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Highly effective DIY Monetary Planning (+ Video)


ProjectionLab review featured image has the logo and image of a retirement plan graph.

ProjectionLab is a robust monetary planning instrument that empowers do-it-yourselfers to set and monitor monetary objectives and forecast how their wealth will change over a lifetime.  

We are able to use it to experiment with numerous situations and assumptions to assist us decide if we now have sufficient to retire or obtain different monetary milestones. 

This retirement planning calculator is way extra superior than something we may create in Excel. I like to recommend it for being a complete, inexpensive, and intensely versatile instrument.

There’s no extra guessing and no costlier monetary advisors. DIY buyers have entry to planning instruments on par with an advisor’s software program at a fraction of the fee. 

ProjectionLab is a extremely customizable product that may mannequin most situations in individuals’s monetary lives. 

Probably the most comparable product to ProjectionLab is NewRetirement. I wrote a complete NewRetirement overview a few 12 months in the past. I examine the 2 merchandise beneath. 

You’ll be able to mess around with ProjectionLab without spending a dime, however you’ll have to pay to make a significant plan and save your information.

The price is simply $9 or $14 monthly — a discount in comparison with hiring a monetary advisor or spending time constructing inferior spreadsheets.

Use the ProjectionLab coupon code “RBD-10” to save lots of 10%. 

Strive ProjectionLab

ProjectionLab Overview Video

I created a 15-minute video to display ProjectionLab. I’ve used a hypothetical couple, ages 48 and 50, with two college-bound kids. They plan to cease working in 10 years. 

I created this 15-minute video to display ProjectionLab. I’ve used a hypothetical couple, ages 48 and 50, who’ve two college-bound kids. They plan to cease working in 10 years. 

The video gives a high-level ProjectionLab overview to introduce customers to the platform. The easiest way to study the instrument is to get your arms soiled.

How ProjectionLab Works

In the beginning, customers enter their age and monetary account stability data. This contains money, retirement and taxable accounts, and actual property holdings. 

The onboarding course of makes this very simple. When full, the principle Dashboard shows the inputs. 

ProjectionLab dashboard view.

When you’ve manually enter your monetary data, you create a baseline plan to incorporate no matter objectives you want to pursue (e.g., retirement, debt freedom) and decide the probability of attaining these objectives on time, and your probabilities of success. 

You’ll be able to modify inputs (and behaviors) to extend plan viability when you’re not on monitor.

The inputs are the inspiration for the plan. A complete retirement plan is in the end an in depth and customised projection of wealth to your lifetime. 

Strive ProjectionLab

Making a Plan

ProjectionLab analyzes your present monetary scenario utilizing plans and milestones and tasks how your revenue, account balances, and bills will evolve as you age. 

A fundamental plan contains retirement age and finish of life, however you too can add debt freedom, training bills, FIRE, and different milestones. 

ProjectionLab create a plan.


ProjectionLab add milestones image. Custom milestone, financial independence, FIRE, Lean FIRE, FAT FIRE, Coast FIRE, Debt Free, Livable Passive Income, start school, gap year, new job, graduate.

These milestones grow to be markers on the first planning visualization timeline as seen beneath. The timeline exhibits the consumer’s internet value from the present 12 months till finish of life. 

Under is the stacked-by-category view. The colours signify the several types of accounts (e.g., money, debt, actual property, IRA, Roth). 

The aim is to find the money for all through the plan and cash left over if you wish to depart a legacy. 

ProjectionLab review primary "Plan" view. Stacked categories.

You’ll get the small print proven beneath if you hover over the chart.

Close up of hovering over a year to get detailed financial information.

In a single visualization, we are able to estimate how our wealth will evolve given a big set of inputs, milestones, and assumptions. 

Money Stream View

The Plan view is the principle visualization. There’s additionally a Money Stream view that makes use of a Sankey diagram to point out the place spending cash cash comes from and the place it goes. 

Sankey diagrams have grow to be widespread pictures for visualizing company revenues, bills, and income. In addition they work nicely for private funds. 

Because the plan matures, money stream modifications. On this display screen seize, the couple pays for major bills and saves cash with salaried revenue.

Primary cash flow view (Sankey diagram).

