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Best Software for Financial Management in Retirement?
Old 05-12-2020, 09:44 AM   #1
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Best Software for Financial Management in Retirement?

I started out wanting to do a ROTH conversion and stumbled across an excellent thread started by Midpack. In planning a ROTH conversion you need to be able to look at a bunch of scenarios. So, four software packages were discussed in the thread;

1. Optimal Retirement Planner (ORP)(Free)
2. Income Strategy ($20-50/month)
3. PlanVision ($150 first year, $8/month after that includes some consulting)
4. Right Capital (one time $150 sublicense but main license not guaranteed to be renewed each year).

I saw that these softwares could also do things to help manage your portfolio on an ongoing bases, like forecast taxes, monitor rebalancing, direct withdrawals, etc. These are things I have always done in a spreadsheet. But I worry, that as get older I might not be as effective at this and miss something. I also worry that if I can't do this anymore my spouse will not be able to step in. We have been trying to get her educated on what needs to be done and simplify to make it easier. I have even created new simpler spreadsheets, with what I think are clear directions. But I still worry. We used to get a free annual checkup from Vanguard Admiral service. But they are moving to a custodian model (exactly what I moved to Vanguard to get away from).

So I decided to investigate technology solutions. These four seem to be a good place to start. But I would like to know what others are using and think about their solutions. Please share your thoughts on this thread. I think the ROTH thread from Midpack is too complex and focused to be the right place for this discussion.
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ORP
Old 05-12-2020, 09:53 AM   #2
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ORP

Optimal Retirement Planner (ORP) is really only a modeling software. So while the the output tables could be followed to deterimine withdrawals and project taxes at very high level, there is no portfolio monitoring or management.

Interesting for me was this software told me it was a "no brainer" to do ROTH conversions (+20%), however I'm not finding that with Income Strategy. More on that in a latter post.

You can cut and paste tables from ORP into a spreadsheet and do further analysis there.

So for "what if" questions this is a good place to start for free. It can help with questions like how much can I withdraw, where should I withdraw from, what will my taxes look like, should I do a ROTH conversion. But as many people have pointed out in the ROTH thread, there is no way to know how the data is transformed and there is little control over that. You have to trust the software.
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First look at Income Strategy
Old 05-12-2020, 10:12 AM   #3
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First look at Income Strategy

I have subscribed for one month of Income Strategy (IS) @ $20 and may try the $50 upgrade. I have been using it only a day but with many of the suggestions made by Midpack in the ROTH thread I have been able to move pretty fast.

My first impression is that this is a better software than ORP and worth the $20. It is more complicated to operate, although online videos, in app helps, and online user documents help a lot. There is even a phone number you can call for help and you can calendar support as Midpack reported for $150/hour.

This software will actually connect with your online accounts to download and track them. I think this is a minimum requirement for the kind of support I am looking for. I have had the same issue as Midpack and others in that the software seems somewhat limited in it's asset allocation abilities. For instance, I have 4 sets of International Developed Market allocations; one for ILCG (4.5%), ILCV (4.5%), ISCG (4.5%), ISCV (4.5%). But I can only set one Ticker symbol and one allocation for International in IS. So that's why it keeps selling my holdings in the first year. I can set it to not use an asset allocation but then I loose all of the rebalancing function I need. Even when I have a single Ticker for an Asset Class IS seems to occasionally want to use something different.

The software also creates tons of models for you and it is easy to get lost in this. I think after using it for 1 day I have 50 models created and no clue what's in 45 of them. Just be careful with your naming. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to delete them.

I have some hope that this might allow for my spouse to use the system to manage without me if I can get it working correctly.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:39 AM   #4
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I think Midpack found it useful for 2 months, and then was done.

An ongoing subscription could end up pretty expensive over the years, and it honestly sounds a bit complex for a spouse to pick up and use, if they are not the ones interested.
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Old 05-12-2020, 03:34 PM   #5
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Pralana - not easy from the get go but stay at it and it has been much more useful than many other calcs I have used.
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:03 PM   #6
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I've been wanting to try New Retirement Planner The free parts look amazing, but I have not pulled the trigger. I am unclear on if it can calc the RMDs.
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:27 AM   #7
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I've been wanting to try New Retirement Planner The free parts look amazing, but I have not pulled the trigger. I am unclear on if it can calc the RMDs.
I took a quick look at this one to see if I should include it in my analysis. I filled out the free version and went though it. I liked the way the interface worked with simple questions and pop up type advise. It did seem very basic. There was only account balances and not holdings. I didn't see anything to do with Asset Allocation, returns, etc. For $6 per month you get a more advanaced function set and online assistance. There were all manner of linked retirement calculators and advise organized in nice way and accessible at the points you would need them. I think the basic version is too simple to be really useful and I'm not convinced to do the 14 day trial yet. I am still working with Income Strategy to evaluate it and also PlanVision with eMoney. I'll be reporting on them soon. I also plan to try out Right Capital after those two.
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:52 AM   #8
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I think Midpack found it useful for 2 months, and then was done.

