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Anyone chart their retirement cashflow?
Old 03-29-2018, 07:38 AM   #1
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Anyone chart their retirement cashflow?

Recent discussions of having multiple online banking has made me think about the process of moving money around periodically. There are various streams of income, certainly many expenses to deal with and several in between retainers of our cash money.

Has anyone ever actually charted their actual cash flow? It can get fairly complicated with automatic payments to credit cards then having to move money around to the right account to make that CC payment. With some of you having multiple online banks and physical banks, how do you manage the flow of the various puts and takes? Do you have a flowchart so that your SO will be able to understand it when the time comes?

Additionally, I'm thinking of starting a Fid Cash Management account with bill-pay and better interest earned to replace ~90% of my local bank services. While it will be to my financial advantage, I wondered if it was adding unnecessary complication to my monthly cash flow. I was thinking that creating a "now" and "possible" flow chart would help me understand better.

Do you have sample charts that you would like to share?
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:01 AM   #2
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We have 2 checking accounts that pay all our bills. I balance the outflow between them each month. No charts needed.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:07 AM   #3
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One thing that can help is having checking accts that are "forgiving" of errors.
My CU has an overdraft line of credit that is automatically accessed when the balance in checking goes negative. No fees for that transgression, just interest for the days that when the overdraft is used. That account is used for 5 recurring bills that don't accept credit cards.

For the credit card payments, a brokerage checking account can come in useful.
If you have your margin brokerage account linked, like the CU account, if you reduce your checking account balance to zero, the margin account will kick in to pay the bills. Again, no fees, just the margin interest.

It is always good to project the cash flow into the account so you minimize the use of the margin interest (and don't have too much extra cash hanging around) but is good to have reassurance that nothing will bounce.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:10 AM   #4
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My local bank's checking account is my "hub" account in which money goes in from other places and goes out to pay the bills. Money enters the account mostly from automatic monthly dividend payments from bond fund I own in another financial institution. Nearly all of my bills are paid through automatic ACH payments from the account, but a few are paid from the account through different methods such as online checks and transfers, and personal checks. I make an ATM cash withdrawal once in a while, but even that usually comes from a split deposit from a personal check I get every month.


My monthly bank statement pretty much describes all the activities in the account. My monthly statement from my main brokerage account includes many of these transactions, too, but some of those transactions are the rare rebalancing moves within the account.


I live separately from my SO, so she has no control over my account. But with nearly everything on autopilot, I don't need any help. This was brought out when I was in the hospital for 12 days back in 2015. I had a few bills which were automatically paid in that time, so I didn't need her to sign into my account to do anything.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:12 AM   #5
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I am only concerned with total, after tax spend.

I take a tape each month from my bank account. Simply add up all the payments and cash withdrawals. We use the cash method even though some travel products a are purchased in advance. It takes me about five minutes a month.

We are not particularly interested in breaking down the spend. I cannot imagine tracking every item down to the category level.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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I do not use flow charts. I have accounts with two banks and I channel different types of transactions through each. I keep on top of cash flows by checking my accounts every couple of days. I have automated regular payments like utilities, but my credit card bills are more variable, so these are not automated.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:30 AM   #7
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Additionally, I'm thinking of starting a Fid Cash Management account with bill-pay and better interest earned to replace ~90% of my local bank services.
We did this years ago, the only downside we foresaw being the inability to get Medallion Guarantees. Now we find out that our local Fidelity investments center will gladly furnish same.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:38 AM   #8
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If you have to chart it, and are worried about your surviving spouse, maybe you've made it too complicated? Chasing an extra 0.5% on $100,000 cash account is only $500/yr. I'm all for squeezing extra money out of my savings, but don't have so many accounts that one could be "lost" when you pass, or it's just too overwhelming to handle.

That said, I have 3 different banking accounts, but I'm looking to close an old one now that I've moved my HSA. I'll keep two--one at PenFed, and one national bank with brick and mortar branches everywhere in case I need something in person.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
One thing that can help is having checking accts that are "forgiving" of errors.
My CU has an overdraft line of credit that is automatically accessed when the balance in checking goes negative. No fees for that transgression, just interest for the days that when the overdraft is used. That account is used for 5 recurring bills that don't accept credit cards.

