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Author: DoLoop Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 74759  
Subject: Re: OT: financial planning software? Date: 7/17/2003 11:44 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

I had assumed there were some "professional" software packages out there but I didn't know where to look. TTRoberts' link seems to identify most, if not all of them. I read up on several but I think the "good" ones are probably cost-prohibitive for amature use by just one person.

After looking at the professional stuff, I guess I have to agree with the other responses that my best option is to go back and straighten out a few kinks in my spreadsheet and make it a little easier to use. I'm really not looking for something so sophisticated that it applies tax laws for me. I have a pretty good handle on most of the assumptions that I need to make - in fact, as far as I'm concerned, playing with those assumptions is a significant part of the planning process.

I have many years of Quicken data to serve as a source of information. In fact, what I do now is periodically generate a report in Quicken that provides a "baseline" for the planning spreadsheet (like iamdb commented). I also understand that the math (and the calculations / formulas) involved are not particularly exotic. But, writing a formula to add the values in two cells together is the easy part - knowing whether they SHOULD be added together or not is sometimes a little trickier.

I have two areas where I'm not sure that I'm doing things correctly. One was the treatment of NEW money going in to an investment. Frustration with this is what prompted me to post my original message the other day. I had not updated the plan to reflect my 2003 contribution to our Roth IRAs. When I did, not only did my investment totals NOT go up but the withdrawals after retirment increased! I think I have that straightened out (I was treating it as an expense rather than a transfer of funds).

The other area where I think I have things messed up is with the "circular" calculations involved in figuring out the withdrawal amounts after retirement. For example, the amount of money going to taxes is affected by the investment income; the investment income is dependent on the amount of the investments which are, in turn, affected by the amount of money that needs to be withdrawn to pay the taxes.

I was hoping that for, maybe $59.95, I could find a package somewhere that would take care of all this for me. Such is not to be, I guess. :(
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