ESPlannerPlus Tax Law Update Plans?

Dan,

I saw your note about the end of year bug being fixed in an update to ESPlannerPlus coming "in a few days". Is there also a Comprehensive Update coming that includes any/all of the implications of changes to the Tax Laws?

It has been nearly a year since the last ESPP update. News has been very quiet about the future of ESPP. Is this the year it is going to be taken off of life support and allowed to die? I would potentially try MaxFi but still have not seen a *detailed* list of features it supports. For example, does it allow copying a plan and changing inputs to see the effects or do you have to make all changes to a single scenario and then change them all back manually if it doesn't pan out? Maybe I am just needing some good detailed tutorials of the capability since it doesn't have a demo available.

In net -- two questions:
1) Will there be an update to ESPP this year to bring it up to date?

2) Is MaxFi now fully capable of **everything** ESPP has had for many years?

Best Regards,
John

Comments

dan royer's picture

Hi John,

Yes, an annual release is forthcoming any day now I believe for ESPlanner. Going forward it will just be the beginning of year adjustments for inflation, SS, taxes and any state or federal law changes--and of course bug fixes but no new features. The engineers expect feature parity with ESPlanner by the end of Q1, 2019. The Monte Carlo--a much improved methodology and much better analysis than in ESPlanner was released last week in MaxiFi. I'm told the charting ability in ESPlanner is not able to accomidate and the computing power on a PC can't really deal with that well with what is being down in MaxiFi given time constraints.

ESPLanner will continue to get these annual tax and law change releases as needed going forward for at least 2 or 3 years. It's a concern that some new version of Windows will come out that does not run Visual Basic, which is the software used for the user interface of ESPLanner. Win 10 does fine with it, so perhaps it's safe for awhile, but VB has been on its way out of the Microsoft lineup for years now. It's very likely that soon we will stop selling ESPlanner to new customers and allow renewals only . . . sooner rather than later on that move.

I will try to get an official statement of the above from our engineering team and Kotlikoff.

To your questions:
In MaxiFi we have what we call Alt Scenarios. So you have a Base Profile with all your data etc. Then you can create up to 20 Alt Scenarios and modify variables such as postponing retirement, change SS dates, downsize house, model Roth conversion, etc. and the Comparison Report provides some nice side-by-side comparisons not only in terms of lifetime present value for a whole lifetime balance sheet but for each report you can toggle between the two reports, essentially seeing them side by side. There's more to it than that, but that the idea. You can only have one base plan, one family profile, but the Alt Scenarios provide a nice way to look at what ifs. Much better than ESPlanner.

The user experience is much better in MaxiFI than in ESPlanner.

https://economicsecurityplanning.com/esplanner-maxifi-comparison

I was skeptical when we started down this path, but I never use ESPlanner any more.

Of course I'm good for a 30-day refund if you want to try it--sorry we don't have a demo for household users. I think you'd be sold. And there's a $20 coupon for ESPlanner users.

Sorry for being so quite here on ESPlanner. So much time and energy has gone into MaxiFi.

I hope this helps.

Dan

Dan,

Thanks so much for the quick detailed (and off business hours) reply.

I am glad to hear that ESPP has least a few more years of life left. I understand not adding features. A once per year tax law update should more than suffice for my yearly planning uses.

I will probably renew my license for ESPP this year and give MaxFi a spin in the Fall as I prepare my plans for 2020. It does sound like MaxFi has made good progress.

I have one question regarding the Alt Scenarios. A limit of twenty is way more than enough for my use in modeling options. That assumes that the 20 is a maximum at one time and that new ones can be created as long as you delete old ones so that you never have more than 20 defined at once. Is that a correct assumption for how it works?

Thanks again for the quick update...

John

dan royer's picture

Hi John,

The Alt Scenarios just run one at a time and then compare in a comparison report beside the "base profile." So the limit of 20 is just how many you can store. I use one or two, then delete them because I am no longer interested in the modification I was comparing. I feel 2 or 3 is plenty, but several users asked for more and wanted to store so we raised the cap to 20. To me, more than two or three just becomes clutter. And sometimes I just use a generic one called "dan changes" and one time I experiment with this, and the next time I experiment with that. My plans always hover around the same set of variations at this point, so I don't need more than a few--but, yes, it's just one a time to compare against base profile. It's handy and easier than flipping back and forth between the reports because you see exactly where an efficiency was gained because we introduced a "lifetime balance sheet."

Dan

Dan,

Thanks a bunch. I use ESPP in a manner similar to you. I would probably only ever be playing with up to three alternate scenarios at a time and once I decide on a new path, I would remove the other (failed/unused) plans. In that respect, MaxFi will cover my needs. Looking forward to the full ESPP <==> MaxFi parity later this year.

John

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