An ongoing subscription could end up pretty expensive over the years, and it honestly sounds a bit complex for a spouse to pick up and use, if they are not the ones interested.

The monthly expenses apply to PlanVision ($8) and New Retirement Planner ($6). These are really not too bad and you get unlimited live consulting. Income Strategy is $150/hour. PlanVision also has consulting for $125/30 minutes. That's a lot more than the monthly but still pretty cheap compared to many financial consultants. I had an offer from one fee-only planner to look at my full picture including ROTH and they wanted $6,000!
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List of Financial Software
Old 05-14-2020, 11:00 AM   #9
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List of Financial Software

This is the list of software mentioned or proposed in this thread.

1. Optimal Retirement Planner (ORP)(Free)
2. Income Strategy ($20-50/month)
3. PlanVision ($150 first year, $8/month after that includes some consulting)
4. Right Capital (one time $150 sublicense but main license not guaranteed to be renewed each year).
5. New Retirement ($6/month premium)
6. Parlana (Gold $99 and Bronze $0)
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:05 AM   #10
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I've been wanting to try New Retirement Planner The free parts look amazing, but I have not pulled the trigger. I am unclear on if it can calc the RMDs.
I used New Retirement Planner for about a year. It's good, but had problems -specifically in the calculated income taxes. It would calculate taxes based on a specific order of withdrawals from the various accounts - so it always overstated taxes compared to what I actually pay.

Other than that it's a great tool with nice charts and graphs. I might go back to it in a couple of years as I get further into retirement.
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PlanVision Review
Old 05-14-2020, 11:53 AM   #11
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PlanVision Review

PlanVision uses eMoney. eMoney appears to be excellent software for a planner and client to work together and PlanVision provided a good planner to work with me. My issue was that the client has very little control over the software and must rely on the planner to make even small tweaks like age of death. I believe that $8/month fee would give you access to do these small tweaks through your planner. But bigger changes require a consulting call which is charged at $150/hour. Which is reasonable.

Here are the things I couldn't do or figure how to do on the client end of eMoney.


1. Can't adjust age of death. Requires your advisor do this.

2. I had an inherited IRA and and it requires your advisor set this up for taking an RMDs.

3. The advisor controls your asset allocation as well as asset types.

4. Cash flow analysis and planning. There doesn't seem to be a report that tells how much cash you need and where it is coming from in the next few years. I think your advisor does this for you.

6. I donít see a report that gives you a Rebalancing plan. Again, I think this is an advisor function.

7. Modeling Taxes, Withdrawals, Sequencing, Social Security, and ROTH conversions all seems to be an advisor function and out of reach for the client.

I'm sure PlanVision's advisors do a great job, I was impressed by the one assigned to me. It would be great to have this kind of advice available for my spouse when I can't take of it by myself any longer, this was one of the things I am looking to find in my final solution. VisionPlan had clear directions, videos explaining everything, responsive support. A lot of good things going for it if you want a Fee-only Advisor solution.

Finally, Mark Zoril was very gracious in quickly agreeing to refund my purchase, per their guaranty, when it became clear this wasn't a good fit for me. Depending on what you want, it might be an excellent approach.
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:05 PM   #12
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For straight Portfolio Management, I've used Fund Manager for years and really like it. It's clean, elegant and fast - and does everything I'd expect it plus a bunch of things I haven't even scratched the surface on yet..

https://www.fundmanagersoftware.com/
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:58 PM   #13
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I've also played around with Retiree Portfolio Model - the main post is here. It does A LOT of stuff.

"The Retiree Portfolio Model is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet created by a retiree for retirees. It models the most common financial aspects of a retiree and their spouse's lives, including pensions, Social Security benefits, living expenses, IRA Required Minimum Distributions, purchase of an annuity, sale of a house, and many other items including Federal and state income taxes. All of this data is used to create a model of their accounts over a period of 1 to 40 years."

