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Best Retirement Calculators-A good starting point
Old 11-24-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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Best Retirement Calculators-A good starting point

Darrow Kirkpatrick ("Can I Retire Yet" blog author) has updated his evaluation of retirement calculators in this blog post.

The Best Retirement Calculators - Can I Retire Yet?

As usual, he's done an outstanding job of objectively and systematically evaluating them. He's also included a brief synopsis of each. So, this is a good starting point for those wanting to evaluate and/or test various calculators.

I've used several of them (Fido RIP, cFIREsim, FIRECalc, AnalyzeNow & FRP). Some of my thoughts on them are below.

- I'm a Fidelity customer and have all my data there so, I am partial to Fido RIP. It has outstanding ability to load, track and modify detailed expenses with lots of flexibility and, to evaluate "what if" scenarios.

- Like most on this forum, I've used FiRECalc extensively and like it as well. I use it as a check of my Fido RIP results because RIP uses MC and FIRECalc uses historical performance data.

- Recently, I've started using cFIREsim. I'm recently semi-FIREd and use a variable withdrawal methodology. I like the ability of cFIREsim to evaluate and compare multiple variable withdrawal methods like (Guyton-Klinger, VPW, AnalyzeNow, etc.)
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:51 AM   #2
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On that list FRP is my personal fav because it allows me to see the impact of a number of scenarios...what to model what happens if the market collapses 30% 2 years into retirement...no problem for FRP. I find it the most flexible for generating "what if" scenarios

I was surprised i-orp wasn't there, it's another good one
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Old 11-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #3
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On that list FRP is my personal fav because it allows me to see the impact of a number of scenarios...what to model what happens if the market collapses 30% 2 years into retirement...no problem for FRP. I find it the most flexible for generating "what if" scenarios
I'm not as familiar with FRP. Does FRP have good capability to load expenses, distinguish essential from discretionary, change spending patterns, and have one-time expenses?

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I was surprised i-orp wasn't there, it's another good one
The same comment was made on the "Can I Retire Yet?" website.

I'm a fan of i-ORP because it provides a good starting point for withdrawal sequencing.
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Old 11-24-2014, 03:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link! For whatever reason (I'm OCD!!!) I like to run the calculators over and over again! Somehow I just don't believe them...too good to be true. LOL.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:06 PM   #5
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I've use the Ultimate Retirement Calculator multiple times and like its simplicity. It will calculate out the number of years in retirement with income needed, taxes included in totals, and a column of how much in today's $s it takes to fund future income.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:07 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link! For whatever reason (I'm OCD!!!) I like to run the calculators over and over again! Somehow I just don't believe them...too good to be true. LOL.
We share that dysfunction admirable quality.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:23 PM   #7
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I've use the Ultimate Retirement Calculator multiple times and like its simplicity. It will calculate out the number of years in retirement with income needed, taxes included in totals, and a column of how much in today's $s it takes to fund future income.
I like the yearly printout, including PF value, income, spend, taxes, inflation. But, I prefer calculators that ask for AA and calculate the annual return based on history or monte carlo. Deterministic calculators like URC are good starting point but, I'm always afraid of the inaccuracy caused by ME picking annual inflation and return.
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Old 11-24-2014, 07:56 PM   #8
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I like the yearly printout, including PF value, income, spend, taxes, inflation. But, I prefer calculators that ask for AA and calculate the annual return based on history or monte carlo. Deterministic calculators like URC are good starting point but, I'm always afraid of the inaccuracy caused by ME picking annual inflation and return.
Totally agree with you about inflation and return. I actually broke my retirement into 2 parts. My first 7 years before FRA and made my returns low with a 3% inflation rate. That helped assure me about how much I stashed in safer investments for the years before I take SS.
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:35 PM   #9
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I'm not as familiar with FRP. Does FRP have good capability to load expenses, distinguish essential from discretionary, change spending patterns, and have one-time expenses?



The same comment was made on the "Can I Retire Yet?" website.

I'm a fan of i-ORP because it provides a good starting point for withdrawal sequencing.
FRP is very flexible. With a little creativity I believe you can do most of what your asking.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:23 AM   #10
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his evaluation of retirement calculators
FIRECalc does Monte Carlo??
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:53 AM   #11
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Yes. Choose the "Random Performance" option under the "My Portfolio" tab.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:56 AM   #12
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FIRECalc does Monte Carlo??
If I understand it correctly, under the YOUR PORTFOLIO tab, the last selection allows for a "random performance" calculation given a mean return and standard deviation. I don't believe it's true MC, but a good approximation.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:21 AM   #13
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I don't believe it's true MC, but a good approximation.
Monte Carlo information from the developer of FIRECalc:

Monte Carlo question
Question on Firecalc Monte Carlo
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:35 AM   #14
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Now we just need a meta calculator that will run your info on all of the listed calculators for you.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:57 AM   #15
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Just finished the entire blog post and found lots of fluff with little substance. It would have been nice for Darrow to give a recommendation as to which calculators he recommends.

For those that don't already know, bogleheads has a much more expensive listing.

Retirement calculators and spending - Bogleheads
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Just finished the entire blog post and found lots of fluff with little substance. It would have been nice for Darrow to give a recommendation as to which calculators he recommends.

For those that don't already know, bogleheads has a much more expensive listing.

Retirement calculators and spending - Bogleheads

Thx for adding that link.

Darrow does a more in depth eval, with recommendations IIRC, in an earlier blog post, the link for which is included in his article from my OP.


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Old 11-25-2014, 12:13 PM   #17
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FRP is very flexible. With a little creativity I believe you can do most of what your asking.
Agreed. There are additional input buttons where you can add any level of expense/income/portfolio performance
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:09 AM   #18
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Yes. Choose the "Random Performance" option under the "My Portfolio" tab.
Ok. Thanks. All this time and I never knew that.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:04 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Just finished the entire blog post and found lots of fluff with little substance. It would have been nice for Darrow to give a recommendation as to which calculators he recommends.

For those that don't already know, bogleheads has a much more expensive listing.

Retirement calculators and spending - Bogleheads


Quote:
Originally Posted by Huston55 View Post
Thx for adding that link.

Darrow does a more in depth eval, with recommendations IIRC, in an earlier blog post, the link for which is included in his article from my OP.
I spent some time on the Bogleheads link, and it is more exPtensive. Lots of great info and links there. Plus, it didn't cost me a penny!

Darrow's blog post is actually included in the links list on the Bogleheads wiki; small world.

One thing worth expanding on is the additional "Can I Retire Yet" links at the bottom of the OP-linked blog post. They provide more detail, and even include an analysis of the variance (sometimes significant) that one gets with different calculators. I think this is an important and instructive point.
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