distracting, especially on smaller screens. It may impact some trying to use the sliders.
When retirement expenses are too high, the ‘Work Income Needed to Retire’ selection displays an error: <unable to find a solution> the other 2 options do display an age.
I don’t believe the usage is clear. Specifically, where are you suppose to put in how much per year you need to live on? I was expecting that or based on expected longevity, provide how much income per year the assets will generate. By fiddling with the numbers, it appears ‘Retirement Expenses’ affects age when savings completed. I get it, but didn’t find it intuitive at first. Perhaps step them through it – once they put in the savings/life expectancy, etc – show them how much they can likely spend based upon those parameters compared to what they have entered (Green/Red combo bar).
Pre-retirement expenses did not seem to have any effect on the age of retirement/age depleted…not sure it’s purpose?
Confused over how I input my retirement expenses. Since ‘Events’ were blank, I did not notice at first the button, upper right. Suggest you perhaps display a dialog/text on background if it’s blank to help, or just have a default $0 Withdrawal.
The Log function took a while to display on my device (8 secs) – perhaps some feedback to show it’s working? (hourglass or … or just a ‘Please wait’)
I personally could not use the standard version, but I do see how millenials might (if you hold their hand through the input process)
I am currently retired and most of my income is in the form of dividends plus some from quarterly LLP (real estate). I could not find a good option (under events) for either. Income appeared to be the closest, but tax amounts were not what was needed.
I have tried several of the calculators you have on your website and the Flexible retirement calculator is the one I find the most helpful, though it’s number of options is way more than I need. (like you, not a fan of Monte Carlo)
Most of my neighbors are retired and retirement planning/cash flow is something I’ve discussed with them many times. Unfortunately, the majority either ‘wing it’ or use a financial advisor/CFP to generate their plans/cash flow and most don’t seem to have a good understanding of the principles. When I’ve showed them online calculators they are a bit intimidated both by the terminology and the plethora of options (in the calculator mentioned above). I mention this to point out that something is needed, but it has to be pretty darn simple and step them through the input or none of my neighbors would use it. Once the basic info is input, giving them what if scenarios to see it’s impact. eg: What If I buy a ‘xxx’ and it cost $y per month for x months or flat price of $z.
Typically, they seem to be working under a simple cash basis mentality – as they receive SS/Div/whatever monthly/quarterly income that is what the live off of and plan off of. None of them have a secured line of credit from a broker, even though many have sufficient assets to do so. A few do have a HELOC, though the rates are much higher but since most also have paid off their homes, they tend to not appreciate how they can leverage their existing assets.
Finding a way to ‘de-mystify’ this would likely help many.
November 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm #408
Thanks so much. We really appreciate that you used both calculators and then took the time to send us detailed feedback. Being an early user of software can be a bit painful, but the feedback is invaluable to us developers. Often we are 90% of the way there, and just need the insights of real users new to the software to get us the rest of the way.
I’ll excerpt your email and reply below….
>> The maximum account amounts is a bit limiting, Perhaps this is to push some into the pro ver? <<
None of those are hard limits, they are just suggested ranges. You can long-press the label of any input field to type in a number directly, which can be larger than the displayed limits.
>> I found the default ad space at bottom center of UI to be distracting, especially on smaller screens. It may impact some trying to use the sliders. <<
Ok, we haven’t seen conflicts on any of the devices we’ve tested so far. Since this software represents 1-2 man years of effort already, and we’re giving it away for free, we will keep the ads. But we may provide a cheap paid option to turn them off eventually.
>> When retirement expenses are too high, the ‘Work Income Needed to Retire’ selection displays an error: <unable to find a solution> <<
Yes, in our latest update, we now display a message with a better explanation of that situation for users .
>> where are you suppose to put in how much per year you need to live on? <<
That is in the Expenses section. We have improved the naming of the input fields in the latest update: “Pre-Retirement/Retirement Annual Living Expenses”, for example.
>> Perhaps step them through it <<
Clearly we need too. I’m working up a short video to do just that. Thanks for the suggestion!
>> show them how much they can likely spend based upon those parameters <<
That would be a new option in our Find bar. I’ve added it to our wish list. Thanks for the suggestion.
>> Pre-retirement expenses…not sure it’s purpose? <<
Those are your annual pre-retirement living expenses. If you are already retired, or near retirement, they would not have much effect on the simulation.
>> Confused over how I input my retirement expenses. <<
That would be a new Withdrawal event, which sounds like you may have figured out eventually.
>> Suggest you perhaps display a dialog/text on background if it’s blank to help, or just have a default $0 Withdrawal. (hourglass or … or just a ‘Please wait’) <<
All potentially good suggestions, thanks. We’ll be watching to see what other users experience. We’ll also be doing more videos to show how to input data for different situations.
>> use the standard version, but I do see how millenials might (if you hold their hand through the input process) <<
That’s a good assessment of our audience for the Free version. Better documentation will be important. We are working on the user interface and preparing videos, and have already made progress.
>> I am currently retired and most of my income is in the form of dividends plus some from quarterly LLP (real estate). <<
The best way to model this is in the asset allocation of your portfolio. There are some simple built-in asset classes. But you can define your own (NEW in Asset Classes), then reference them in your Accounts to specify their Asset Allocation. Every asset class has an annual dividend return % that you specify, and our calculations handle taxation of that and all other annual income correctly according to your tax bracket, including capital gains, Social Security, and RMDs too. Very few retirement calculators have this capability.
>> online calculators they are a bit intimidated both by the terminology and the plethora of options … it has to be pretty darn simple and step them through the input or none of my neighbors would use it. <<
You’ve put your finger on our challenge, precisely! I can say at the present time our calculators are the most accurate and powerful on Android by far. But we have more work to do making them easier to use. Thanks again for the detailed feedback!
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