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Pralana Retirement Calculator
Old 02-23-2020, 05:28 AM   #1
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Pralana Retirement Calculator

Learned about this in another thread. https://www.early-retirement.org/for...or-102178.html

Thought it deserved more visibility.

We bought this calculator recently to help us plan roth rollovers. In particular, we wanted the tax burden calculation. We were considering developing this ourselves but heard about Pralana.

Pralana allows comparison of three different scenarios. For example, "no rollovers" vs "rollovers optimized to stay below a given tax bracket" to "rollovers spread over a given time period". It provides the output in both chart and spreadsheet format.

It also has built-in sensitivity calcualations to study various options like living longer, retiring earlier, higher yield, etc.

All of the calculations we might have wanted to develop ourselves are in there, at least from what we have seen so far.

It is also pretty flexible - one can adjust forecast spending or income and see the effect. For example, since we are investigating memory care and skilled nursing for DW's parents, we just modeled the effect of spending another $9K/month at the end of our lives. For us, this made a growing porfolio "get dented". Better for our heirs if we dont need it....

We have used a variety of calculators in the past - Vanguard, FIDO, i-orp, firecalc, homegrown, etc. This calculator is more complete and easier to use than those others. It's obvious that the developers spent many hours creating and refining it.

The only downfall we have seen is that this tool has no tracking capability. So we will need to do this on our own. We find it useful to compare "actual" vs "plan". (My boss is comparing actual vs plan at work and this may cause me to retire sooner rather than later .

Bottom line is that Pralana may be worth a look.
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:58 AM   #2
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Are you using the free or pay version of Pralana?
If the pay version, how much does the latest version cost?
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Old 02-23-2020, 06:35 AM   #3
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Are you using the free or pay version of Pralana?
If the pay version, how much does the latest version cost?
"We bought this calculator recently..."

$99

"The introductory price of PRC2020/Gold is $99 but this will be increasing to $129 on March 1. "
https://pralanaretirementcalculator....It/get-it.html
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Old 02-23-2020, 06:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by njhowie View Post
"We bought this calculator recently..."

$99

"The introductory price of PRC2020/Gold is $99 but this will be increasing to $129 on March 1. "
https://pralanaretirementcalculator....It/get-it.html
Thanks njhowie.
I have read that this calculator is quite detailed (good thing) and models the tax aspects in a more comprehensive way.
Will consider it before Mar 1.
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Old 02-23-2020, 08:26 AM   #5
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The product has been mentioned in 17 threads since 2014, four times this year already.

I tried the bronze version, and need to spend more time before spending on yet another calculator.

One thing of note is that the workbook is all locked up.

Since its been mentioned 4 times this year, I can't help but wonder if we're experiencing a small bit of marketing. Or maybe the Roth conversion desire is pushing people to seek out products that haven't seen much discussion on the forum previously.
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Old 02-23-2020, 08:33 AM   #6
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There's at least some marketing going on. I downloaded the free version of this calculator a long time ago, maybe two years ago, but I never really did anything with it.

On January 11, I received an email that said:

PRC2020 Gold Has Been Released

If you have a version prior to v1.6 please be aware that updates are available and you can get the latest version by logging in under your new PRC2020 license.

On December 9, I had received:


PRC 2020 Gold Will Be Released in Early January


PRC2020 will be the best Pralana Gold calculator yet, and it's on schedule for release in early January!
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Pralana Gold 2020 Review
Old 02-23-2020, 08:39 AM   #7
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Pralana Gold 2020 Review

ImThinking2019, I also just purchased Pralana Gold 2020 (PRC Gold) and have found it very useful. It takes some time to become familiar with all of it's functions, but once configured, it's an excellent tool to help you analyze your situation. It goes beyond the many excellent free tools that allow you to plan by rounding off to a thousand and allow you to dive deeply and comprehensively into your situation to 2 decimal points detail - very powerful and allows you to follow along with year by year tabular and graphical data.

Below are some specific functions that Pralana Gold 2020 offers I think make it well worth it's current cost of $99 and it's future cost of $129:

1. The option to choose the drawdown order of retirement assets. As Michael Kitces makes clear in his "Finding Your Tax Equilibrium Rate for Retirement Liquidations" post (https://www.kitces.com/blog/tax-rate...h-conversions/), the best way to balance maximizing disposable income, net worth and minimizing your overall tax payments is to consider drawing down your tIRA early, versus the typical order of after tax first, tIRA second, and Roth IRA last. PRC Gold 2020 actually has instituted a tool implementing a similar approach - I'm still investigating it.

2. Real estate. PRC Gold allows you to accurately model the costs, income, mortgage loan details, cost basis, depreciation and taxes from personal and rental real estate very easily.

3. Roth conversion analysis. Allows you to set up different scenarios for Roth conversions. PRC Gold has allowed DW and I to accurately model the impact of doing no, 22% and 24% Roth conversions under scenarios where we both live a long time and if one of us were to pass early, subjecting the survivor to the dreaded "tax torpedo".

Interestingly enough for us, the benefit of early, aggressive Roth conversions is essentially a wash tax and net worth wise if we both make it into our late 80's+ . However, if one of us passes early, PRC Gold shows us that the tax torpedo equates to a x2.5 increase in our annual federal and state tax burden once the survivor begins filing Single, not MFJ - ouch.

4. Accurately models IRMAA and NIIT.

5. Includes a SS optimizer. A nice feature is that it allows you to specify the level of optimization you want, i.e., the total percentage of optimization (i.e., 95%) from THE optimal solution. Based upon the parameters you give it (FRA, PIA, life span, etc.), provides an easy to understand matrix of you and spouses ages to take SS that meet the level of optimization.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in our case, the SS Optimizer result is pasted below.

