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DIY Financial Plan
Old 04-28-2017, 08:54 PM   #1
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DIY Financial Plan

A newbie here...

Looking for an advice on DIY financial plan. Are there any tools / software available to do the financial plan. I approached a firm but they said they will do financial plan only when they do the account management and also don't want to share a sample financial plan with all details.

I am specifically looking for a comprehensive plan that may be able to do cash flow projections, cover real estate, social security withdrawal strategies along with the run off the mill AAs...

I don't mind paying someone to do the job, but having a software that could be used on an going basis would be of great help.

Any ideas are appreciated.
Thank you

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Old 04-28-2017, 09:11 PM   #2
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You could take a look at the wiki.
Simple 2 fund portfolio works for many.

You could also start by reading Bill Bernstein's free book, "If you can".
If You Can and Rational Expectations

Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:18 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
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I bought Jim Otar's retirement calculator for $99. It runs on windows Excel 2007 or newer. It's comprehensive and allows 15 assets. I am also a retirement newbie and had a few problems understanding exactly how or where to enter each bit of data. There is a 175 page user manual which I didn't read at first. When I did read, I was helped but it could be a bit clearer in places. Jim will answer any questions by email to help you. This is the best program I've used.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:19 PM   #4
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You are covering a broad category of subjects. If you have specific questions, I would suggest you break them down by subject and then post them in individual threads. If you are just looking for general knowledge, I think you are either going to have to read a bunch on each of the topics you are researching, or hire an advisor who has knowledge on these topics. Advisors are generally not looked at favorably by many on this site, but for someone with extensive questions and no time or desire to do the research, they may be a valuable solution for you.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:31 PM   #5
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I would look at Fidelity's planner. It used to be called RIP but has a different name that I don't recall. You need an account but don't need(or didn't) need to fund it.

It won't do everything you want but it is the closest free(or fee) planner I have found.

ETA: I agree there's probably a lot more to your question than we are answering.
Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:36 PM   #6
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Quicken Lifetime Planner, included in Quicken Deluxe and higher, is a great place to start. Very intuitive, relatively easy to use and reasonably comprehensive.

You can also use Quicken to track your banking and investments and your plan is automatically updated.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:10 AM   #7
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These are promising tools. – Retireate Away!
"Retireator is a free, open-source retirement simulator, written in Microsoft Excel, with a focus on short and medium term financial planning. The Microsoft Excel platform allows for the tool to be open and infinitely adaptable by both developers and non-developers alike, which is a huge advantage over closed-source software. “Retireatees” can build and test a retirement drawdown strategy incorporating a myriad of different retirement income sources over a period of years with meticulous calculations and extrapolations of Social Security benefits, federal and state income taxes, mortgages, and market conditions. Retireator was created by Larry Blumer, Jr"
"Portfolio Visualizer provides online portfolio analysis tools for backtesting, Monte Carlo simulation, tactical asset allocation and optimization, and investment analysis tools for exploring factor regressions, correlations and efficient frontiers."

SSAnalyze - Bedrock Capital Management
This does a good job of directing you to the optimum SS decision. It creates an analysis you can download in .csv format.
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:26 AM   #8
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I had a financial plan done by Merrill Lynch about 15 years ago. Their plan was quite close to my DIY plan and quite good. They even offered to share my annual withdrawals 50/50 - a 2% of assets under management annual fee. Plus they were going to put me in funds where they would get another cut. I declined the management offer, but was quite pleased to see that my DIY plan was in line with theirs.

If I were going to do another professional plan today, I would find a fee only planner who was willing to work up a plan on an hourly basis. Tell the planner you want to use low cost funds with one of the low cost investment companies. Include all the elements you want to cover so you get an accurate cost estimate.

I think you can also do just as good by using the tools suggested here and by asking your questions as they come up. You will also gain some great understanding of making your money work for you.

So ask away and welcome to the forum!
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:31 AM   #9
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It probably depends on where you are in your life. A plan at age 25 will be quite bit different than a plan at ages 55 or 65.
the Fidelity tool mentioned is good enough
FIRECalc: A different kind of retirement calculator and Crowdsourced Financial Independence and Early Retirement Simulator/Calculator for "Do I have enough money to retire?"

OTOH, reading Jane Bryant Quinn's "How to Make Your Money Last" is probably all the real knowledge you need and will open your eyes to things that are probably not really needed or that cannot really be planned for.

Probably the biggest thing to come away with after using these planning tools is that no plan can be accurate nor precise enough to trust much.
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