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FireCalc vs ESPlannerPlus - Results Comparison
Old 12-14-2010, 12:41 PM   #1
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FireCalc vs ESPlannerPlus - Results Comparison

Wanted to report the results I got today in running FireCalc and ESPlanner Plus 'side by side'. I'd become a bit concerned that I was running scenarios in FireCalc only so I bought ESPlanner Plus to do a double check.

I'm happy to report that the the results with a 95% success in FireCalc was within $3,000 of ESPlanner's results. And since the safe spending level is about $94,000 a $3,000 difference is more than acceptable.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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Thank you Lisa. Nice to have verification FIRECalc numbers are consistent with ESPlanner.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:47 PM   #3
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Which one lets you spend more?
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:49 PM   #4
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FireCalc had the higher result.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report, Lisa99. I've been curious about ESPlanner since reading an earlier Kotlikoff/Burns book.

I was wondering what you thought about the actual process of using ESPlanner. Is it a pain to fill in all the data or does it flow? Does it require info that folks with only average record keeping/organizational skills can manage or do you have to drag out the "shoe box" full of statements, tax forms and records? To be honest, I haven't tried the free version yet, but think I will give it a try.

Aloha
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:17 PM   #6
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IIRC, the free version will produce a current year report, which for me wasn't helpful.

It took about 20 minutes to complete all of the fields, but I have our financial data in Quicken so it was easy to look it all up.

If I would have tried to use ES a couple of years ago it would have taken days to find all of the information needed (for example, one section asks for income throughout your working career. You'll need a SS statement for this info.)

I'm still working to understand how to read several of the reports but overall I'm glad I spent the $199. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind that our current plan is feasible and on track.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:23 PM   #7
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Interesting results & thanks for sharing.

Did you use the "random performance" option in Firecalc and monte-carlo in ESPlanner?
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
Interesting results & thanks for sharing.

Did you use the "random performance" option in Firecalc and monte-carlo in ESPlanner?

Yes, I used the random performance in Firecalc and Monte-Carlo in ES.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #9
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I've recently read Spend til the End and searched the forum for old threads about ESPlanner, as I was interested to see what other folks thought of it. Glad to see that you posted your results here, thanks very much, Lisa!
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
Wanted to report the results I got today in running FireCalc and ESPlanner Plus 'side by side'. I'd become a bit concerned that I was running scenarios in FireCalc only so I bought ESPlanner Plus to do a double check.
It is usually a good idea to get multiple opinions. Thanks for sharing.

I have also used ESPlanner and really like it. It can be overwhelming at first, but it grows on you. Tabs for Earnings, Assets & Savings, Retirement Accounts, Pensions & Annuities, SS, Estate, Primary Home, Vacation Home, Real Estate, Special, 529 Plans, Assumptions, Contingent Plans, Planning Method. Most of those have multiple sub-tabs. So you can imagine it could take a fair amount of effort to enter everything. I do not use a lot of the tabs so did not find it too bad. And, of course, you only enter it once.

It is easy to quickly find the "bottom line" in the output, and easy to spend hours in Excel detail output if you wish - take your pick.

The product is actively supported - I've been following it for a couple years and they have made some good improvements.

I've generally found my results to be in the same ballpark with the two tools.
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