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Income is money that you earn. The total amount is your gross pay, before taxes, 401(k)s, and bills. The tax-deferred amount represents your 401(k) and other deducible contributions, and the annual raise represents your expected annual raise after inflation. Don't include cost of living increases here.
Expenses are things you pay for each year. Add things like bills, property tax, gifts, and entertainment here.
Debts are things with a fixed monthly payment, such as mortgages and car loans. When entering your monthly payments, only include the principal and interest that you pay each month; things like property tax, mortgage insurance, and homeowner's insurance belong on the expenses tab.
Your investments determine your risk and reward. On this tab, you can select investment risk and return for various points in your plan. Keep in mind that these numbers do not include inflation.
Default Investment Profile
Rules are logical tests for your retirement simulation. A rule is either True or False, depending on the values that are fed into it. Imagine a salary that you've added on the income tab. For each year of the simulation, your rule is tested. If the rule is True, that salary is added to that year's annual income. If False, that salary is skipped and reexamined the following year.
When writing rules, you have access to a set of information about the present state of the simulation. Things like retirement status, years in retirement, age, year number, savings, debts, and income are all available for your use to create any rule you can think of.
1. Income while not retired
Goal: Create a rule that is True after you're retired and False before you are.
IsRetired = true
This rule tests the equality of the
IsRetired variable with
If they are equal, then the rule is
True. If not, the rule is
2. Social Security Income
Goal: Create a rule that is True if we can claim Social Security benefits, but is false otherwise.
Age >= 62
This rule is true when
Age is greater than or equal to 62.
3. Reduce Expenses During Bad Years
Goal: Allow your simulation to react to bad years in the stock market by eliminating luxury expenses in those years.
MarketReturn >= -3%
To use this rule effectively, you would need to create two different expenses: necessities and luxuries. Necessities would always be spent, while luxuries would only be spent during years that this rule allows.
4. Do Some Work During Retirement
Goal: Create a rule that has you working part time for the first 10 years of retirement, or until age 55, which ever comes first.
And(YearsRetired < 10, Age < 55)
This rule is True so long as both
YearsRetired is less than 10, and
Age is smaller than 55.
5. Don't Overcontribute To Your 401(k)
Goal: Stop making 401(k) contributions once its value when you are 60 will be more than $1,000,000.
RetirementSavings * (104%) ^ (60 - Age) < 1000000
The idea here is to assume that each year between
Age and 60, your retirement savings will
grow by 4%, so the growith is 104% raised to the power of 60 - Age.
RetirementSavings * (104%) ^ (60 - Age) represents your estimated retirement savings
when you are 60, assuming you never contribute another dime. If that is larger than $1,000,000, then the rule
|AccessibleSavings||Number||The amount of savings that are availabe to spend in the current year. This can include retirement savings when the withdrawal age is passed.|
|Age||Number||Your age in the current year.|
|DebtBalance||Number||The remaining amount of money owed on all debts.|
|DebtPayments||Number||The amount of money to be spent on debt payments in the previous year. Includes principal and interest.|
|Expenses||Number||The expenses for the previous year. Does not include debt payments.|
|IsRetired||True/False||Whether or not you are retired.|
|MarketReturn||Number||The stock market return in the previous year expressed as a decimal. 3% = .03, 15% = .15, etc.|
|RetirementSavings||Number||The amount of savings in retirement accounts in the previous year.|
|RetirementWithdrawalAge||Number||The minimum age at which withdrawals can be taken from retirement accounts. This is specified on the 'Vitals' tab.|
|TaxableSavings||Number||The amount of savings in non-retirement accounts.|
|YearsRetired||Number||The number of years that you have been retired for. 0 indicates that you are not retired.|
||Adds two numbers together.|
||Subtracts b from a.|
||The negative of a.|
||The opposite of a boolean. !True = False, and !False = True.|
||Divides the given number by 100. Simply a shorthand for
||Multiplies a and b.|
||Divides b into a.|
||Raises a to the b power.|
||True if a is less than b.|
||True if a is less than or equal to b.|
||True if a is greater than b.|
||True if a is greater than or equal to b.|
||True if a equals b.|
||True if a is not equal to b.|
||The absolute value of a.|
||True if all internal rules are True.|
||True if one internal rule is True.|
Rules can be used to add lots of power and flexibility to the simulation, but can be confusing if you have no programming knowledge or have never used spreadsheet formulas.
