Lifetime Planner IDEA: Retain Plan History and Expense Basis of Past Plan Scenarios<edited for clarity and structure>
Lifetime Planner IDEA: Retain Plan History and Expense Basis of Past Plan Scenarios
This discussion was created from comments split from: Lifetime Planner Bug and Idea List - Make Yourself Heard!.
pdq said:@Scooterlam Thanks for all your work on this. I'm not sure where is the best place to add new ideas so I'll add here and I will repost elsewhere as needed.
Both of these ideas come from my use of Quicken/LTP over 2+ decades and realizing that: 1) plans don't age well; and 2) there is no way compare actuals to plan estimated numbers.
1) Specify the year basis when you are entering plan numbers so that LTP plan numbers can be properly escalated as the plan ages. Plans become stale because they are entered in "today's dollars" based on the year you created the plan. Since "today's dollars" are not automatically escalated over time for inflation, it will under-estimate future expenses unless you update all the numbers every year. It would be better for LTP to know what year to use as the basis for the entered expenses, then properly index them for actual inflation or a user-defined inflation rate.
Example: If I create a plan this year with college expenses using today's (2021) dollars of $20K starting in 2031, LTP will add 10 years of inflation to the $20K expense when it starts in 2031 -- which is what you'd expect. However, if I make no changes and look at the plan next year (in 2022), the plan still has $20K for that expense but now it is taken to be $20K in 2022 dollars so it will only be escalated for 9 years of inflation. The issue is really the same for all entered expenses whether living expenses or special expenses. If they are not manually adjusted each year by the user, they will not properly account for inflation as the plan ages so the plan becomes outdated and will under-estimate spending in the future.
2) Retain past years' data of a plan (with proper attention to item #1 above!) and track actual assets/expenses vs plan assets/expenses. Would really love to be able to track historical actuals vs plan estimates in order to do look backs and see how well the numbers are tracking to plan so I can make necessary adjustments going forward.
It is impossible to do this if past data keeps disappearing every year . Maybe this could augment the multiple-scenario idea so that prior years' plans could be saved/loaded similarly to a separate scenario. Or, maybe you could add a "Show Prior Years" option and a "Show Actuals" option.