NEW: Help with Quicken Lifetime Planner and Social Security Benefit changes

Quicken SarahQuicken Sarah Administrator, Moderator

Hello All,


Our Product team is looking for volunteers with expertise around Social Security Benefits laws in Quicken Lifetime planner.  We are looking for help to review and test some of the recent changes by the SSA. 


If you can spare some time to help us, please add a comment below and our Product team will reach out to you. 


Thanks!

Comments

  • Robert FuldRobert Fuld Member
    edited October 2018
    Social Security is a very complex system. Quicken at this time is not an appropriate program to analyze the various claiming and payment options especially with changing laws, CPI's, and the political forces. Unless you have intent to create a sophisticated program (i.e. like maximizemysocialsecurity.com), I believe you may be best allowing the user to enter the numbers from social security statements or from one of the programs with a whole bunch of disclaimers. I would love Quicken to do this, but am concerned about the depth of understanding needed to make it a useful program to help with this. 

    Bob.
  • QPWQPW Member
    edited August 2018

    Social Security is a very complex system. Quicken at this time is not an appropriate program to analyze the various claiming and payment options especially with changing laws, CPI's, and the political forces. Unless you have intent to create a sophisticated program (i.e. like maximizemysocialsecurity.com), I believe you may be best allowing the user to enter the numbers from social security statements or from one of the programs with a whole bunch of disclaimers. I would love Quicken to do this, but am concerned about the depth of understanding needed to make it a useful program to help with this. 

    Bob.

    I agree with Bob, and in fact when I look at this bug report:
    https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-does-not-reflect-spouses-social-security-estimate-changes

    The problem is that Quicken trying to be too "smart".
    Quicken/Quicken should "play dumb" in this case.

    The user has typed in a value and Quicken isn't using it.  Instead it is using its own calculated value.

    In this case if the user wants to shoot themselves in the foot with a wrong number, they should be allowed to do it, because in fact because of the complexity of the system Quicken will never get the right numbers for all people in my opinion.

    If you look at the current system the dialogs are setup for this.  You have entries for when to start and the amount.  About the only time you have anything for Quicken to "calculate" it would be in the "rough estimate".  In that you just have to take the "typical case", which the user can easily override.


    Past that one problem I see with the current system is that it asks for a yearly amount and a starting year.  There is an assumption here that everyone will start taking their social security a THE_YEAR + 1/2 a year.  That isn't always the case.

    The entry should be per month, and when to start should include selecting the month.

    The only other part that is needed is if the persons income starts to reduce the benefit, and also how it affects the taxes.  Again a very complex problem.

    And I'm not sure of the best way to handle it.

    Maybe an entry that allows the user to reduce the amount of the benefit starting at a given date.

    And for the taxes maybe another entry more than just the before and after rates.

    Or better yet, allow for a series of both of these to be entered with a starting and ending date (defaulting to no ending date).

    Like:
    Reduce benefit by $100 per month starting 1/2026.
    Reduce benefit by $200 per month starting 1/2029.

    The real point is that either Quicken has to have a full blown system for calculating everything, with allowing the user to override things.  Or they need to "play dumb" and make the assumption that there are much better ways to do this outside of Quicken and just set up so that the user can get those amounts into Quicken at the right places.
  • edited December 2018
    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


  • NotACPANotACPA SuperUser
    edited August 2018

    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


    Abhishek, are you allowing,  in the SSA planner for my receiving of my late wife's SSA benefit early ... and then claiming my own benefit when I turn 70?

    Add to that,  the complication  that I've since re-married.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor"
  • Robert FuldRobert Fuld Member
    edited August 2018
    This projection is not very accurate. Social Security Benefits start when one has 40 quarters of minimum earnings and are then based on your highest 35 years of earnings. The formula for benefits is very complex with primary insurance amounts and bend points. 

    Here is SSA 2018 "changes" . This shows the maximum monthly for high income earners at full retirement and the "averages"

    https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2018.pdf

    Here is the the pia and bend points formula page

    https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/piaformula.html

    The bend points change yearly. Once you turn 62, however, they become fixed to calculate the monthly retirement amount when you do decide to retire.

    As I said in my original post, this is very complex set of issues. There are many other formulas and when a spouse is involved it becomes even more complex. 

    Hope this helps to clarify my concerns. 

    Bob.


