ESPlanner going forward
New sales of ESPlanner will discontinue in 2020
Although maintenance releases for existing users and renewals will continue for another couple of years, giving existing users the time to transition to MaxiFi Planner, new purchases were stopped early in 2020. If you are a new user, you are strongly encouraged to move now to MaxiFi Planner, our web-based version of ESPlanner. It has feature parity now and many advantages over ESPlanner, the download version.
What is the relationship of ESPlanner to MaxiFi Planner?
Both of these products are full-scale financial planning programs. ESPlanner was developed in the late 1990s and designed to run on a PC running Windows operating system. The user interface (UI) for ESPlanner is built using Microsoft's Visual Basic. Our company, Economic Security Planning, Inc., began developing MaxiFi Planner Standard as a web-based replacement in 2017 and selling a basic version of the program. Living Standard Monte Carlo was added and MaxiFi Planner Premium was introduced in December 2018. Full feature parity with ESPlanner was achieved in 2019. MaxiFi Planner, as a web-based application, is not Windows based, and the user interface takes advantage of modern web-based technologies. Under the hood, both programs rely on the same computation engine, so that if one were to create the same profile in ESPlanner and MaxiFi Planner, one would get the same results.
What's in the future for ESPlanner?
After MaxiFi reaches feature parity with ESPlanner (achieved in 2019), we will stop promoting ESPlanner and we discontinued *new* sales of ESPlanner in 2020. Renewal sales will continue. We commit to perform a maintenance release of ESPlanner in 2021 with updated rates and tax code, and we intend to perform maintenance releases with updated rates and tax code each year through 2022. These maintenance releases (update the CE with latest return/inflation rates and tax updates along with possibly critical bug fixes) will depend on Visual Basic's compatibility with ESPlanner's user interface. Microsoft stopped supporting Visual Basic in 2008, though it has continued to work through the current version of Windows 10. At some point, when we decide that producing updates for ESPlanner are becoming too burdensome, we will make one last yearly update and notify users that it is the last update.
Why switch to MaxiFi Planner?
MaxiFi is not just a web-based version of ESPlanner. Both MaxiFi Planner Standard and Premium offer more. With the new web-based MaxiFi, users experience a modern program interface which makes the experience of entering data much more intuitive and pleasant. But both MaxiFi Standard and MaxiFi Premium do something very important that ESPlanner, ESPlannerPLUS, and ESPlannerPRO don't do. They all maximize household lifetime spending by optimizing over Social Security claiming strategies, retirement account withdraw dates, the decision of whether to take Roth retirement money before or after non-Roth retirement money, and the decision of whether to annuitize one's retirement benefits.
MaxiFi offers the following features not found in ESPlanner:
- Builds a Base Plan and a Maximized Plan to find more money
- Maximizes Social Security––a tool determines what benefits to take and when to maximize your lifetime benefits
- Optimizes retirement account withdrawal start dates to lower your lifetime taxes
- Optimizes the the timing of Roth versus Non-Roth accounts to lower your lifetime taxes (i.e. all of Roth money before or after all of non-Roth money)
- Optimizes when to annuitize retirement account withdrawals to raise lifetime payouts
- Optimizes to show gains from additional retirement account contributions
- New detailed reports
- Year-at-a-Glance (see detailed balance sheet of income and expenses and saving for any year that you select).
- Lifetime balance sheet (makes macro-comparison of side-by-side plans easier, quicker, and more productive)
- New budgeting tool: Progress Tracker
- NOW includes Living Standard Monte Carlo! (includes improvements over the ESPLanner Monte Carlo. How it Works)
- MaxiFi Planner is under active development and in addition to these features, new features will be added that will benefit both household and professional users of the program.
Concerns and Responses
Is my data safe on the web?
When processing your order, we don't store your credit card information, and in using the program you are not asked for any account numbers, Social Security number, or any other personally identifiable information -- you don't even need to enter names. That said, we take security very seriously and take all available precautions to keep our servers as safe as possible. You can learn more here about your data security.
I don't want to reenter my data
There is no export from ESPlanner and import into MaxiFi Planner, but the user interface at MaxiFi is quick to use and easy to navigate. Most users can enter all of their data in under an hour.