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PlannerPlus Retirement Calculator Evaluation – Can I Retire But?


If you happen to’ve been studying Can I Retire But? so long as I’ve, you realize there’s been no scarcity of protection on retirement calculators.

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Lifetime Income and Expenses

Whereas doing analysis for this put up, I dug up 22 such articles revealed on the location since 2012. Amongst them, no fewer than 82 distinct retirement calculators are talked about. Of those, 20 had been vetted and reviewed totally by Chris and Darrow (one among them was birthed by none apart from Darrow himself!).

In as we speak’s put up, I’ll assessment NewRetirement’s PlannerPlus retirement calculator. I’ll evaluate its options to these of Constancy’s Investments’ Retirement Evaluation instrument (don’t fear for those who don’t have an account at Constancy–I take advantage of it right here solely as a foundation for comparability).

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To remain true to the rigor Chris and Darrow have dropped at this matter up to now, I’ll take a deep dive into each instruments, striving to match parameters and assumptions in such a manner as to yield an apples-to-apples comparability.


I first realized about NewRetirement in a assessment Chris revealed proper right here again in November 2020. Intrigued by his favorable protection, and studying that NewRetirement supplied a free tier–what they name merely the Primary version–I made a decision to present it a attempt.

Constancy’s on-line Retirement Evaluation instrument had been my go-to retirement calculator as much as that time. I used to be fairly happy with its options, and had no intention of buying and selling it in for one more. All the identical, the prospect of making an attempt out a brand new calculator, and evaluating its outcomes to Constancy, appeared like a great way to cross-check my assumptions.

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I used to be sufficiently impressed with NewRetirement’s Primary version to tug the set off on PlannerPlus, a paid improve requiring a subscription. The associated fee was $72/yr, billed yearly, and it got here with a no-nonsense cancellation coverage (frugal shopper that I’m, buying yet one more subscription was no small feat).

I used PlannerPlus fairly extensively that first yr. However because the renewal date approached, I made a decision to cancel my subscription. Why pay for a service I used to be getting elsewhere totally free?

True to their phrase, NewRetirement canceled my subscription with nary a fuss, kindly requesting solely that I inform them why. Here’s what I wrote:

Thanks on your quick response, and above all for the hassle-free cancellation…the underside line is that my retirement accounts are with Constancy, who supply an excellent retirement calculator freed from cost. It doesn’t make sense for me to pay for duplication…

NewRetirement Redux

Three years on, I’ve simply taken the most recent iteration of PlannerPlus for a take a look at drive. To say it has come a great distance since my first expertise can be an understatement.

I’m tremendous impressed with its options and capabilities, and might now say unequivocally that it’s  superior to Constancy’s Retirement Evaluation instrument. I clarify why within the paragraphs that comply with.

Primary Version

Preliminary Setup

NewRetirement is centered round a wizard-style consumer interface that makes coming into your data a breeze. It ought to take you not more than 5 or 10 minutes to finish the preliminary setup.

The exhausting half can be gathering your private data; stuff you may not know off the highest of your head, like account balances, bills and anticipated social safety advantages.

You’ll begin along with your account balances. The instrument options an possibility to connect with your exterior accounts, thereby maintaining the quantities within the instrument synchronized with these accounts (I favor to enter this data manually).

You’ll additionally have to enter an estimate of your month-to-month bills. If you happen to haven’t a clue what you spend, you can begin with a tough guess. Then come again later to replace it when you might have a extra correct quantity.

You’ll even be requested to provide the social safety profit you count on to obtain at your full retirement age (for those who don’t know this quantity, it’s most likely excessive time you discover out). If you happen to’re gathering social safety already, this half must be simple.

For the needs of this assessment, I arrange a hypothetical portfolio consisting of liquid property totaling $1.5M, unfold over a wide range of taxable and tax-advantaged accounts. I additionally embody a $500K residence fairness element to spherical out the online price at $2M. Lastly, I plugged in my very own bills and social safety estimates.

Plan Wellness

By the point you full your first tour of the wizard, you’ll have a fairly good image of your monetary outlook.

NewRetirement Plan Wellness average
Plan Wellness (common assumptions)

The Plan Wellness chart kinds the centerpiece of your individualized plan. Primarily based in your inputs, it forecasts your financial savings every year over the course of your anticipated lifetime. It additionally forecasts your general likelihood of success, the place success is outlined as not outliving your financial savings.

