Why is asset income savings > asset income?

In my model, asset income savings (in the 'current saving' section of the report) is greater than asset income (in the 'total income' section of the report) by about 10%. Seems counter-intuitive, why is that?


dan royer's picture

I'm a little unclear about the question. When you say "asset income saving in the current saving section do you mean the 2015 suggestions report? Or do you mean the saving column in the Annual Suggestions report?

The amount you should save (or dissave) is not directly related to how much asset income there is. You may, like me, have $0 in regular asset income because the assumed interest rate is equal to the inflation rate (0 real return). But it still has me saving. I can explain that but I wanted to see if that's what you are referring to.

I am referring to the asset income savings in the 'Current Saving' (the third section under Inputs & Assumptions) and the Asset Income column in the 'Total Income' table (the fifth section under Suggestions). I understand that my overall saving can vary based on all inputs, but I'm unclear how my savings from asset income can be greater than the amount of total asset income. For example, if I'm earning $1,000 in regular asset income (from the Total Income table) how can I be saving $1,200 of asset income (from the Current Saving section)?

dan royer's picture

OK. The Current Saving amounts in that Inputs and Assumptions report are numbers you entered in the "current saving" tab there with Assets and Savings. I always leave that particular screen at zeros because I'm not interested in the current year accounting. Indeed, what you put there has no impact on the report (the Annual Suggestions etc. reports). You could put $1,000,000 as your current year net contribution to checking account (again, see the Current Savings tab under Assets and Savings folder) and it would simply reveal that you are saving too much in the 2015 Suggestions report. Honestly, I find this particular current-year report much more trouble than it's worth. Even with that million dollars of "current saving" my Annual Suggestions report didn't change a bit, and it's the Annual Suggestions report that I care about. I don't need to have a chart that reconciles what I'm actually saving this year with what I should be saving. No matter what you put in those Current Savings fields, your Saving or (dissaving) amount in the Annual Suggestions and Regular Assets reports doesn't change since those are the recommended amounts and, for me, that's all I care about--the recommended amounts.

The 2015 Suggestions report attempts to reconcile current-year practice on saving and insurance with the Annual Suggestions report. I don't find that very useful and it just confuses most users.

I hope that clarifies.

Thanks, it clarifies but generates some new questions:
1) In my report the 'Regular Assets Income' in the Total Income table matches the 'Real Asset Income' in the current saving tab (assets multiplied by annual real return) as I'd expect. The 'Asset Income Saving' in current saving is about 110% of that. That's the confusion, of why Asset Income Saving would be more than what is shown in the program itself.
2) The line of thinking on the value of the 2015 suggestions view is very helpful. I have spent most of my time with ESP trying to get the 2015 'Current Amount' values to better match reality because I thought I had entered something incorrectly (the program thinks my 2015 discretionary spending is about ⅓ less than it actually is). Is there any value in trying to close that gap in your opinion?

For #2, I would focus on the annual view instead of current consumption. The annual view shows what your profile can sustain given your inputs. If your current consumption is above the annual level, you can try to improve your results through optimization or various actions than you may consider.

Also, you can adjust your standard of living in the assumptions tab to reflect your current situation. If your future living standard is higher that would reflect living beneath your means to save more for retirement, for example, which could be useful. If your future living standard is lower, that could be okay or you may want to consider adjustments for your specific situation.


dan royer's picture

When you say, " The 'Asset Income Saving' in current saving is about 110% of that" I assume you mean the Saving amount you see in the Regular Assets report and also see in the Annual Suggestions report (the amount in that Saving column is the same in both places). If that's the Saving number you are talking about, that amount is calculated by the program as the recommended saving (or dissaving) amount for each year in order to smooth your discretionary spending in anticipation of all future expenses and receipts. This amount does NOT come out of your discretionary spending. It is simply an amount that the program knows is available to save in that year. Like taxes, you do not take saving or dissaving out of the discretionary spending amount. You could of course spend the recommended Saving amount instead of save it. That would mean, however, that you'd have few regular assets the next year and you'd have a different, lower, discretionary spending amount all the way down.

#2. I think you may be over thinking it a bit. Here's what I do: I do not enter anything in Current Saving tab on the program side (I do see a 0 real return there because my inflation is set to 3% and my nominal return on regular assets is 3%, thus a 0% real return). In other words, to me, entering some amount I might be saving or dissaving there is not helpful. I then run the reports, I never look at the 2015 Suggestions report, and I go right to Annual Suggestions in the report and note how much recommended saving the program has for me. This is what I am concerned about.

I'm looking at a report right now that says I should be saving $41,852. OK. I divide that by 12 and say to myself I need to save a little less than 3,500 per month and if I do so, I will still have the household discretionary spending amount I see on that same page/report.

In a similar fashion, I look at the Discretionary Spending suggestion and note that I have, say, 80,000 to spend each year in today's dollars all the way down. Quick math tells me I thus have 6,666 to spend discretionary each month. I do in fact reconcile this number with my actual spending. I use my online bank statements to generate an annual report of all spending, I remove the housing and other expenses that might appear there that are not to be included in discretionary spending (see total spending report), and I make sure that my monthly spending (not including housing and other off-the-tops I've indicated in the program) does not exceed 6,666 on average for the year. If the taxes are right the saving should also be right.

So two things I do:

1. I set for myself a personal saving target (not something I enter in the program) so that I will have saved the suggested saving amount (or withdraw the suggested dissaving amount) given to me by the program in the Annual Suggestions report.

2. I double check my actual spending to make sure that I'm at or under the discretionary spending number given to me in the Annual Suggestions report.

Make sense?

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