Rules let you make your financial plan dynamic. They serve as a lightswitch for other elements of your plan. Incomes, expenses, and investments can all have rules applied to them, so they turn on and off depending on what the rule says.
WhenCanIQuit simulates your financial situation through a number of years. At each step in the simulation, WhenCanIQuit looks through your rules and decides if they should be "on" or "off" for that particular year, based on the state of the simulation to that point. When a rule is turned off, all items associated with it also turn off.
Creating rules is easy. You have access to a set of variables (such as "Age"), and WhenCanIQuit plugs in the real values as the simulation progresses.
Years to retirement
Ending portfolio value
|Year||Age||Income||Retirement Contributions||Expenses||Debt Payments||Market Return||Taxable Savings||Retirement Savings||Debt Balance|
|Year||Age||Income||Retirement Income||Expenses||Debt Payments||Market Return||Taxable Savings||Retirement Savings||Debt Balance|
Why is WhenCanIQuit different than other financial tools?
WhenCanIQuit is a calculator that aims to tell you at what age you'll be able to retire and live off of your investments. The calculator uses a technique known as Monte Carlo simulation to simulate the returns of the stock market to predict when you will be able to retire safely.
This stands in contrast to most retirement planning tools; they exist mainly to consider your income, expenses, and desired retirement age and give you an estimate of retirement success. WhenCanIQuit can do what those tools do, as well as solve the equation the other way by telling you when you'll be able to retire given your income, expenses, and risk tolerance.
Is inflation considered?
Inflation is not condsidered in any of the calculations, so all numbers you see are in today's dollars. This has a couple of implications:
- If you get annual cost of living adjustment raises at work, these are inflationary adjustments and not true raises. Don't include them or they may artifically inflate your results.
- Debts have to be deflated. In the real world, your debt payments remain the same from year to year, despite those dollars being worth less and less as time goes on. Since inflation is not included in the calculations, all debts that you enter are deflated at a rate of 3% per year to acheive the same effect.
- Incomes are assumed to have cost of living adjustments (COLA) built in. A 'No COLA' option is provided, which decreases the amount by 3% per year.
How accurate is it?
No one can predict the future. WhenCanIQuit approaches the problem from the perspective of trying every possible combination so you have a idea of what the possibilities are. WhenCanIQuit will generally be as accurate as your assumptions are, but please keep in mind all numbers should be considered ballpark estimates only. WhenCanIQuit is not terribly tax-aware (income tax being the exception), nor is it aware of the differences between pre and post tax retirement accounts.
Why does WhenCanIQuit give me different results than FIRECalc and other calculators?
This is intentional. The other calculators are modeled on historical stock market conditions. FireCalc, for instance, uses your data and runs it through year by year historical stock market returns.
WhenCanIQuit uses historical stock market returns in the form of an average and a standard deviation (volatility). For each year of the simulation, WhenCanIQuit picks a random stock market return along the bell curve that is defined by your average and standard deviation. Since WhenCanIQuit is a random simulation, you'll see market conditions that haven't existed historically; some good, some bad. As a result, WhenCanIQuit can be pessimistic when compared to other calculators. Instead of filtering out these extreme results, we chose to include them so that you have an idea about the range of possibilities.
Warning: MathTo pick the stock market return, we pick a random number P between 0 and 1. We then solve the Cumulative Distribution Function for the stock market return R such that CDF(R) = P.
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