NewRetirement makes use of Monte Carlo evaluation, randomly various asset returns and inflation over many lots of of hypothetical trials, to challenge seemingly outcomes within the Plan Wellness chart.

The highest, mild inexperienced line is a straightforward, linear projection of your lifetime financial savings based mostly in your market return and inflation assumptions: optimistic, pessimistic or common.

The decrease, darkish inexperienced line represents the ninetieth percentile of Monte Carlo trials based mostly in your return and inflation assumptions. Which means 90% of the trials projected outcomes that got here in at or above this line. Conversely, 10% of the trials projected outcomes beneath this line.

Be aware that figures right here and all through the instrument are expressed in future, or inflation-adjusted, {dollars}.

NewRetirement Lifetime Income Projection
Lifetime Revenue Projection

NewRetirement options dozens of insightful charts. Lots of them, just like the Lifetime Revenue Projection chart above, keep seen always on the right-hand facet of your display screen, and replace in real-time to replicate any change you make to your plan.

NewRetirement Plan Updated popup
Plan Up to date popup

One among my favourite options is the Plan Up to date popup, which seems any time I alter an enter or assumption. This offers me immediate suggestions on the impression of that change to my plan.

The popup above displays a change in technique for extra revenue over the course of my lifetime. Right here it exhibits me the impression of redirecting that revenue from a non-interest-bearing checking account to a brokerage account, by which the cash can be invested within the markets.

Opinionated Defaults

NewRetirement Primary comes out of the field with default, opinionated assumptions. These are for unknowns such because the magnitude and variability of market returns, inflation, social safety price of dwelling changes, tax charges, and so on.

That the assumptions are opinionated just isn’t a foul factor. Quite the opposite, NewRetirment’s assumptions are well-informed. However with out default assumptions, NewRetirement wouldn’t be capable to ship the easy-to-use, streamlined consumer expertise that it does.

Market Returns

NewRetirement’s assumptions are conservative. For instance, it forecasts market returns starting from 2% to five% for its pessimistic and optimistic extremes, respectively. It features a center return that’s an arithmetic common of the 2.

You provide the instrument with a set of recognized portions–your age, revenue, account balances, bills and the like–and it spits out a believable forecast of your monetary future knowledgeable by these assumptions.

NewRetirement Primary is, by design, simple to make use of. It doesn’t overwhelm you with a baffling array of knobs and dials, every of whose features you will need to decipher and fine-tune manually.


If you happen to’re like me, nonetheless, you want to show knobs and dials. You need to check out your personal assumptions; to ask what-if inquiries to see how nicely your nest egg may face up to totally different eventualities.

NewRetirement satisfies the wants of the timid and adventurous alike. In case you are within the former camp, the Primary version ought to greater than match the invoice. However in case you are within the latter, PlannerPlus offers you full management over the knobs and dials.

Portfolio Return Assumptions

Armed with the superior function set of PlannerPlus, the very first thing I modified was the return assumptions on my hypothetical accounts. The default extremes–2% and 5%–are too conservative, in my view, significantly for my growth-oriented portfolio allocations.

To reach at extra reasonable extremes, I ran a Monte Carlo evaluation on every of my accounts utilizing a powerful (and free!) on-line instrument referred to as PortfolioVisualizer.

Here’s a desk that summarizes the outcomes of that evaluation.

Monte Carlo analysis
Monte Carlo evaluation

The Monte Carlo percentiles characterize returns over a 40-year time interval, which maps fairly intently to how for much longer I count on to stay (God keen).

I used the tenth percentile of outcomes for my pessimistic portfolio return assumptions, and the fiftieth percentile for my optimistic return assumptions. PlannerPlus takes the center of those extremes to supply a 3rd, common forecast.

Digging Deeper

To know the values within the desk above, let’s zero in on simply the Roth IRA. Plugging within the allocation percentages for every asset class, PortfolioVisualizer ran 10,000 hypothetical trials, randomly various annual returns in every trial based mostly on the historic imply and volatility of the asset class.

The tenth percentile (pessimistic) represents the ten% of the ten,000 trials for which the return was 4.85% or decrease. The fiftieth percentile (optimistic) represents the 50% of trials for which the return was 6.61% or decrease.

I entered these values into the information entry display screen for my Roth IRA in PlannerPlus.