For the credit card payments, a brokerage checking account can come in useful.
If you have your margin brokerage account linked, like the CU account, if you reduce your checking account balance to zero, the margin account will kick in to pay the bills. Again, no fees, just the margin interest.

It is always good to project the cash flow into the account so you minimize the use of the margin interest (and don't have too much extra cash hanging around) but is good to have reassurance that nothing will bounce.
I had a useful overdraft protection for my checking account back in the 1980s and most of the 1990s. Back then, I had a linked savings account to the checking account. I kept enough money in the interest-bearing savings account (when generic savings accounts earned meaningful interest) to meet minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly fees, while keeping a very minimal amount in the no-interest checking account when I didn't need to write any known checks.

I kept a small buffer in the savings account in case I had pull money from it in a pinch. The account had limited checkwriting which was also handy. It might have had ATM cash withdrawal privileges, I forget.

The checking account overdraft protection was useful in case I needed to write an extra check now and then, and I couldn't get to the bank's ATM to transfer the money (no online banking back then). I would get charged for a few days of trivial interest until I made the transfer.

This setup ended when the banks greatly raised their minimum balance requirements for the linked savings account. With interest rates on these account falling, and with my outside investments, even in bond funds, rising, it cost me more to tie up extra money earning low interest (taxable, too), so I simply combined the two accounts into a single, no-interest checking account. The account won't ever reach zero, so the overdraft protection is moot. I only have to worry about meeting the minimum balance requirements, as I move any excess amount elsewhere.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:08 AM   #10
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Quicken is our daily friend. Local bank has two accounts, one has a manager's access, and rent and his expenses go into that, which I then tap into our primary account, which has autopays to all the cards and some of the bills. Loan payments are set to go directly to a higher interest account at Discover, except for a couple that go into a Chase account because they get walked in by the debtor. The left side of Quicken shows account balances, and as lower interest accounts build up I shift funds from them to higher interest accounts. I'm very aware of lumpy coming expenses: quarterlies, property taxes, roofs and such, so build up plenty to cover them. Pretty sloppy and there is probably $30k to cover upcoming expenses sloshing around making diddly, but that translates to maybe $500 in lost interest - I can make that amount with one credit card bonus.

It is very difficult to know exactly what our annual household expenses are as I don't track them with rigor, but as long as the net worth keeps sloping up while the years needed keep getting fewer it's OK.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
If you have to chart it, and are worried about your surviving spouse, maybe you've made it too complicated? Chasing an extra 0.5% on $100,000 cash account is only $500/yr. I'm all for squeezing extra money out of my savings, but don't have so many accounts that one could be "lost" when you pass, or it's just too overwhelming to handle.

That said, I have 3 different banking accounts, but I'm looking to close an old one now that I've moved my HSA. I'll keep two--one at PenFed, and one national bank with brick and mortar branches everywhere in case I need something in person.
^This.

We’ve had only two accounts for several years, both before & especially after FIRE: FIDO (primary cash mgt account) & PFCU (primarily for CDs). All of our other investments are also with FIDO (other than employer 401k); because it’s simple & we like FIDO’s service.

Perhaps we’re different but, I have to admit to becoming less interested in spending large amounts of time managing our finances post-FIRE. We’re definitely in the ‘set it & almost forget it’ mode. So, we just concentrate on the big stuff: AA, % Spend, Healthcare Coverage, etc. Too much other stuff in life to focus on, rather than chasing pennies around a spreadsheet.
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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I have two safes, my wife has access to one and I have access to both. In the case of my demise the locksmiths # is in on the inside door of the primary.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:40 PM   #13
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We use a Fidelity CMA as home base. Most cash inflow goes there automatically: 2 pensions and dividends from the taxable account. At some point, SS will be added to that list. Most spending, including routine bills, is on cash-back CCs. So most cash outflow occurs when we pay the CC from the CMA. That's pretty much it.

