Making Sense Out of Interacting and Competing Factors That Influence Your Lifestyle
by Stuart C. Matthews
Want to maximize your standard of living while achieving early retirement? Welcome to the club! This is something that many want but few achieve. It was a high priority for me. Making the big decision to leave my employer and embark upon the adventure of retirement is not one that I took lightly. Being unwilling to trust the advice of a financial planner, I reached my decision only after careful analysis of my financial situation using an early version of PRC. PRC has the ability to help you establish a comprehensive lifetime financial plan that takes into account the multitude of interacting and often competing factors that we all face in life. Armed with this in-depth tool, I was able to perform lifestyle trade-offs and establish a retirement date with the confidence that has allowed me to sleep at night!
There are countless free on-line retirement calculators available via the Internet, but they are all over-simplified and capable only of providing rough estimates. If you are inclined to use one or more of these, please never forget that the quality of the output is a function of the quality of the input. No calculator can know the unknowable, such as future inflation rates, but the more specific you can be in your inputs, the more you can trust the calculator’s outputs. The Pralana Retirement Calculator enables you to specify your financial situation in great detail while still being very easy to use.
We’re all affected by things beyond our control, such as inflation, government policy (e.g., tax rates, Social Security benefits), the rising cost of healthcare and the volatility of certain investments. But we also face many decisions in life which are largely under our control. We weigh the pros and cons, make tradeoffs, and try to assess how one decision interacts with other decisions. This includes job and career, getting married, having children, college educations for your children, housing choices, mortgages, how much to contribute to retirement accounts and what type of retirement accounts to have, healthcare, how much life insurance to carry, getting a divorce, when, where and how to retire, when to start collecting Social Security benefits, which survivor benefits to select with your defined benefits pension, long-term care, and on and on. The decisions we make on many of the above items have a direct bearing on our income stream and our taxes which, in turn, affect our discretionary spending power.
Then there are choices we have to make on discretionary spending such as vacations and travel, hobbies and entertainment, clothes, cars, luxury items, gifts and charitable giving. And, of course, there are also those non-discretionary expenses such as utilities, food and household items.
Without the right tools, putting all the pieces of the financial puzzle of our lives together is bewildering if not impossible. In less than an hour Pralana’s Retirement Calculator enables you to construct a detailed life cycle financial plan with an optimized standard of living by simultaneously modeling all of the items listed above, and more. PRC shows you year-by-year results and supports the exploration of alternative decisions in a matter of seconds, putting at your fingertips the power to quickly and easily make informed tradeoffs between all alternatives.
If this sounds at all intriguing, please visit the pages of the pralanaretirementcalculator.com website to learn more.
Pralana Consulting LLC, Plano, TX
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PRALANA CONSULTING LLC