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New FIRECalc 3
Old 12-13-2007, 09:13 PM   #1
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New FIRECalc 3

The new version is published. See
Change Notes for notes about differences.

Thanks much to the extremely valuable feedback from everyone who tested the new version! We went through probably 100 updates from the time the test version was first made available to those who volunteered to help.

I'm officially tired now. Talk to you in a few days!

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Old 12-13-2007, 09:28 PM   #2
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Thanks again, Dory.

I really like the year-by-year spending option - allows me to calculate with part-time work at the outset, how much I need to earn part-time, etc.
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:40 PM   #3
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Wow, thanks Dory! I was running scenarios on v2 yesterday. I'll put a link at the top of the page so everyone will get updated.
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:58 PM   #4
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Wow that is way easier for the beginner to use, and I think just as powerful for the experienced user. Nice job of human factors engineering.

Unfortunately, my change request didn't make the cut namely a modeling for international funds.

Perhaps I can just open this up to a general question. Lets say you have 20% of your asset in the Vanguard/Fidelity International index fund. How do you account for it in Firecalc?
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Perhaps I can just open this up to a general question. Lets say you have 20% of your asset in the Vanguard/Fidelity International index fund. How do you account for it in Firecalc?
I do, and from FC's perspective, they're just stocks, part of a well diversified portfolio.

Remember that FC uses historic data. If the database doesn't include sufficient international information, it can't be included. Lacking any information to the contrary, I just assume it will perform similar to the total market long term; the volatility and correlation issues are not important to me in that context.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
... they're just stocks, part of a well diversified portfolio.
This is a much more important concept than many might realize.

FIRECalc, and any other such tool, tries to let you consider what might happen in the next 30, 40, even 50 years. It does this by demonstrating the historic "record lows" of similar investment and spending strategies, so that you can judge the riskiness of your own plan.

I have included other data where available, and will continue to do so.

But in practice, for the kind of timeframes we're talking about, aren't we better off assuming you will keep a well diversified portfolio (whatever that may mean as time goes on) rather than something like 7% international, 17% small cap, 12% short term bond, and so forth for decades without change?
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the heads up Dory. I'm gonna run a few scenarios now.
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Old 12-14-2007, 05:35 PM   #8
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Dory,

I have a nitpick: you have "maintaiin" misspelled (with three i's instead of two) at FIRECalc: Why another retirement calculator?.

Other than that, I like the new version a lot!

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Old 12-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #9
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Thanks -- fixed it.
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:17 PM   #10
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You da man.

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Old 12-16-2007, 05:53 AM   #11
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It appears that the low ending value is not correctly reported when using the Ty Bernicke approach. It appears to display the starting portfolio value. See Red number below.

Following the "Reality Retirement Plan" as described by Ty Bernicke, withdrawals after age 55 are reduced by 2-3% per year until age 76. See his research for more details. Because you indicated a future retirement date (2015), the withdrawals won't start until that year. The tested period is 8 years of preretirement plus 45 years of retirement, or 53 years.
FIRECalc looked at the 84 possible 53 year periods in the available data, starting with a portfolio of $1,310,100 and spending your specified amounts each year thereafter.
Here is how your portfolio would have fared in each of the 84 cycles. The ending balance was $1,310,100 to $36,138,959, with an average of $13,908,154. (Note: values are in terms of the dollars as of the beginning of the retirement period for each cycle.)
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A couple of queries
Old 01-24-2008, 05:05 AM   #12
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A couple of queries

Firecalc is very good but a couple of things I don't understand.

1. Under the "Your portfolio" section; for "portfolio with consistent annual growth" option ....... whatever % value I enter in the first box I always get failure in the same year e.g. 4% SWR, 10% growth, 4% fixed income, 3% inflation fails at year 27 and 4% SWR, 12% growth also fails at year 27. Am I wrong in thinking that 12% growth should last a longer period before failure?

2. One of the results options is to display an Excel spreadsheet showing "inflation-adjusted end-of-year portfolio balance" for every year of each cycle. However it appears to me that all of the yearly balances throughout the cycle are in expressed in nominal, i.e. the cycle's start year, dollars rather than "inflation-adjusted" values ..... or perhaps I've misunderstood?
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Wishlist for future versions of FIRECalc
Old 01-28-2008, 04:19 PM   #13
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Wishlist for future versions of FIRECalc

I just discovered FIRECalc because of a recent column by Scott Burns. I like it very much and look forward to using it for many years. But there are some things that could be improved:

1. It seems you have to enter your data every time you use FIRECalc. This is a pain in the neck. Couldn't FIRECalc remember the values you put in last time? That way you would only have to enter the changes. (One of the posters from the thread last September suggested the same thing.)