I would also give a shout out toFlexible Retirement Planner.
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New Retirement
Old 05-18-2020, 01:45 PM   #14
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New Retirement

A review of New Retirement. I enrolled in the two week free trial of the $6/month premium New Retirement. This is a software that might be useful on an occasional basis for someone wanting a basic checkup of what they are doing. It does not load your actual holdings and basis, although you put in your basis for Taxable account. So, like ORP no asset allocation or rebalancing done by the software. It gives basic advice and seems to push some insurance and annuity products. This maybe a stream of revenue for the site? But, I never went there so I don't know.

What's to like? A nice visual interface with helpful tips that pop up based on what you are doing, Chat lets you ask Steve questions in real time. A virtual coach with suggestions on improving your plan. Online live consulting with a CFP with the first session free.

Some weaknesses of the platform. If you want to model a ROTH you have to figure out the amounts on your own. The system won't figure them for you to a certain marginal tax rate. You can only review one plan at a time. But you can see the effects of changes in a little graphical window next to the entries. You have no real control over your withdrawal sequence other than adding ROTH conversions. I've already mentioned the lack of allocation consideration.

I will compare the output from all models when I finish reviewing them. It's interesting.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:51 PM   #15
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A review of New Retirement. I enrolled in the two week free trial of the $6/month premium New Retirement. This is a software that might be useful on an occasional basis for someone wanting a basic checkup of what they are doing. It does not load your actual holdings and basis, although you put in your basis for Taxable account. So, like ORP no asset allocation or rebalancing done by the software. It gives basic advice and seems to push some insurance and annuity products. This maybe a stream of revenue for the site? But, I never went there so I don't know.

What's to like? A nice visual interface with helpful tips that pop up based on what you are doing, Chat lets you ask Steve questions in real time. A virtual coach with suggestions on improving your plan. Online live consulting with a CFP with the first session free.

Some weaknesses of the platform. If you want to model a ROTH you have to figure out the amounts on your own. The system won't figure them for you to a certain marginal tax rate. You can only review one plan at a time. But you can see the effects of changes in a little graphical window next to the entries. You have no real control over your withdrawal sequence other than adding ROTH conversions. I've already mentioned the lack of allocation consideration.

I will compare the output from all models when I finish reviewing them. It's interesting.
Thanks for the review. I used New Retirement for a year and thought it was pretty good, but they have pretty rigid assumptions on when things get withdrawn and how projected income taxes were calculated. It's a good starting point.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:12 PM   #16
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If you know one's standard deduction - at least until 2025 it should be pretty straight forward calculating marginal and effective?
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:51 AM   #17
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I've also played around with Retiree Portfolio Model - the main post is here. It does A LOT of stuff.
Has anyone else tried this one? It is really quite good. I've been playing around with it.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:59 PM   #18
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A useful thread to follow.

Thanks
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Old 06-17-2020, 07:04 PM   #19
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I am looking at buying Pralana Gold as an all encompassing financial software for all my finances in retirement, but more specifically to streamline the ongoing Roth Conversions with predictable tax consequences, without any extra taxes.

It does have great reviews on many blogs & such I looked at, but I understand one needs Excel to work the software.

I do not have MS Office & do not have Excel loaded on my Laptop.

Has anybody come across a work around this requirement of excel to work Pralana Gold ? Is there a easier substitute for excel for working it. I am not a IT Geek & feel a little intimidated with complex calculations & formulas. I have never worked on excel, hence it will be new to me.

Can any Pralana Gold user please comment on its usefulness for a person uninitiated in excel.

Thankyou in advance
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Old 06-18-2020, 07:54 AM   #20
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rkser,
I downloaded the free version (it is called Bronze) after seeing it mentioned on this site several times. This version does not have anything about Roth conversions, or at least I couldn't find it. So I can't help you specifically with your question about Excel.

Excel can be very confusing to a non-user. The retirement software you mention loads up and puts Excel into a macro-driven application. That is not for me.

Another possible insight I have is that mentions of this software here is seems to be provided by users with a lower frequency of posting. That could mean nothing, or it could be something done to drive product sales.

I think it is possible to build a google or excel solution to your problem. Essentially you project your income for this year, include the conversion, and examine the tax consequence(s). FYI, I am doing this with TurboTax desktop version, which has a what-if analysis worksheet.

I also think there are plenty of investors here who can provide enough information to quickly do this on a sheet of paper.

I hope that is not too long-winded of a post.
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