Roth IRA
Roth IRA

Be aware the speed of return on my Roth IRA within the graphic beneath–it’s 5.73%. That is the arithmetic common of the optimistic and pessimistic assumptions I entered above.

Roth IRA
Roth IRA

This fee of return displays my present choice for Inflation and Returns within the Assumptions management panel of PlannerPlus.

NewRetirement Assumptions
NewRetirement Assumptions

Now, with the press of a single button, I can view the impression to my monetary forecast of making use of optimistic, common or pessimistic market return assumptions.

Constancy’s Return Assumptions

How does Constancy’s Retirement Evaluation instrument deal with anticipated portfolio returns? I’m not completely certain. The closest I may come to answering that query got here from perusing documentation it publishes right here and right here. Neither doc solutions the query straight.

I think Constancy’s methodology is much like NewRetirement’s, or is at the least based mostly on sound assumptions. However I can’t make sure.

Regardless, I desire a instrument to present me the choice to provide my very own assumptions. NewRetirement’s PlannerPlus offers me that freedom, whereas Constancy’s Retirement Evaluation instrument doesn’t.

Expense Estimates

PlannerPlus handles bills like every other parameter. There’s the short and soiled Primary Budgeter that has you enter a single month-to-month quantity. Then there’s the extra nuanced Detailed Budgeter that lets you itemize your bills. The latter extra intently resembles the way in which I take advantage of Constancy’s expense budgeter.

Constancy’s Retirement Evaluation instrument lets you break down bills by class, and to separate every class into both important or discretionary expense buckets.

PlannerPlus permits you to break up particular person expense classes into must-spend and like-to-spend elements. This offers you finer-grained management over what falls into the important and discretionary buckets.

PlannerPlus goes a step additional. It offers you a one-click toggle between your must-spend and like-to-spend budgets, so you’ll be able to see at a look the distinction in impression belt-tightening (or loosening) will make to your monetary forecast.

NewRetirement Budget scenarios
Funds eventualities

If nothing else, utilizing the Detailed Budgeter forces you to take a detailed have a look at your bills, which in and of itself is a helpful train. Why? As a result of how a lot you spend in retirement is probably a very powerful–and underrated!–piece of the retirement puzzle.

Well being Care Prices

PlannerPlus consists of Medicare bills in its default assumptions, and estimates my price to be $738K over the course of my lifetime. This quantity adjustments relying on the premium degree and protection sort I select–components A and B solely, Medigap, drug plan, and so on.

Medicare costs
Medicare prices

Constancy’s Retirement Evaluation instrument makes no such assumption, and merely asks me to account for Medicare prices in my detailed expense estimates–regrettably, by calculating and coming into these estimates manually.

To stability the comparability, I eliminated the Medicare estimate from PlannerPlus. Certain, I may have amortized PlannerPlus’ $738K over 35 years within the Constancy calculator, however this might have been time consuming and error susceptible.

I point out this as a result of the hypothetical forecasts offered on this assessment omit lifetime Medicare prices, and subsequently skew extra optimistic than if I had left them in.

Within the subsequent part, I’ll present you the impact on my PlannerPlus forecast of including Medicare prices again in.

Evaluating the Outcomes

To the extent that I may, I duplicated my Constancy inputs and assumptions in PlannerPlus. How do the outcomes differ? Let’s begin with my PlannerPlus forecasts. 

PlannerPlus Outcomes

On the optimistic facet of the ledger, PlannerPlus offers me a 99% likelihood of funding my retirement by age 100. So too within the common case. However on the pessimistic facet of the ledger, it offers me only a 71% likelihood of not outliving my financial savings.

Plan Wellness pessimistic
Plan Wellness (pessimistic assumptions)

Even within the pessimistic case, PlannerPlus says I’ve only a 10% likelihood of operating out of cash by the point I attain 98. To the extent that I belief the assumptions behind the forecast, I feel I can sleep at night time with these odds.

Medicare Add-Again

What occurs if I add again Medicare prices (recall that I eliminated these to remain degree with the Constancy comparability)? I’m nonetheless sitting fairly, with 99% and 98% probabilities of success within the optimistic and common circumstances, respectively.

However the pessimistic case appears to be like significantly worse.

Plan Wellness pessimistic
Plan Wellness (pessimistic assumptions)

PlannerPlus offers me only a 45% likelihood of success, in contrast with the 71% if I omit Medicare prices. This may occasionally appear dire, however I nonetheless have only a 10% likelihood of operating out of cash by the point I’m 91, and almost even odds of constructing it to 100 given fairly pessimistic market return and inflation assumptions. I nonetheless suppose I can sleep at night time with these numbers.