  • ScooterlamScooterlam Member
    edited August 2018

    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


    Abishek,


    These income ranges appear to come from a consultant of yours and I would suspect from a model they have developed. Doubtful a user could provide this information. Not a fan of this sort of estimate. Always have entered my and spouses estimates from SSA calculators. Have a look at your own docs here: https://www.quicken.com/support/enter...

    image


    What is the scope of you efforts wrt SS?


    Scott

    2018 QW HBR r10.11
  • QPWQPW Member
    edited August 2018

    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


    Personally Abhishek I would drop the whole estimate option.  I know that people (Quicken users) might expect magic and it might not be popular to "disappoint them" with no built in estimate, but giving them "false hope" is worse.

    That table can never be accurate.  It is based on some false assumptions.
    The biggest one being that you can look at someone's current salary and predict what they made in the past (or the future for that matter).

    The assumption had to be that a person's salary followed some "normal curve" of the majority.

    SSA provides accurate information and calculators.  Some table based on someone's stats is never going to cut it.
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited August 2018

    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


    Put a link to the SSA website and recommend people go there to get their estimates.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • akshay orthoakshay ortho Member
    edited August 2018

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  • edited August 2018
    It could be much more useful to have the user enter the PIA (Primary Insurance Amount) and skip the whole estimate function.  There are plenty of simple tools available to calculate this, as already mentioned.  E.g., see https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=255206.

    With the PIA, the user can simply change the SS start date and Quicken should be able to calculate the SS benefit amount, based on publicly available formulas.  See the 'SocialSecurity' tab in the spreadsheet described in https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/forum-information-faqs/case-study-spreadsheet-updates/ for one version.

    There are also tools such as the one described in https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=251065 that will evaluate "when is the best time for each person in a couple to begin receiving SS benefits?"  Good tools, such as that one, consider all the various starting months and select the ones with the highest Net Present Value of SS benefits received, given a discount rate and life expectancy.

    A great tool, which does not exist but is something for Quicken to consider, would consider more of the financial picture.  E.g., how the start of SS benefits affects conversion of traditional IRA balances to Roth, including accurate tax calculations.

    Happy to discuss at greater length if you are interested.
  • Karen VierraKaren Vierra Member
    edited August 2018

    We were wondering, if we could start with this particular screen. If someone's acquainted with the new set of salary range slabs for 2018 that would be pretty awesome!


    THAT is absolutely the right answer.
  • edited December 2018
    Thank you all for providing your feedback on this!

    We have decided to remove these estimates as, 
    They were provided by a Third Party and does not hold true as of today.
    These estimates are provided by one specific accounting & tax firm and is difficult to maintain.

    We can consider enabling it back if users ask for it. 


    Thanks,
    Abhishek

  • edited August 2018

    It could be much more useful to have the user enter the PIA (Primary Insurance Amount) and skip the whole estimate function.  There are plenty of simple tools available to calculate this, as already mentioned.  E.g., see https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=255206.

    With the PIA, the user can simply change the SS start date and Quicken should be able to calculate the SS benefit amount, based on publicly available formulas.  See the 'SocialSecurity' tab in the spreadsheet described in https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/forum-information-faqs/case-study-spreadsheet-updates/ for one version.

    There are also tools such as the one described in https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=251065 that will evaluate "when is the best time for each person in a couple to begin receiving SS benefits?"  Good tools, such as that one, consider all the various starting months and select the ones with the highest Net Present Value of SS benefits received, given a discount rate and life expectancy.

    A great tool, which does not exist but is something for Quicken to consider, would consider more of the financial picture.  E.g., how the start of SS benefits affects conversion of traditional IRA balances to Roth, including accurate tax calculations.

    Happy to discuss at greater length if you are interested.

    Interesting! Let me do some research around this. Thank you so much :)
  • ScooterlamScooterlam Member
    edited August 2018
    Hi Abhishek

    Thanks for the feedback!  

    Have you reviewed the below thread for other issues relating to social security treatment in LTP?   There are 2 posts (and a number of specific links) where SS issues are called out. 

    Specifically around:   1.  Spousal Benefits,  2. Survivorship Benefits,  3.  Benefit Reduction (due to income) and 4.  Odd handling of benefit user input fields (which may be cleared once you have addressed the estimate issue described above).  

    Please have a look:  https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-bug-and-idea-list-make-yourself...

    Scott
    2018 QW HBR r11.18

  • edited August 2018
    Scott said:

    Hi Abhishek

    Thanks for the feedback!  

    Have you reviewed the below thread for other issues relating to social security treatment in LTP?   There are 2 posts (and a number of specific links) where SS issues are called out. 

