ESPlanner Going Forward

I wrote up this summary about ESPlanner going forward and thought I'd share it here for those interested.



Thanks for the write-up, Dan. It was informative. Some questions popped up after reading it...

1) What needs to be added to Maxifi between now and when Full feature parity with ESPlanner is achieved? In other words what is in ESPlanner that is not yet in Maxifi?

2) Since Maxifi is web based, I assume the Computation Engine runs on your servers instead of our PC, right? If yes, would there be an option to run the CE on our PC (e.g, via an option to tell the UI where CE is running and a way to enable/disable it on our PC)? Reasons might be that your servers are running slow for some reason, or they are down, or whatever. Not saying you don't do a good job with them, but just checking if there would be the option to run on our PC.

3) Would be nice if I could initially use both programs for a some period of time to do my own comparisons before purchasing Maxifi. Will there be a trial version available? (Didn't notice if there is a trial version on web site, but may have overlooked it).

4) I while back I asked if there would be a discount for ESPlanner users to purchase Maxifi. You said there would be (forgot the amount). How do I get the discount applied when I purchase Maxifi?



dan royer's picture

Sure, so here's the current comparison list. It looks like there's three things left to add there at the bottom:

I'll ask the engineer to comment on running the CE locally. I suspect that it's out of the question in that what we are doing on these fancy servers using some advanced technology in the MOnte Carlo analysis was taking 12 hour or perhaps it was several days to run on a PC, but less than a minute or two on these servers. I know that's hard to believe. I don't think I'm exaggerating though.

Yes, we'll be incentivizing with coupons pretty much constantly I think. right now when you go to renew you see a coupon in a system message. ESPMAX1 gets $20 off Premium or Standard. We're having some discussion about this internally in the weeks ahead.

I don't think, however, that we'll allow trial use, though I'm always good for a 30 day refund (which I understand it not the same).

I was just heading out the door, so pardon my sentences above . . but I'll see and respond to your reply if I didn't cover everything.


You covered the questions. Thanks. 12 hour runtime reduced to 1 minute. Wow you must have some super powerful servers ... or you were running on a super slow PC (or both).

dan royer's picture

And that's only with the Monte Carlo.

dan royer's picture

Yes, something about "serverless computing" and "lamda"

Here's a link from Amazon Web Services that introduces the computing concepts:

Running this code on the desktop is an obsolete solution. Glad to see Maxifi solution!

dan royer's picture

I asked our engineers and they said:

For each MC run there are 300 instances of the CE (each running 5 trajectories for the three strategies: base, safe, risky). so to run locally would take about 300 times as long

And yes, Lamda on AWS.

Kind of interesting. :)

dan royer's picture

that's just for the MC. A non-MC run is just one run.


I was reading thru the FAQ on the Maxifi site and came across the following sentence in the question on whether to switch to Maxifi from ESPlanner.

"If these differences seem like an advantage to you and you don't need the real estate, estate planning, vacation home or other not-yet supported features then you will probably want to move over to MaxiFi Planner".

The above sentence implies that real estate, estate planning, and vacation home features are not in Maxifi but when I look at the comparison chart it shows that vacation home and real estate are in both programs. So this is contradictory to the FAQ. The comparison chart does not mention Estate Planning.

Can you clarify if Estate Planning, Real Estate, and Vacation Home are supported yet in Maxifi?



dan royer's picture

Yikes! I need to fix that. Thanks. Real estate up to 5 properties just like ESPlanner is in MaxiFi. We'll add more properties by mid year. Vacation home is already in MaxiFi too. MaxiFi has the Estate and bequest fields, but not the Estate reports or the contingent planning yet.


How often is our data on the Maxifi server backed up?

dan royer's picture

It is essentially always backed up; there is a shadow server running in a different zone at all times. Back ups are automated so we can restore to any point in time within the last 30 days. We also do offsite backups each week.

I just got an email offering 20% off for my annual subscription to MaxiFi. I must say I'm pretty shocked the price with the discount is $109. I'm pretty sure that when I originally purchased ESPlus in early 2013 it was $199 with an annual renewal of $50. It's still $199 ,but the annual update soon went to $70. I skipped the ESPlus update last year in lieu of purchasing MaxiFi, but I can't justify 55% more for essentially the same product. Truth be known I prefer ESPlus to the MaxiFi experience.

In light of this, I'll be purchasing an annual update to ESPlus just after the new year tax update comes out so I get the next two years updates. Please let me know if there a price increase in the works so I don't just forget ESP and go with OnTrajectory at $50/year. This would be sad as I believe ESP is the best planner out there, and I've tried them all. However, it's just gotten too expensive at these rates.

dan royer's picture

That 20% off you saw of MaxiFi is for new orders only. MaxiFi Premium (the ESPlanner Plus equivalent) is $139 list price (which is cheaper than ESPlanner Plus at $199). ESPlanner renews at $70 and MaxiFi Premium renews at $99.

Yes, the renewal price on ESPlanner went up from $50 to $70 maybe 7 years ago?

Although the underlying computation engine is the same in both programs, the user interface in MaxiFi is far superior, as is the user experience for most people.

I can't promise there is not a price increase in the works for ESPlanner. Historically it's been extremely slow to increase prices, but it could increase. The "competition" for MaxiFi/ESPlanner is, for example, MoneyGuidePRO, for $900 and up. And it has a much weaker Monte Carlo (redesigned and much improved over ESPlanner) and of course it doesn't do consumption smoothing etc.

I hope that ESPlanner's desktop-based software gets an announced Sunset date soon, so the team's efforts can be further used on MaxiFi. ESPlanner was great in its time, but the world has moved on from old-code desktop software. With the exception of not being able to override the current year and use a future start year (particularly when mid to late year) as in ESPlanner, MaxiFi is far superior.

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