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praise & suggestion esp WRT spouse issues
Old 12-06-2010, 08:51 AM   #1
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praise & suggestion esp WRT spouse issues

The way you have done Firecalc is just the way I think. Being able to change any variable and see the results is wonderful. I know how complicated that sort of spreadsheet can get, having written something similar for a business plan involving multiple tier commissions.

I'm going to have to play with this; & donate when my real computer is fixed because I don't want passwords going thru this one...

It would be interesting to see vertical bars on the "spagetti" chart showing the odds of the portfolio lasting "at least this many" years. For myself, I like to think in terms of living a range of years ("25-35"), so it would be good to see the incremental odds of portfolio sufficiency year by year.

I'd think I'd like to know the _median_ value of the portfolio, as well as the average.

I don't know of any calculator that includes the chance of a sudden major increase in expenses due to going to a nursing home. Firecalc can do it as an OFF CHART item.

Same for losing SS or Pension benefits when a spouse dies. That could be a major loss of income. It can be handled the same way.

Maybe there should be more data entry lines for that sort of thing.

For couples it would be useful if it could tell you "the portfolio succeeds if you die not earlier than..." and the same for the Spouse. That would require explicit notation of which spouse is providing which incomes.

There could be "sliders" at the bottom of the odds chart for various things -- slide to denote the year in which one spouse dies, or goes into the home, etc. That would require some fancy HTML to "animate" the chart. Somebody could get college course credit for making it a project.

It would be useful to ask permission to collect & collate anonymous results. If people enter their actual situation, what fraction of real portfolios fail? Lots of sample bias towards the type of person who tries to pay attention (maybe starting too late...).
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongleur View Post

It would be interesting to see vertical bars on the "spagetti" chart showing the odds of the portfolio lasting "at least this many" years. For myself, I like to think in terms of living a range of years ("25-35"), so it would be good to see the incremental odds of portfolio sufficiency year by year.

I'd think I'd like to know the _median_ value of the portfolio, as well as the average.
I think those are pretty good suggestions. Maybe a vertical bar every 5 years? I'd also like to see the median and average on that vertical bar also.

And/or maybe the % of squiggles in a range, maybe divide up the range by 1/3 increments of the starting portfolio? So if you start with $1M, how many from 0-333K; 333K-666K; 666K-1,000K;1,000K-1,333K, etc

-ERD50
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:30 AM   #3
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The results could be presented so many ways... all it takes is someone with the coding skill & an idea. & access to the data. Wonder if the data & outputs could be made available in a "package" so that they could be automagically entered into number crunching & graphics created by others? Myriad ways to look at it, not enough people to realize them all.

I think there's room to show a vertical bar every year. Color bands could be added to give another "dimension" to the data. But for the "odds" I mentioned there is no median or average to be found, its a straight %.

Oh, I'd like to see the calendar year as well as incremental year.

>And/or maybe the % of squiggles in a range, maybe divide up the range by 1/3 increments of the starting portfolio? So if you start with $1M, how many from 0-333K; 333K-666K; 666K-1,000K;1,000K-1,333K, etc
>

The raw data must certainly be in a table inside the program. Open Source Project... Information Wants to be Free... Pave the Whales... Visualize Whirled Peas...

Do Pension / SS benefits increase if you become Disabled _after_ the beginning of payout? Is Dementia a disability for SS ?
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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While we're at it, why not ask Andy R to make FIRECalc forward looking as well as historical? All he needs is a time machine and a willing volunteer to make a few trips and report back...
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bongleur View Post
The results could be presented so many ways... all it takes is someone with the coding skill & an idea. & access to the data.....

The raw data must certainly be in a table inside the program. Open Source Project... Information Wants to be Free... Pave the Whales... Visualize Whirled Peas...
I seem to recall you could get a spreadsheet output of the raw data. I'm either forgetting how to do that, or it's been disabled, or...?

I agree, users could provide a method if we had the raw data. Open Source is powerful!

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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
While we're at it, why not ask Andy R to make FIRECalc forward looking as well as historical? All he needs is a time machine and a willing volunteer to make a few trips and report back...
Ummm, because the OP made a serious request for something that would be meaningful to many of the people who use FIRECALC, and it is a very do-able thing, the data is there? I've tried to explain some of this to others by crudely matching up lines on the chart and eye-balling and guesstimating.

Personally, I think it's a little rude and unecesary to belittle a serious request from a first-time poster. Some 'Welcome Wagon" he/she got

-ERD50
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:59 AM   #6
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Personally, I think it's a little rude and unecesary to belittle a serious request from a first-time poster. Some 'Welcome Wagon" he/she got

-ERD50
I'm soooo very sorry my bumbling attempt at humor was interpreted as offensive. Guess my welcome wagon needs a tune-up...or whatever.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:03 AM   #7
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Think these are great sggestions - mostly over my head as Firecalc doesn't do much for our rental property/short term loan heavy portfolio. Does Andy have the chops or desire to hire out any of the programming though? Thought Dory was the wizard. Or is the suggestion that (and I don't know what I'm talking about here) board members get in and do some coding gratis? There probably are members filled with the zeal and skill - don't think the moderators get any renumeration.

Suspect Andy may have some justified concern about the program getting out on it's own and popping up with different colors and name on another site.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:11 AM   #8
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As the OP points out, the most conspicuous opportunity for improving FC is its human interface. Maybe these would be easier to change than getting down and dirty with the various calculation algorithms and more intense aspects.

Might be a good time for Andy to solicit suggestions for improvement from our group at large.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:34 PM   #9
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>All he needs is a time machine

http://www.wayback.org

>the most conspicuous opportunity for improving FC is its human interface

I wasn't going to mention the user interface in my first post. But I understand the urge to get "more functionality" instead of spending time with the front end. Need a volunteer web designer to just re-arrange things, without getting into the programming.

Also, I want to understand the presumptions made in the allocation options -- did they have Small Caps back in 1871 How is that synthesized? GIGO !!!
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:45 PM   #10
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Also, I want to understand the presumptions made in the allocation options -- did they have Small Caps back in 1871 How is that synthesized? GIGO !!!
You might find some answers to this and other questions by searching/reading the old FIRECalc support threads, paying special attention to posts by the guy who created it, Dory36. I recall him addressing a number of questions not spelled out in the "How it Works" section of the calculator.
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