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Several questions from first-time user

I don't understand the first page of recommendations. What does it mean when consumption is (49,414)? What does it mean when recommended amount of savings is (99,276)? The (s seem to imply negative figures, implying I should save negative $99,276.

How should I account for a son or daughter older than 19 or parent living with us?

The tool makes it very hard to compare on scenario with another. It might be easy if the tool provides a single consumption level of living standard per adult, but my analysis has five. How should I decide which scenario is better?

Is there a way to directly compare several scenarios in a single report?

Does the tool do any optimization at all for me such as 401k vs. Roth 401k, Social Security at 62 vs. 70, withdrawing funds from IRA to buy an annuity?

Thanks for your help

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jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:I don't understand the first page of recommendations. What does it mean when consumption is (49,414)? What does it mean when recommended amount of savings is (99,276)? The (s seem to imply negative figures, implying I should save negative $99,276.
Consumption = disposable income. It's everything left over to spend after you have covered taxes, housing, any special expenditures, and any other spending that ESPlanner knows about. The negative number (dissaving) is telling you exactly that. ESPlanner calculates that you can safely withdraw 99,276 from your regular assets this year and maintain your lifetime standard of living. Of course you don't HAVE to withdraw that, prudence dictates that you don't and you can model this by establishing a reserve fund into which you can dump assets against a rainy day. Of you can just not withdraw that much, live below the line set by ESPlanner and discover that when you run ESPlanner next year with your new numbers (real savings, etc) that you projected standard of living will have gone up (perhaps not much, it will depend on how much you didn't dissave).
jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:How should I account for a son or daughter older than 19 or parent living with us?
I think the lastest update to ESPlanner has the ability to specify year of birth for children well into the past and to tell ESPlanner what the "cost" of the child starting at age 19 is. See the Assumptions folder.
jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:The tool makes it very hard to compare on scenario with another. It might be easy if the tool provides a single consumption level of living standard per adult, but my analysis has five. How should I decide which scenario is better?
It does. The standard of living in the annual recommendations is per adult. The best scenario is the one that gives you the highest standard of living.
jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:Is there a way to directly compare several scenarios in a single report?
No. I just open several pdf reports and look at them side by side. If you're using the Excel reports, Excel has a mechanism for viewing multiple worksheets simultaneously and keeping them in "lock step".
jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:Does the tool do any optimization at all for me such as 401k vs. Roth 401k, Social Security at 62 vs. 70, withdrawing funds from IRA to buy an annuity?
No, but it takes about 30 seconds to generate each of those cases starting from your current one. Select the profile you're currently using, click save as, name the profile something meaningful, e.g., SS at 62, open the new profile, change the appropriate data in the profile, run the case, look at the standard of living. We have the capacity to search for the optimum SS retirement date but the reports and user interface haven't caught up. That's a feature that will be out "sometime" (we don't give dates on development, sorry).
jon-ollendorf at hvc.rr.c wrote:Thanks for your help
Best,

Dick Munroe

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Hi, Please give me a call at 617 834-2148 so I can answer any questions that you still have. best, Larry