Special Folder

The first tab of this folder asks you to enter special expenditures you expect to incur this year or in future years. Examples of special expenditures are college tuition payments, gifts, weddings, medical expenses, special purchases of cars, or an expensive vacation. You can enter special expenditures for a fixed number of years or on a recurring basis.

Note, special expenditures are special, non-recurring expenses. Do not enter expenses that you consider a typical part of your monthly or annual budget. The program’s annual recommended level of consumption indicates how much the household can spend each year on regular expenses after retirement savings, housing expenditures, taxes, and life insurance premiums. The Budgeting Report provides an excel spreadsheet that can be used with families to help them budget within the ESPlanner consumption expenditure recommendations. It is not necessary to account for every monthly expense or anticipate every expense. Most users will find that if an expense occurs each year—such as charitable giving or even car payments—then it’s best to just view that as something you expect to treat as “consumption” rather than as “special” or not typical. However, if you were, for example, purchasing a boat, and you knew this was the last boat you’d ever purchase, that might be something you’d list as a special expenditure. When you look at the consumption amount in the annual recommendation report, that number—which is your bottom line—reflects your discretionary spending after paying for special expenses.

If you are married or partnered and your spouse’s or partner’s future special expenditures will be different if your spouse or partner is (if you are) deceased, activate contingent planning at the top of the screen and enter (in the contingent planning folder) the special expenditures that will prevail under that contingency when you create a survivor report.

The second tab asks you to enter the special receipts your family expects to receive this year and in future years. Examples of special receipts are alimony payments, inheritances, child support, charitable contributions, income from the sale of a business, and support from your parents.

If you are married or partnered and future special receipts will be different if one or the other is deceased, activate contingent planning at the top of the screen and enter (in the contingent planning folder) the special receipts that will prevail under that contingency and then appear in the survivor report.

When you express a future special expenditure or receipt in today’s dollars, you tell the program that the expenditures or receipts will have the same purchasing power in the future as the specified amount would have in current year. When you express a future expenditure or receipt in (nominal) dollars, you are telling the program that the real purchasing power of the expenditure or receipt will be eroded through time due to inflation. If you enter a special expenditure in today’s dollars, both the current year dollar amounts and actual dollar amounts are displayed. The same is true if you enter a special expenditure in dollars. To remove a special expenditure from the list, click on the box left of the description and click delete.
ESPlanner treats your special expenditures as “off-the-top” expenses in calculating the amount your household can afford to spend through time on its living standard. It treats your special receipts as additional income that you receive in the year it arrives.

You need to tell the program if your family’s special expenditures are tax deductible or excludable from adjusted gross income (AGI) in calculating federal income taxes. An example of a tax-deductible special expenditure is a charitable contribution. An example of a tax-excludable special expenditure is alimony payments.