MaxiFi - Roth Conversion

Hi Dan,
I am trying to convert a consistent sum (e.g., $70k) to a Roth for each of the next 6 years (2020 through 2025). When looking at the compare tab results, the current (non-Roth) plan has a higher discretionary spending amount (by about $25k per year). I'm doing the conversion for just my R/O IRA, not my wife's. When I look at the IRA balances for my (including Roth) IRA there is a significant amount ($600k plus) left at the end of life. In my wife's (not converted to Roth), the balance approaches zero as I would expect with smoothing. Both IRA assumptions are set to smooth withdrawals starting in 2 years and going to end of life.

The lower lifetime discretionary spending amount would suggest it's a loser to do the Roth conversion. I'm wondering, though, how I can get the Roth plan to spend the excess remaining at death smoothly over the entire life of the plan. This may raise the discretionary spending of the Roth conversion plan to not be a losing proposition. Any thoughts on what other parameters to tweek to get the smoothing done on the Roth plan?


dan royer's picture

It sounds like in your account you have settings set to indicate you want to spend 0% (or something less than 100%) of your non-annuitized retirement assets. Since Roth is not subject to RMD, it doesn't spend those assets and thus you are comparing a model where you spend everything with a model where you don't spend a significant portion.

I hope that helps.


Thanks for responding so quickly. It makes sense, but when I checked the assumptions for my IRA in the Roth Conversion plan, Percent of Non-annuitized Assets to Spend is set at 100%. Any other thoughts?


dan royer's picture

If there's a 600K balance left, then all the money is not being spent. I'd double check that setting. Each spouse has his or her own setting for that one.

Otherwise, I'd have to see the database which you could upload to a support ticket here.

Oh, wait, are you really using an ESPlanner download from 2016-17? If so, all bets are off really. There could be a bug or who knows. Taxes are all off, SS rules have changed, TCJA of 2017 changes taxes, etc.

I'm discouraging new purchases of ESPlanner since it's being phased out. You should move your account over to MaxiFi and go from there. It will also be a lot easier to help you there.


No, I'm using MaxiFi. I don't believe I have a database to send. Do you have access at your end?

dan royer's picture

You are using MaxiFi? Ha, OK> We are now in the ESPlanner forum. Note that there is a MaxiFi Support ticket system--so let's use that in the future.

I can go take a look at your account now and I'll create a ticket for you over there and respond.

Very good.


Is there not a forum support in MaxiFi? This would be great so we could learn from others issues and experiences. It's one of the things I've missed over the past year since switching over to MaxiFi. Honestly, trying to decide if I prefer to switch back to ESP before my subscription runs out. I also miss the survivor reports that are available in ESP and don't appear to be in MaxiFi.

dan royer's picture

The survivor reports are in MaxiFi as well.

We are investigating the use of a forum in MaxiFi bundled along with a new support ticket setup.

I would urge you to move over to MaxiFi.


Dan, you mention that survivor reports are in MaxiFi, but I too can't find them. Please let me know how to access them. I struggle with renewing my MaxiFi subscription or go back to ESP, sticking with MaxiFi for now, but honestly do miss the simplicity and quickness of creating reports in ESP.

dan royer's picture

I had to double check, but I see that only the Premium version of MaxiFi contains contingency planning and survivor reports. I can't recall, but that may be true of ESPlanner regular vs Plus as well. Anyway, survivor reports on are in MaxiFi Premium.

I guess everyone's experience can be different, but I disagree about the quickness, ease, and simplicity of creating reports. I find MaxiFi 100% better in all those categories. I mean the big thing is that to run a simple comparison report in ESPlanner--say you want to see the impact of Roth conversion, downsizing a home, adding some special expense or receipt, mortgage payoff (which is much improved in MaxiFi) or changing a retirement date, etc.--in ESPlanner you have to create and save a PDF or write out notes, or you can clone the family profile and then pull up two PDFs side by side and try to toggle between the two, etc. But in MaxiFi you quickly run a comparison report (not available in ESPlanner) and in seconds you have a report designed to compare discretionary spending levels and, indeed, any set of data from DS to taxes, to retirement accounts, housing etc. It's so much better. And the Monte Carlo is rebuilt and improved, and I could go on and on. I was a bit skeptical when we first moved this direction because I had been using ESPlanner 6 or 8 years or more? when we created MaxiFi. I really do not want to use ESPlanner any more. :) But I do understand that a lot of technology and "ease of use" is what you get used to! So I hear ya.

I hope you stick with MaxiFI and just upgrade to Premium when you do your renewal.



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