Constancy Retirement Evaluation Outcomes

Constancy’s instrument doesn’t present single, chance-of-success possibilities for every of its optimistic, common and pessimistic forecasts (in the event that they do, I couldn’t discover them). So on that dimension it’s not possible to make a direct comparability to PlannerPlus.

In Constancy’s pessimistic forecast–what they name considerably beneath common market situations–the worth of my portfolio can be at the least $6.5M once I attain 100, and that’s on the 90% confidence interval. Which means in 90% of Constancy’s Monte Carlo simulations, the terminal worth of my portfolio was $6.5M or larger (in future {dollars}).

PlannerPlus, then again, places me at breakeven (or higher) once I’m 98 on the similar confidence interval.


Why the massive discrepancy in terminal financial savings projections? Maybe I’m misunderstanding some elementary facet of 1 or the opposite, or each, instruments. Or possibly it’s a tiny distinction buried within the weeds someplace, that when compounded over a interval of 40 years provides as much as an enormous discrepancy. Perhaps it’s a flaw within the methodology in a single or the opposite instrument.

It’s seemingly due at the least partly to a distinction in market return assumptions. However Constancy doesn’t disclose its return assumptions, so I can’t make sure.

Assuming I’m not misunderstanding the instrument(s)–and that, regardless of the appreciable impedance mismatch between them, I’m certainly evaluating apples to apples–there is a vital perception right here. It’s that retirement calculators are imperfect instruments, and that none can predict the longer term with absolute certainty. Even the greatest instrument can do no higher than mannequin an unsure future.

This final level is a vital one. It ought to remind us that retirement calculators aren’t set-it-and-forget-it instruments.

If a retirement calculator says I’ve only a 45% likelihood of dwelling to 100 with out operating out of cash, you’ll be able to wager I’ll be operating the numbers once more subsequent yr, and the yr after that; then evaluating the forecasts to actuality and refining my assumptions accordingly.

Darrow and Chris have explored the subject of retirement calculator accuracy for years. For a visit down that rabbit gap, take a look into the curated listing right here (sorted latest to oldest).

NewRetirement Pricing

Earlier than taking the plunge on PlannerPlus, take NewRetirement Primary for a spin. If you happen to like what you see, then think about an improve. The Primary version is, after all, free. A PlannerPlus subscription will set you again $120/yr ($10/month), billed yearly.

NewRetirement provides a 3rd possibility–PlannerPlus Academy–for $270/yr ($22.50/month). PlannerPlus Academy comes with all of the options of PlannerPlus, but in addition consists of precedence help and stay on-line courses. The courses are recorded, so for those who miss one you’ll be able to come again and watch it later.

NewRetirement price sheet
NewRetirement value sheet

If you happen to determine to buy a subscription, think about using the hyperlink right here. It’s going to assist me, Chris and Darrow cowl the prices of sustaining the weblog, and contribute to our effort to dial again advertisements on the location.

Bonus Options

PlannerPlus is chock stuffed with options I didn’t cowl within the Constancy comparability, however that nonetheless benefit a point out.


One among these is the Insights sidebar, which helps you to zoom in on myriad subjects corresponding to web price, money circulate, revenue, bills, financial savings, Medicare, taxes and lots of extra.

Every matter comprises an in depth, individually tailor-made evaluation based mostly in your inputs, and includes a wealthy set of charts and graphs that can assist you visualize these insights.

Right here is however one instance–the Revenue & Bills perception–to whet your urge for food:

Income & Expenses insights
Revenue & Bills Insights


There’s additionally an Explorers sidebar, the place you’ll be able to run Monte Carlo evaluation in your portfolios, various parameters corresponding to market returns, normal inflation, medical inflation and wage progress.

You may also attempt varied what-if eventualities, corresponding to various your funding returns by a single share level, or exploring the impression of dwelling 5 years longer than anticipated. You’ll be able to even discover social safety and Roth conversion eventualities.

Coach Solutions

Lastly, there’s a Coach Solutions sidebar. This function takes a holistic view of the present state of your plan, figuring out potential bother spots and/or alternatives, and provides ideas for a way you may deal with them.


Though I’m fully offered on the PlannerPlus expertise, I’ll point out a few nitpicks.

