Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff, President
Laurence Kotlikoff Professor of Economics Boston University and President of Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Thanks for visiting our site. I've spent a good part of my academic career studying personal financial behavior. In the course of these studies, I realized two things. First, economics' approach to financial planning is very different from the conventional approach: it generates quite different and much more sensible advice. Second, economists have an obligation to use their tools and science to help people make proper life-cycle financial decisions.
I've spent over a decade with colleagues in my company developing economics-based personal financial planning software. Thousands of individuals and a growing number of financial planners, with no economics background, have found our integrated, comprehensive program easy to use and understand.
When it comes to personal finance, economics and our software care about one thing—your living standard. All questions in personal finance boil down to your living standard.
Will this job mean more spending power? Is this house affordable? Which mortgage should I take? When can I retire? When should I take Social Security? Should I use a regular or Roth IRA? Am I getting a fair divorce settlement? Should I pay down my mortgage?—All these are living standard questions. If your financial planning program can't calculate your living standard, it can't answer these questions.
Our financial planning software calculates your sustainable living standard and what you need to save and insure each year to maintain it. Living standard refers to your discretionary spending per household member (adjusted for the fact that two live more cheaply than one). This is your consumption—the spending you can do after meeting all your "off-the-top" expenses on taxes, college, mortgage payments, 401(k) contributions, etc. Our Monte Carlo simulations (included in ESPlannerPlus) show you how the future variability of your living standard depends on your investment choices.
The beauty of our program, and what captivates our thousands of customers, is its ability to help you safely raise your living standard.
Think about comparing two jobs—one with low current earnings and high future earnings—the other with the opposite. Each entails different annual federal and state taxes and future Social Security benefits. The jobs may have different 401(k) plans and be located in different states with different housing costs. Our software can compare the living standards offered by these two jobs in a matter of seconds taking into account all the complex issues just mentioned and many more.
Or take the interconnected decisions of when to start withdrawing from retirement accounts, when to begin taking Social Security, whether to withdrawal from Roth accounts first, and how fast to draw down retirement account assets. Getting these choices right can make a huge difference to your future living standard because they have major implications for how much you pay over time in taxes and how much you collect in benefits. ESPlanner can show you the living standard impact of different combinations of choices, again, in seconds taking all future annual taxes and benefits into careful account.
Or consider choosing whether to contribute to Roth or regular retirement accounts. This is an easy decision once you see how each choice affects your living standard and also factor in potential increases in future tax rates.
We are available using our contact form to help you with any questions or problems. And we aren't going to try to sell you any financial products! Our focus is solely on providing sound advice.