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Seeking Excel equivalent for ER calculators
Old 09-21-2013, 06:45 PM   #1
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Seeking Excel equivalent for ER calculators

Some retirement planning calculators I'd like to use (such as the Otar Retirement Calculator) require Excel, which I don't have on my home computer. Has anyone had success using these calculators on one of the free Excel-equivalent spreadsheet programs?
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #2
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I made my own retirement plan using a spreadsheet in Open Office. There are a variety of web sites with instructions on how to make a retirement plan from a spreadsheet, though I just winged it then compared the end results to the online retirement calculators.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wishin&hopin View Post
Some retirement planning calculators I'd like to use (such as the Otar Retirement Calculator) require Excel, which I don't have on my home computer. Has anyone had success using these calculators on one of the free Excel-equivalent spreadsheet programs?
Otar has a free version. Download it and try with your favorite excel equivalent and see what happens.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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The one I tried didn't work. That's why I'm asking if someone has found one that does.
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:34 AM   #5
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OpenOffice is close but not a clone of Microsoft Office. Some things work exactly the same and some things work very differently. If the Otar spreadsheet uses VBA, the probability of working is slim.

BTW, there's another that might try: LibreOffice. It's doubtful that it can handle the macros.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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Why not just buy Office? It isn't that expensive, and Ballmer will be happy.

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Old 09-23-2013, 07:05 AM   #7
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IMHO the best Excel equivalent for ER is ........ Excel.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:45 AM   #8
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I'm with Ha and Meadbh on this one. If you spend a lot of time on spreadsheets (as I do) why go with a freebie that might not be around later?
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by wishin&hopin View Post
Some retirement planning calculators I'd like to use (such as the Otar Retirement Calculator) require Excel, which I don't have on my home computer. Has anyone had success using these calculators on one of the free Excel-equivalent spreadsheet programs?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
OpenOffice is close but not a clone of Microsoft Office. Some things work exactly the same and some things work very differently. If the Otar spreadsheet uses VBA, the probability of working is slim.

BTW, there's another that might try: LibreOffice. It's doubtful that it can handle the macros.
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Originally Posted by wishin&hopin View Post
The one I tried didn't work. That's why I'm asking if someone has found one that does.
It would be helpful to know exactly which program and the version the OP used.

I just did a bit of googling, and I found that people are reporting success with macros in LibreOffice by going to Tools/LibreOffice/Advanced/ and checking "Enable Experimental Features". I'm on ver 4.1.1.2 on Linux, I think the versions are consistent on Win & Mac.

I requested the free Otar Calculator, I'll try to report back when I get my verification code and a chance to try it.


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Why not just buy Office? It isn't that expensive, and Ballmer will be happy.

Ha
For me personally, I really don't care to contribute to Balmer's happiness, I find him quite annoying. And so far, OpenOffice/LibreOffice have worked well enough for me (and better in many ways) that I don't feel I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face. Anyway, I run Linux on my everyday machine, so Excel isn't a good option anyway (I guess it kinda runs under WINE, but probably worse than OO or LO).

Unfortunately for me, I never seem to find a good deal on a computer that isn't pre-loaded with Windows (which I delete to make it easier to load Linux - though you can run side-by-side), so I'm still contributing to Ballmer's happiness, I guess. Maybe he'd feel bad if I sent him a note that I deleted it?

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Old 09-23-2013, 10:28 AM   #10
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I'm with Ha and Meadbh on this one. If you spend a lot of time on spreadsheets (as I do) why go with a freebie that might not be around later?
I agree and I'm the opposite in that I hardly ever use a spreadsheet. I bought excel because people send them (and only excel spreadsheets) to me occasionally and I wasn't always able to open them with alternative programs. The frustration levels were not pretty to see and the people sending them were ready to smack me for not having the program.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:55 AM   #11
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I much prefer Apple's Numbers (comes with iWorks) over Excel, but Excel has the XIRR function which Numbers doesn't offer. But I still manage to use Numbers for 95% of stuff, like tracking savings and planning retirement; it's easy and friendly and makes nice looking tables and charts. At the end of the year, I might use Excel for the XIRR function if so inclined. Numbers will open Excel docs but YMMV.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:15 AM   #12
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Otar spreadsheet has a Windows installer. I got that far by downloading the trial version and installing.