After retirement, they depend on withdrawals from numerous accounts. ProjectionLab has an optimized default order by which withdrawals draw down financial savings, however you’ll be able to customise it nonetheless you want. 

The Money Stream view has a mini timeline you’ll be able to drag to a selected age to see the way it tasks money stream to maneuver. The display screen seize beneath exhibits the anticipated money stream view when John is 70.

This plan exhibits revenue from Social Safety, financial savings, and retirement accounts. 

ProjectionLab review secondary cash flow view at age 70. ProjectionLab Sankey diagram.

Tax Analytics View

The sandbox and free utilization of ProjectionLab exclude the Tax Analytics view. 

There are a number of variations of this view. It exhibits the revenue gadgets which can be topic to taxes over the plan’s life, plus tax quantities, marginal charges, and efficient charges.

This couple transitions from salaried revenue taxes to long-term capital positive aspects, taxable distributions, Social Safety, and required minimal distributions (RMD). 

ProjectionLab review: Tax analytics view.

Probability of Success (Monte Carlo)

Probability of Success is the following plan tab that runs a number of hundred situations to find out the probability of a plan’s success primarily based on historic information (sequence of returns).

Each time you modify your plan, you’ll be able to rerun the simulation to replace the probabilities of success. 

My instance exhibits a 78% success price, however by altering the market returns, bond allocation, or retirement date only a bit, I can simply improve the probabilities of success.

If John works for 4 extra years, his plan’s success chances are 100%.

It exhibits how working longer, saving extra, or incomes larger returns can influence long-term outcomes. 

Projection lab Chance of Success view. Monte Carlo simulation outcome.

If you happen to scroll down, you’ll be able to see a desk of the breakdown of the Monte Carlo simulation, which exhibits how the plan would have carried out beginning annually and going again to 1928.

The retirement 12 months issues!

Trials by Start Year view. Historical data.


The final tab I wish to spotlight is settings. ProjectionLab provides you two locations to entry the plan settings. 

ProjectionLab Settings tab.

Subsequent to the plan title is a shortcut bar to shortly entry settings.

There’s additionally a settings drop-down that’s extra complete. It contains:

  • Milestones are what you arrange within the authentic plan.
  • Progress charges are market returns, dividend yield, and inflation.
  • The tax settings may be defaulted or extremely custom-made.
  • Bonds may be custom-made by allocation (inventory to bond), dividend price, and progress price.
  • Draw-down order units a default order or means that you can customise.

The draw-down order considerably impacts the plan due to the assorted tax implications of withdrawing from several types of accounts.

Drag and drop to vary the order. 

ProjectionLab review: Image of the ProjectionLab review draw down order.

ProjectionLab vs. NewRetirement

NewRetirement is an older and extra established software program that caters to DIY buyers, skilled monetary planners, and media web sites. It additionally has institutional partnerships and licenses its software program to monetary companies suppliers. 

Like ProjectionLab, it lets customers enter information and assumptions to map out their funds from in the present day till the tip of life and visualize the outcomes. 

A giant differentiator is that NewRetirement permits customers to import information mechanically. Whereas that is handy when it really works, there may be connectivity points. 

ProjectionLab’s guide enter could also be tedious for somebody with many accounts. However guide inputs are innocent for an off-the-cuff consumer when you don’t have many accounts. 

There’s a new plugin API that enables customers to sync from budgeting instruments like YNAB, and extra are anticipated sooner or later. Knowledge importation is among the many high requested options. 

From a consumer expertise perspective, NewRetirement is a little more linear in the way you progress by organising and modifying a plan. ProjectionLab has a extra open-world really feel and is graphically extra pleasing. 

Youthful customers could really feel at dwelling within the Discord group, the place energy customers share suggestions, and the ProjectionLab crew publicizes updates and accepts suggestions.

NewRetirement steps you thru creating and modifying your plan reasonably methodically, whereas ProjectionLab asks some questions upfront. Then, planners use a freestyle strategy to switch and tweak inputs. The outputs adapt on the fly. 

The linear strategy could enchantment to those that choose a extra structured walkthrough, whereas the extra open-world ProjectionLab is very responsive and should enchantment to a youthful viewers.

NewRetirement example.
NewRetirement has sturdy instruments and is straightforward to navigate.