The normal inflow and outflow are about the same. So all I really do is monitor the CMA balance, review CC statements, and manage a few exceptions. Once or twice per year, I transfer some cash to the CMA from our Ally online savings. Less frequently, I sell equities in our taxable account and replenish Ally. There's enough buffer in the CMA to cover normal cashflow timing/fluctuations. Exceptions that require some manual handling include: rent checks from our tenants, and occasional checks or bill-pays that can't be done by CC like year-end property tax.

I try to keep things very simple and automated. But I do have everything documented in a Word document so that DW can figure stuff out after I'm gone. A printed copy of the document is with our Will and other important papers.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:51 PM   #14
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My local bank's checking account is my "hub" account in which money goes in from other places and goes out to pay the bills. ......
+1
I find it very simple, pay everything from one place.
While I have some CC that auto pay bills, those CC are still paid from the one place.

When the one place needs more cash I just look around at which account has extra and transfer it in.
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Old 03-29-2018, 02:07 PM   #15
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+1
I find it very simple, pay everything from one place.
While I have some CC that auto pay bills, those CC are still paid from the one place.

When the one place needs more cash I just look around at which account has extra and transfer it in.
+1. Only have 1 Brick and 1 Online using the same concept.
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Old 03-29-2018, 02:49 PM   #16
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I have two safes, my wife has access to one and I have access to both. In the case of my demise the locksmiths # is in on the inside door of the primary.
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Old 03-29-2018, 04:34 PM   #17
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My local bank's checking account is my "hub" account in which money goes in from other places and goes out to pay the bills....
+1 in our case our local credit union account that we have had for years

Inflows: my pension check on the 1st of the month, my monthly "paycheck" transfer from online savings account on the 24th, miscellaneous checks received (minimal)

Outflows: all bills... car payments, mortgage payments, credit cards on autopay, property taxes, quarterly HOA fees, monthly health insurance, utilities, other payments used with credit union bill pay, occasional ATM withdrawals

In addition, we have one online savings account: inflows = dividends from taxable accounts and cash raised when rebalancing (usually in December); outflows = transfers to local credit union account used to pay bills

Should be easy for DW and DD to follow if I get hit by a beer truck... all in Quicken... BTW, I have all of these defined as bills in Quicken and use the Projected Balances or next 90 days for our main credit union account to monitor how we are doing.
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Old 03-29-2018, 05:00 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the input. Currently, we are not much different than a lot of you. Most money comes in to a brick and mortar bank. From there, all bills are paid. We have a couple of bills auto-billed to a cash-earning CC and the mortgage is pulled from the checking account. The rest get paid from the checking acct thru their billpay option if possible. We only have a couple that we have to write checks to.

I was thinking that seeing the cash flow on paper would help me evaluate the benefits vs complexity tradeoffs of adding an online bank to take up 90% of the B&M bank. I drew up a simplified flow chart of our incomes that helped me see the flow as it is now. It did help to visualize the process. Up to now, I have not been interested in finding the last $100-$200 in interest. While the extra money is not necessary, why leave it on someone else's table if it doesn't complicate things. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Unlike many here, we have minimal cash on hand and have setup our income stream as monthly rather than annual withdrawals from investment accounts. As it turns out, it will be broken down into almost weekly deposits of varying amounts.
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:12 PM   #19
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We keep a month or so worth of expenses in our B&M bank. Balance of on hand cash is kept in an on line bank. We pay all bills from here.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:55 AM   #20
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Iím finally ditching my local bank and moving checking and savings to an online credit union. I considered the Fido cash management account but wasnít seeing a great option for savings.

I autopay everything possible with a cashback CC. The CCs get autopaid from checking. A few of the largest monthly expenses (mortgage and CCs) are paid directly from savings to reduce the checking balance required. The CU offers free checking overdraft protection from savings, a benefit of having both at one institution.

I happen to track everything in Quicken but really only need to top-off checking and savings occasionally. The accounts are mostly self-sustaining with direct deposits and online rent collection.

Changing banks gave me the opportunity to document all automatic payments in a spreadsheet.
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