Full version costs $99.

What functions are you looking for?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
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The macros of Otar's spreadsheet produces a tons of VB errors with LibreOffice Version: 4.1.1.2.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #14
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Are the old FIRE calc spreadsheets available anywhere? I remember downloading them once upon a time many years ago, but I can't seem to find them now.

Overall, I'd say, just use a Monte Carlo simulator and then pair it with the output of say FIREcalc online. The Monte Carlo simulation loses the correlation between markets, trends and inflation, but gives you random uncertainty. The FireCalc basically repeats the past and assumes whatever futureshocks we have will be representative of the kinds of markets we've had in the past.

Personally, I'd love to compile the data for the last decades in Japan as when you look at the history failure rate of portfolios on the US markets, what tends do to them in is the Stagflation.

I find that very troubling given our nominal interest rate market and continually modified to be low CPI.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:47 PM   #15
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... FireCalc basically repeats the past and assumes whatever futureshocks we have will be representative of the kinds of markets we've had in the past. ...
Actually, FIRECalc assumes nothing about the future. It reports on the past. It is up to the user to decide what to do with this information.

Personally, I'm not comfortable with a plan that has been proven to fail in the past. I shoot for 100% with some buffer. Of course, life can throw us some curves and crush any plan, but I just can't see going for less than 100%, unless you have a backup plan and you are comfortable knowing that that plan had to be relied on in 5% of the past cycles (or whatever failure rate you modeled).

The future could be worse than the worst of the past, but I'll still have more buffer (so lower cuts) than if my scenario only supported a 95% success.

Personal decision, but it's up to the person, not FIRECalc.

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Old 09-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #16
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...

Personally, I'd love to compile the data for the last decades in Japan as when you look at the history failure rate of portfolios on the US markets, what tends do to them in is the Stagflation.

I find that very troubling given our nominal interest rate market and continually modified to be low CPI.
A little OT but you can get data for the Nikkei 225 since 1984 here: ^N225 Historical Prices | NIKKEI 225 Stock - Yahoo! Finance

If you really want the Japanese investor perspective convert this from dollars to Yen. I don't know if this index includes dividends but I think maybe the Nikkei dividends were pretty meager.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:21 PM   #17
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A little OT but you can get data for the Nikkei 225 since 1984 here: ^N225 Historical Prices | NIKKEI 225 Stock - Yahoo! Finance

If you really want the Japanese investor perspective convert this from dollars to Yen. I don't know if this index includes dividends but I think maybe the Nikkei dividends were pretty meager.
Yea, I can find the index data, but I need the other relevant data, Japanese inflation rates, Japanese corporate bond market rates, etc. While it's partially tempered by international markets it's kind of a stand in for recent stagflation.

As for FireCALC, yes, it makes no future predictions, it just models the past. Hence the inherent assumption that the future will be like the past.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:39 PM   #18
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...(snip)...
As for FireCALC, yes, it makes no future predictions, it just models the past. Hence the inherent assumption that the future will be like the past.
I don't think people here are assuming they know the future or that it will be like any particular period in the past. However, we all have to carry in our heads some assumptions about the investing world. Extreme outcomes are possible but unlikely.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:55 PM   #19
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...

As for FireCALC, yes, it makes no future predictions, it just models the past. Hence the inherent assumption that the future will be like the past.
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I don't think people here are assuming they know the future or that it will be like any particular period in the past. ...
+1 to Lsbcal. There is no inherent assumption. It is what it is, a report on past outcomes.

If you plan a vacation, you might look up the mean low temps and the record low temps for that time. It would be silly to assume that they couldn't also go lower, that's how records become records.

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Old 09-24-2013, 09:13 AM   #20
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I have full Excel and iOS Numbers. I can't imagine not being willing to buy a decent spreadsheet for something as critical in one's (financial) life as retirement income planning/distributions. But just my opinion.

I have written my own spreadsheets and they are very helpful, but I haven't bothered to make them infinitely variable such that anyone could use them. Some inputs and data are fixed in mine, based on our personal assumptions.
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