So for us, if were happy to be within 98% (user can change the % level for comparison purposes) of the optimum solution (the darkest green block), then taking SS in any age combination with a lighter green block above works. Since DW and I don't stress about achieving perfection, it's nice to know what our right and left limits are.

6. Ability to model ACA costs. I'm not taking advantage of this feature as a military retiree with Tricare, but it looks powerful.

7. Contains a Monte Carlo and Historical returns feature so you can stress test your situation.

This isn't a full feature review by any means, but in summary, PRC Gold 2020 is a tremendously valuable tool that has given DW and I a much higher level of confidence in our plan to retire later this year.

Everyone's situation is different, but in our situation with a military pension and rental real estate we get a much higher fidelity result to evaluate different financial decisions in one place than any other calculator I've found. You can go to the Pralana website and download the user manual for free to see if it addresses the issues most important to your situation.
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File Type: jpg SS Optimizer.JPG (55.4 KB, 38 views)
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:42 AM   #8
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sounds like a well thought out software
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:58 AM   #9
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I don't exactly have a horse in this race because as a Mac user the cost of buying and updating Excel (which is required to use Pralana gold) in addition to the cost of the calculator exceeds its value to me but I have been following the retirement calculator topic for years and wanted to point out that Darrow Kirkpatrick over at the "Can I Retire Yet?" site has been writing about this with more depth and clarity than anyone else I've run across for years.

Here's his most recent piece on the Pralana Gold, along with links (at the end of the writeup) to earlier posts that look at competing calculators. Clearly a good tool and maybe an essential one for those with more complex financial situations.

https://www.caniretireyet.com/pralan...nt-calculator/
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:26 AM   #10
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Been using ESPlanner/MaxiFi since 2013 to keep my FIRE plan on track. I also pay $50/year for OnTrajectory which I really like for its simplicity compared to ESP. Do those with Pralana experience have any comparison thoughts?

I've been very happy with ESP over the years. It helps me sleep good at night and that's worth the $79 annual fee.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:15 PM   #11
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I bought Pralana Gold last year and recently upgraded to Pralana 2020 (Gold).
I think it's an excellent product.
I wouldn't call it "easy to use", though; at least for us non-accountant types. ;-) You really have to spend some time with it to set it up and to understand how all the options affect each scenario.
It has graphical and tabular outputs/forecasts and includes taxes, Roth conversions, 529 account, withdrawals and/or growth from each type of account...you name it. Very comprehensive.
Also, I had a question about one of the features and emailed for support. Received an answer pretty quickly. :-) So good customer support as well.
Highly recommended.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Been using ESPlanner/MaxiFi since 2013 to keep my FIRE plan on track. I also pay $50/year for OnTrajectory which I really like for its simplicity compared to ESP. Do those with Pralana experience have any comparison thoughts?

I've been very happy with ESP over the years. It helps me sleep good at night and that's worth the $79 annual fee.

NanoSour - I haven't used MaxiFi, but based on the features listed on their web page and my experience with PRC Gold 2020, it looks like both products features overlap nearly 100%.


PRC Gold requires Excel to run, so if you don't have it that could be a deal breaker for anyone considering using it.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:52 PM   #13
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Just took a look at Pralana Bronze. Sorry, not even close to MaxiFi in either input or output. Needs a more modern interface. Feels like your stuck in the mid 90s.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:43 AM   #14
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3. Roth conversion analysis. Allows you to set up different scenarios for Roth conversions. PRC Gold has allowed DW and I to accurately model the impact of doing no, 22% and 24% Roth conversions under scenarios where we both live a long time and if one of us were to pass early, subjecting the survivor to the dreaded "tax torpedo".

Interestingly enough for us, the benefit of early, aggressive Roth conversions is essentially a wash tax and net worth wise if we both make it into our late 80's+ . However, if one of us passes early, PRC Gold shows us that the tax torpedo equates to a x2.5 increase in our annual federal and state tax burden once the survivor begins filing Single, not MFJ - ouch.
.[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much for this review. My wife and I will choose one Roth rollover model and then test some scenarios where one or the other passes away. We appreciate you telling us about this.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:30 AM   #15
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Just took a look at Pralana Bronze. Sorry, not even close to MaxiFi in either input or output. Needs a more modern interface. Feels like your stuck in the mid 90s.
Does MaxFi help with ACA, tax projections and Roth conversions, as it sounds like this one does?
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Old 02-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #16
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I use MaxiFi...it's "maximize" scenario basically advised us to both delay SS until age 70 & convert what left of our retirement funds to SPIAs around age 80 (unlikely I'll live that long)

Not ACA eligible...since it is offered we are required to use DW's employer health plan.
We would receive substantial subsidies were that not the case, however.

Taxes aren't really a concern given our low annual spending, no plans to do Roth conversions (little in tax-deferred)
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:12 AM   #17
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I too have found Pralana Gold very useful, and just upgraded to the 2020 version in the hope that the ACA cliff calculations will help me more easily model Roth Conversions.

I do struggle though, with the question from the OP. It seems like in order to keep the model aligned with "actuals", there's a fair amount of annual reentry of asset information needed. It could be that I'm missing something though - a user forum would be really helpful to understand how/if others are effectively tracking reality vs the model.
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Old 03-29-2020, 04:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Just took a look at Pralana Bronze. Sorry, not even close to MaxiFi in either input or output. Needs a more modern interface. Feels like your stuck in the mid 90s.
Does Maxfi analyze/optimize roth conversions?
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