2. FIRECalc is so valuable to me that I would like it to be available for the next 30 years (I just retired last month at age 60). But what if, heaven forbid, Dory gets hit by an ocean liner? What would happen to FIRECalc? To eliminate this risk, could someone turn FIRECalc into a standalone application (preferably written in Java or some other cross-platform language)? That way, I would always have it. And it would remember my data. I would be happy to pay for such a thing of course.

3. I'd like to contribute $$$ to FIRECalc, but it would be nice to know what the extra features are that contributors get. If they are listed somewhere, I haven't found them.

Chomeur (my first post)
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chomeur View Post
1. It seems you have to enter your data every time you use FIRECalc. This is a pain in the neck. Couldn't FIRECalc remember the values you put in last time? That way you would only have to enter the changes. (One of the posters from the thread last September suggested the same thing.)
Dory or someone else may come along shortly to correct me, but I believe the call for saving entry information was trumped by the security concern of some users that the information might fall into the wrong hands. Another factor is the increased cost for hardware to store information for multiple runs by thousands (?) of users. Dory is retired and depends on the generosity of stranger to support FIRCEalc (for several months didn't even have a house to live in...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chomeur View Post
2. FIRECalc is so valuable to me that I would like it to be available for the next 30 years (I just retired last month at age 60). But what if, heaven forbid, Dory gets hit by an ocean liner? What would happen to FIRECalc? To eliminate this risk, could someone turn FIRECalc into a standalone application (preferably written in Java or some other cross-platform language)? That way, I would always have it. And it would remember my data. I would be happy to pay for such a thing of course.
Dory is in a secure and undisclosed location. He is watched at all times by a crack team of...well, you get the idea. Good question. I'm interested in seeing his response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chomeur View Post
3. I'd like to contribute $$$ to FIRECalc, but it would be nice to know what the extra features are that contributors get. If they are listed somewhere, I haven't found them.
See this on the "Spending Models" tab: Note: FIREcalc supporters can make yearly spending revisions throughout the duration of their plan.

Contributors get the ability to change spending year by year for as many years as they like. Provides a lot of flexibilty if you think your retirement spending will be 'lumpy'. Mine sure is...
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:09 PM   #15
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From the results window, click on "Link to this data" (or something similar to that). It opens a new page which you can bookmark. All your entered data are stored with the bookmarked URL (with at least one minor bug).
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Rich: thanks for the help
Old 01-28-2008, 09:07 PM   #16
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Rich: thanks for the help

Rich,

That's perfect. Exactly what I needed. Thanks for your help.

chomeur
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:24 PM   #17
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I'd like to take issue with only one thing.
Someone has to figure out what value to change on the URL in order to change the scenarios.
Is there another page that has editable fields (even if it's after you've gone into the initial one which only requires 2 inputs)?

PS: If Dory would like to, I'd be willing to create FIRECalc as a stand alone application (even if it accesses historical data from the Net). I'd prefer writing it in something like C++ over something like Java, since I've seen some major slowdown in Java applications as of more recent APIs.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:58 PM   #18
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I'd like to take issue with only one thing.
Someone has to figure out what value to change on the URL in order to change the scenarios...
Edit that long url would be really tricky, and it seems unnecessary. Instead, why not just bring up your bookmarked data set, change the parameters you wish via the differtent tabs in FireCalc, submit, and then "link to this set of data" once again.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:07 PM   #19
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Edit that long url would be really tricky, and it seems unnecessary. Instead, why not just bring up your bookmarked data set, change the parameters you wish via the differtent tabs in FireCalc, submit, and then "link to this set of data" once again.
I would, except the new version doesn't have any tabs (that I can see on FireFox or IE 7).

Oh ... wait a minute. You mean the "Spending Models", "Your Portfolio", etc.?
It just looks strange, since there's a submit button on each page.
Now I get it.
Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:14 PM   #20
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Can anyone advise me on how to open up FIRECalc? When I click on the "click here" heading, it fails to open. What in the world am I doing wrong?
Frustrated in Sacramento!
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