    Specifically around:   1.  Spousal Benefits,  2. Survivorship Benefits,  3.  Benefit Reduction (due to income) and 4.  Odd handling of benefit user input fields (which may be cleared once you have addressed the estimate issue described above).  

    Please have a look:  https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-bug-and-idea-list-make-yourself...

    Scott
    2018 QW HBR r11.18

    Yes, I have taken a stab at the important issues and threads reported in here. Specially this one- https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-bug-and-idea-list-make-yourself...


    And we are trying to scrubs these bugs out of the product one at a time.

    For instance, We have fixed all the RMD calculations in the beta that we just released (Do grab a copy of August beta build- Tamara or Kathryn should be able to help you out if you don't have one). Hopefully, the issues in Lifetime planner around RMD should be resolved now. if not, please write to me. 
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited August 2018
    Scott said:

    Hi Abhishek

    Thanks for the feedback!  

    Have you reviewed the below thread for other issues relating to social security treatment in LTP?   There are 2 posts (and a number of specific links) where SS issues are called out. 

    Specifically around:   1.  Spousal Benefits,  2. Survivorship Benefits,  3.  Benefit Reduction (due to income) and 4.  Odd handling of benefit user input fields (which may be cleared once you have addressed the estimate issue described above).  

    Please have a look:  https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-bug-and-idea-list-make-yourself...

    Scott
    2018 QW HBR r11.18

    Humm. Thanks for the info.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • SnowmanSnowman Member
    edited August 2018

    Thank you all for providing your feedback on this!

    We have decided to remove these estimates as, 
    They were provided by a Third Party and does not hold true as of today.
    These estimates are provided by one specific accounting & tax firm and is difficult to maintain.

    We can consider enabling it back if users ask for it. 


    Thanks,
    Abhishek

    The best solution is what mshiggins suggested, just put a link to the SSA website. Done.
  • KenKen Member
    edited September 2018

    I'm Retired and receiving SS.
    Quicken's PLANNING need a lot of work. Not so much about SS, but the whole PLANNING programming. For instance, how does the program calculate my IRA withdrawal? It is always too much compared to the IRS withdrawal requirements.
    You guys have got a lot of work to do to give me an accurate projection of my income and what's left.
    By the way, If My SS benefit is greater than my Spouse, she gets mine.

  • fanfarefanfare Member
    edited September 2018
    Ken said:


    I'm Retired and receiving SS.
    Quicken's PLANNING need a lot of work. Not so much about SS, but the whole PLANNING programming. For instance, how does the program calculate my IRA withdrawal? It is always too much compared to the IRS withdrawal requirements.
    You guys have got a lot of work to do to give me an accurate projection of my income and what's left.
    By the way, If My SS benefit is greater than my Spouse, she gets mine.

    Quicken Abhishek above has already commented that RMD is supposed to be fixed in an upcoming release.
  • KenKen Member
    edited September 2018
    Ken said:


    I'm Retired and receiving SS.
    Quicken's PLANNING need a lot of work. Not so much about SS, but the whole PLANNING programming. For instance, how does the program calculate my IRA withdrawal? It is always too much compared to the IRS withdrawal requirements.
    You guys have got a lot of work to do to give me an accurate projection of my income and what's left.
    By the way, If My SS benefit is greater than my Spouse, she gets mine.

    Thanks, I missed the comment I guess.
  • ScooterlamScooterlam Member
    edited September 2018
    Ken said:


    I'm Retired and receiving SS.
    Quicken's PLANNING need a lot of work. Not so much about SS, but the whole PLANNING programming. For instance, how does the program calculate my IRA withdrawal? It is always too much compared to the IRS withdrawal requirements.
    You guys have got a lot of work to do to give me an accurate projection of my income and what's left.
    By the way, If My SS benefit is greater than my Spouse, she gets mine.

    Hi Ken,  Here is a list of bugs and ideas related to LTP.  I believe that Quicken Abhishek is using this thread as a guide to address the various issues.

    Have a look and voite/like/me-too the bugs and ideas that matter most to you.

    https://getsatisfaction.com/quickencommunity/topics/lifetime-planner-bug-and-idea-list-make-yourself...

    Scott
    2018 QW HBR R11.18
  • KenKen Member
    edited September 2018

    One more thing while I'm at it. Regarding tax-deferred accounts, why are dividends and income for an account in this category considered a "cost" in the reports? I understand it should be in taxable accounts, but in tax-deferred accounts, it should only reflect additional "value".
This discussion has been closed.