NewRetirement has extra charts, sturdy insights, and capabilities, which isn’t any shock. The corporate has a big crew of builders and has been constructing the instrument for a decade, whereas ProjectionLab has been a one-person improvement venture for the reason that starting. 

Lastly, the NewRetirement fundamental plan provides extra without spending a dime than ProjectionLab. However to totally expertise the advantages of both instrument, paying is the best way to go. 

Sadly, free instruments just like the once-great Private Capital (now Empower) and Mint have sadly fallen aside over time.

Mint is gone, and Private Capital’s purchaser hasn’t innovated to maintain up with ProjectionLab or NewRetirement. The connectivity is clumsy and irritating (but the gross sales calls don’t stop).

So, I’m much less smitten by Empower than I was. It’s higher to pay for a premium instrument that works nicely than a free legacy instrument that isn’t bettering. 

If you happen to’re severely engaged and even casually concerned with managing your cash and able to transfer past elaborate spreadsheets, strive ProjectionLab and NewRetirement and select essentially the most intuitive and cozy for you.

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ProjectionLab Pricing

ProjectionLab’s fundamental and free model is considerably limiting. You’ll be able to strive many of the performance, however when you sign off, your plan is gone. 

Anybody severe about managing their retirement cash ought to take a look at the Premium plan. It’s $9 monthly when you pay yearly ($108 + tax) or $14 monthly. 

Use the ProjectionLab coupon code “RBD-10” to save lots of 10%. 

ProjectionLab Overview: Conclusion

Total, ProjectionLab is a superb monetary planning instrument focused at people and do-it-yourselfers. It’s much more customizable than any spreadsheet you might dream of, and able to use out of the field. 

It takes a little bit of getting used to. However the extra time you spend within the instrument, the extra you’ll worth its capabilities as your replace your plan. 

ProjectionLab doesn’t have as many options as NewRetirement but, however its builders are in shut contact with its consumer base and may prioritize essentially the most requested options and performance. In time, I anticipate ProjectionLab may have all of the bells and whistles which can be helpful for customers with out undesirable options that muddle the consumer expertise. 

Many people have relied on free internet value trackers and elaborate spreadsheets to research our cash and attempt to forecast our monetary futures.

It’s time to maneuver on. Paid instruments are moderately priced and exceedingly able to offering DIY monetary lovers with vital data for planning their futures.

Strive ProjectionLab and see if it’s best for you and your monetary plans. 

Strive ProjectionLab

ProjectionLab Overview

  • Ease of Use – 8.5/10
  • Options – 8/10
  • Value – 9/10
  • Worth – 9.5/10
  • Cellular Expertise – 10/10
  • Transparency – 10/10


ProjectionLab Abstract

ProjectionLab has a comparatively steep studying curve when getting used to the platform. However when you get the cling of it, the instrument is intuitive for constructing and modifying new plans. The product was developed in public with open transparency, and there’s an lively consumer group on Discord the place customers can ask questions and recommend enhancements. At $9 per cash (paid yearly, it’s a small value for huge profit. These searching for freebies ought to look elsewhere. The instrument provides particular person insights just like what a monetary planner can provide at a fraction of the fee. Customers severe about managing their personal retirement ought to not achieve this with out this instrument or comparable. Lastly, this contemporary platform is constructed on a contemporary expertise stack. Customers can transfer between desktop and cell with none utilization degradation. 


  • Fashionable consumer interface
  • Highly effective flexibility to construct and modify plans
  • Glorious cell expertise


  • No monetary account connectivity for automated updates
  • Restricted free utilization

Disclosure: RBD is an affiliate accomplice with ProjectionLab. RBD could obtain a fee for readers who join ProjectionLab and pay to make use of it. RBD content material is free. Partnerships like this one assist to assist this web site. RBD solely critiques services which can be really helpful. The opinions expressed on this ProjectionLab overview are solely of the creator. 



Favourite instruments and funding companies proper now:

Positive Dividend — A dependable inventory publication for DIY retirement buyers. (overview)

Fundrise — Easy actual property and enterprise capital investing for as little as $10. (overview)

NewRetirement — Spreadsheets are inadequate. Get severe about planning for retirement. (overview)

M1 Finance — A high on-line dealer for long-term buyers and dividend reinvestment. (overview)


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