First, PlannerPlus expresses all greenback figures in inflation-adjusted, or future {dollars} (Constancy’s instrument lets you toggle between current and future {dollars}). This has the impact of biasing me to the upside when taking a look at forecasts, significantly people who stretch far into the longer term.

My mind thinks in current {dollars}. I’d slightly not do the psychological conversion from future to current {dollars} each time I ponder a forecast.

Second, for those who’re not cautious, PlannerPlus will overstate the fairness in your house. Within the information entry display screen for Housing, it asks you to enter your private home’s present market worth. It subtracts your mortgage stability (if any), and calls the distinction your complete residence fairness.

Home equity
House fairness

After all, for those who promote your own home you’ll seemingly should pay wherever from 6% to 10% of its market worth in dealer charges and enhancements. When you’ve got an costly home, it will cut back the precise worth of your private home fairness by a substantial quantity. If you happen to don’t account for this, the overstatement can be mirrored in PlannerPlus’ projected web price estimate.

This downside is definitely remedied by discounting the market worth of your private home by 6% to 10%, and coming into that quantity as a substitute, within the House’s Present Worth entry.

Lastly, I needed to make use of the providers of a third celebration instrument–PortfolioVisualizer–to generate believable extremes for my optimistic and pessimistic portfolio return assumptions. It will be good if PlannerPlus built-in such a instrument into its personal calculator.

Maybe NewRetirement already plans so as to add this function. Contemplating the variety of  enhancements which have appeared within the three years since I first used PlannerPlus, I’d not be stunned to see it flip up in a future launch.

Programming Be aware

On the conclusion of final month’s put up, Ought to You Pay Off Your Mortgage?, I discussed that it will not be doable for me to learn and reply to your feedback. I used to be rafting the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon the week that put up was revealed.

Having since learn these feedback, and spending a great deal of time ruminating on them, I’m now severely rethinking my choice not to repay my mortgage. Thanks a lot on your insights, lots of which I had not beforehand thought of.

I’ll be in the identical church, however a unique pew, this month. I can be mountaineering within the magnificent hills of Pink Rock Nationwide Conservation Space west of Las Vegas.

As ever, please don’t let this discourage you from leaving a remark, and/or conversing  amongst yourselves. These aren’t solely worthwhile to me (see above), however little doubt different readers as nicely.

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Useful Sources

  • The Finest Retirement Calculators can assist you carry out detailed retirement simulations together with modeling withdrawal methods, federal and state revenue taxes, healthcare bills, and extra. Can I Retire But? companions with two of one of the best.
  • Free Journey or Money Again with bank card rewards and join bonuses.
  • Monitor Your Funding Portfolio
    • Join a free Empower account to realize entry to trace your asset allocation, funding efficiency, particular person account balances, web price, money circulate, and funding bills.
  • Our Books

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[I’m David Champion. I retired from a career in software development in March 2019, just shy of my 53rd birthday. To position myself for 40+ years of worry-free retirement, I consumed all manner of early-retirement resources. Notable among these was CanIRetireYet, whose newsletters I have received in my inbox every Monday morning for the last ten years. CanIRetireYet is one of exactly two personal finance newsletters I subscribe to. Why? Because of the practical, no-nonsense advice I find here. I attribute my financial success in no small part to what I have learned from Darrow and Chris. In sharing some of my own observations on the early-retirement journey, I aim to maintain the high standard of value readers of CanIRetireYet have come to expect.]

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Disclosure: Can I Retire But? has partnered with CardRatings for our protection of bank card merchandise. Can I Retire But? and CardRatings could obtain a fee from card issuers. Some or the entire card provides that seem on the web site are from advertisers. Compensation could impression on how and the place card merchandise seem on the location. The positioning doesn’t embody all card firms or all out there card provides. Different hyperlinks on this website, just like the Amazon, NewRetirement, Pralana, and Private Capital hyperlinks are additionally affiliate hyperlinks. As an affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases. If you happen to click on on one among these hyperlinks and purchase from the affiliated firm, then we obtain some compensation. The revenue helps to maintain this weblog going. Affiliate hyperlinks don’t improve your price, and we solely use them for services or products that we’re accustomed to and that we really feel could ship worth to you. Against this, we’ve got restricted management over many of the show advertisements on this website. Although we do try to dam objectionable content material. Purchaser beware.

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