Suggestions: Main Reports
ESPlanner’s reports are divided into two types: Main Reports and Survivor Reports. The Main Reports assume that you and your spouse/partner (if you are married) live to the maximum ages of life you specify in the Personal Data Folder. The Survivor Reports are provided for married couples only. They show reports for the wife (husband) as a survivor conditional on a pre-specified hypothetical age of death for the husband (wife). When you first click Create Reports, ESPlanner takes these assumed ages of death for survivors to be your and your spouse/partner’s current ages. You can change these hypothetical ages on the create report screens. All amounts in ESPlanner reports are in today’s dollars.
Main reports are described in more detail below in the order that they appear when generating a new report set. But of course these reports can be viewed in any order, and some reports are typically of primary concern and others are of secondary concern.
Most users will find the Annual Recommendation report with its column listing annual “consumption" or "discretionary spending" and related “living standard” to be of primary interest in comparing the results of different data scenarios and assumptions. If you change when you decide to take Social Security, for example, the first thing you’ll probably want to look at is how it changes your discretionary standard through time (i.e., down the discretionary spending column in the Annual Recommendation). The Discretionary Spending column in the Annual Recommendation report is, in other words, one of the “bottom line” results that ESPlanner calculates for you. The "Per-Adult Living Standard" column on the far right in this report is the per-adult household equivalent reflecting the (default) assumption that two can live as cheaply as 1.6.
New users may find it particularly helpful to get a bird’s eye view of the reports (and understand their interrelatedness) by viewing the Main Reports tabs in this order:
- Look at the Total Income tab to see the sources for this important budgetary starting point.
- Look at Total Spending tab to see how that total income is spent, in particular how much of it is off the top and how much of it remains as “consumption.”
- Look at Regular Assets to see how your Total Income breaks down in terms of spending, taxes, saving, and assets—a very useful snapshot. And finally,
- Look at the Annual Recommendations tab to see your consumption and related living standard as the “bottom line” of all your income and expenses.
The Details section of the report will reveal a more thorough breakdown of the amounts that comprise these general numbers.