ESPlanner versus MaxiFi


Just now seeing that there is a new software produce called MaxiFi. Will MaxiFi eventually replace ESPlanner? Or is it designed to compliment ESPlanner?

I see that MaxiFi does some things that ESPlanner does not do (e.g, maximized Social Security strategy and maximized retirement account withdrawal strategy). But ESPlanner does some things that MaxiFi does not (e.g., vacation homes and real estate, 529 plans, and Monte Carlo analysis). Are there plans to add all ESPlanner features to MaxiFi?

Can data be imported from ESPlanner into MaxiFi?

Can multiple "what if" scenarios be created in MaxiFi (like you can do in ESPlanner) by copying profiles?

Are there work-arounds in MaxiFi to handle vacation homes and real estate?

Does MaxiFi allow for multiple changes in rates of return (by year and between retirement accounts and regular assets) so the user can test the impact of different return strategies?

Thanks. Just trying to better understand each product.



dan royer's picture

Hi Rick,

Well, you know, who knows what the future holds! but, yes, the idea would be that MaxiFi Planner would essentially replace ESPlanner. Of course we'd have to first get all the features in place and I believe the additional feature plan is to roll out over the next 8 quarters. So it will be several years before there's serious talk about replacement. The platform that ESPlanner uses for the user interface, Visual Basic, is no longer supported by Microsoft, so we are not wanting to remain too dependent on that.

We expect some ESPlanner users do not use or need all the features and may migrate over to MaxiFi Planner simply because they like the user interface or the cloud/web platform. Others will hold tight for now.

The feature comparison chart can be viewed here:

A few "optimization" features are going into MaxiFi Planner. It will run some basic optimization routines and look at SS benefit collection strategy, start dates on retirement assets, annuitization and see if it can raise the discretionary spending. It typically finds things to try, but often, as you might imagine, also can create some liquidity constraint in the process.

It does not import data from ESPlanner . . . yet. I think the engineer, Ed, might have some ideas about that though.

Right now you cannot create multiple what if scenarios. You just have the one family and of course you can download a PDF of an existing case, but not create multiple cases at this point.

The only workarounds as you might imagine would involve using special expenditures and special receipts, which work the same as in ESPlanner.

MaxiFi does not yet allow you to introduce changes in the rates of return.

Thanks for your interest. I know you've been a long time ESPlanner user.

Thanks Dan. So, would you recommend maybe using MaxiFi to do a first run analysis to gain some insight into maximized Social Security and retirement account withdrawal strategies? And then use ESPlanner to do more in-depth "what if" modeling if needed? I'll probably subscribe to both so I can see how the two programs can work together.

I already subscribe to the Pro version of Maximize My Social Security. Is it possible that MaxiFi could recommend a different Social Security claiming strategy than Maximize My Social Security given that MaxiFi is looking at all financial variables and Maximize My Social Security is only looking at maximum lifetime benefits? Just curious if anyone has tested this.

dan royer's picture

No, I don't believe that MaxiFi will give you anything different from MMSS in terms of strategy. Well, I don't think it will. The question, really, is how does the strategy with the highest present value fit into the larger plan. It's hard for me to imagine a non-optimal strategy (measured in terms of present value) causing a higher living standard, but perhaps it is possible because of tax consequences. So I'm not positive. It is the same underlying algorithm, but it's throwing into a new context. I think what can happen though is that the optimized strategy (measured as greatest present value in a plan) can create a plan that liquidity constrained and then you are not longer dealing with apples and apples in the comparison really since one plan that has higher value may have less utility or practical value to you.

So, sure these program overlap, but they do slightly different things. MaxiFi and ESPlanner are of course very similar. That optimization feature could trigger some ideas for you though.