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gbVisualRetirement - Retirement Planning (Discussion)

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  • gbVisualRetirement - Retirement Planning (Discussion)

    This page is for discussion of my most recent application, gbVisualRetirement, which provides a particularly easy way to get a ballpark look at the effects of various factors that affect your ability to retire, and the lifestyle you can afford during retirement. Changes are easy to make and the graphical output makes it easy to see and understand the impact of the changes.




    Key Features:
    • Basic and Advanced modes of analysis
    • Input Wizards to simplify creation of a financial plan
    • Graphical analysis of retirement financial factors
    • Extensive control over look/content of retirement chart
    • Yearly breakdown of financial analysis results
    • Analysis covers all major financial factors
    • Fixed or inflation-escalated savings and expenses
    • Change inputs using mouse wheel
    • Select inputs from dropdown lists or manually edit inputs
    • Automatically save session changes
    • Copy/Print retirement chart
    • Online update
    • Email the Author option
    • Online Help


    As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!
    Last edited by Gary Beene; 7 Jul 2015, 10:34 AM.

  • #2
    Around 8 years ago I published a spreadsheet that provides capabilities similar to gbVisualRetirement. I'd always wanted to create an application instead, to avoid the need for Excel. Some recent questions from users of my retirement spreadsheets motivated me to release this standalone version.

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    • #3
      The "Advanced" mode of gbVisualRetirement, which lets you assign more details about your retirement, is still in work. I should a v2.0 out later this week.

      I'm especially interested in any computational error anyone finds! I've tested it over the last week, but at the same time we've had the twin grandchildren over for an extended stay. So there's always a chance that the interruptions trashed a train of thought!

      Please let me know of any issues you find!

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      • #4
        Writing gbVisualRetirement wasn't on my godo list and it has taken me away from other apps. Even so, I'd like to have spent some more time with it to incorporate the plotting capabilities that Larry Charlton recently posted.

        If anyone comes up with an integration of Larry's classes with gbVisualRetirement, please post your efforts!

        The bar chart code I wrote for this app does a reasonable job of adjusting as the user resizes the application. It has several settings which allow the user to adjust the chart to their requirements.

        However, it does not continuously modify the font size as the chart size is changed. When I find some more time, I'll want to work on that as well.

        I always wanted to write a custom chart control and what I've done on gbVisualRetirement has given me some ideas on what might be required, so the custom control is on my godo list (but won't likely happen anytime soon)!

        The current "DrawChart" code is only about a hundred lines of code. It was much easier to write than I had first worried about.

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        • #5
          One of the "fun" things about gbVisualRetirement is that you can click on one of the settings (comboboxes) and then use the mouse wheel (or up/down arrow keys) to scroll through the various settings. The retirement chart changes instantly to show the effects of the setting changes.

          So you can go through dozen's of "what-ifs" in a very short period of time!

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          • #6
            Before I retired I used my spreadsheet version of this tool to plan my own retirement. I eventually went to my financial advisor, who of course had his own more comprehensive/expensive software. I was quite pleased to find that the basic analysis/decisions we made using his software were consistent with the analysis/decisions that my spreadsheet allowed.

            The point is that even a simple tool like gbVisualRetirement can provide very useful guidance for folks who are in the pre-retirement phase of their lives.

            The obvious caveate to remember is that I'm an engineer/programmer, not a financial analyst/advisor. So while I've put int a lot of effort to making the tool as accurate as possible, it's always advisable to see your own professional financial advisor before making retirement financial decisions!
            Last edited by Gary Beene; 12 May 2015, 04:35 PM.

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            • #7
              One of the pieces of advice I got from my own professional financial advisor is that studies of the stock market show that if you spend no more than 4% of your net worth every year, that market returns over the market's history would have generally ensured that you would never go broke.

              Past performance doesn't guarantee future results ... and all that ... but it is an interesting metric to keep in mind.

              I'm a big fan of Scott Burns, the financial analyst/column writer for the Dallas Morning news. He's generally conservative, plain spoken, and seemingly beholden to no one when it comes to speaking his mind. I cannot say that I regularly read his writings, but what I have read seems very helpful.

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              • #8
                This looks very interesting indeed.
                Thank you!

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                • #9
                  Hi Dean!
                  You're quite welcome.

                  The v2.0, "Advanced" financial planning, didn't happen as quickly as I wanted. I got distracted with working on the grid part of the code. But I'm hoping now that it will still be out in a few days.

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                  • #10
                    No problem. FWIW...I chuckled when I saw "I should a v2.0 out later this week." i.e. being more of a "later this year" guy despite my best efforts . On that topic...I recently read a blog where the author said if you don't want to get distracted...do everything on the command line. At the moment I'm doing just that in CC so...we'll see if it works.
                    Last edited by Dean Gwilliam; 31 May 2015, 03:42 PM.

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                    • #11
                      gbVisualRetirement v2.0 is now available for download.

                      The latest version now includes an Advanced Financial Plan, which allows the user to specify a much wider range of financial information than does the Basic Financial Plan. The Advanced Financial Plan uses a significantly different input approach than is used in v1.0.

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                      • #12
                        The huge difference between the Basic and Advanced Financial Plans is in how the user makes inputs, where the Advanced plan is much more flexible in allowing the user to enter financial information.

                        Here's the Basic input section, which allows the user to specify only the fields shown in the image. All of the fields allow the user to select values from a dropdown list, making it very easy to use.



                        And here's the Advanced input section, which allows the user to specify up to 100 lines of financial information, with up to 12 different parameters per line. The greater complexity of the Advanced plan is offset by the greater level of detail with which the user can specify the pre- and post-retirement information.



                        Advanced inputs are "persistent", meaning that they stay in effect until explicitly changed by the user. Description, age and lump sum items are the exception to the persistent rule.

                        Both of the input sections above return the same results - they are equivalent ways to specify the same financial plan parameters.
                        Last edited by Gary Beene; 26 Jun 2015, 09:24 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I wanted to acknowledge that v2.0 now uses James Kluthos MLG, the free version.

                          Thanks, James, for making it available!

                          I also own the $$ version as well, but the free version provided enough capability to support gbVisualRetirement v2.0.
                          Last edited by Gary Beene; 25 Jun 2015, 09:41 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Ok, Dean,
                            I didn't exactly make it out that week, but I did finally get it out!

                            For my simple needs, I was going to use my ListView-as-Grid code, but finally decided that James' MLG would be the better choice. The decision and switchover took more time than I had expected but I'm quite happy with the results.

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                            • #15
                              Especially for gbVisualRetirement, I'm very interested in hearing from anyone thinks that the calculated values might have a problem. When it comes to financial information generated by one of my apps, I especially want to wring it out as much as possible!

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                              • #16
                                A minor revision and an error fix last night before I went to bed - v2.02

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                                • #17
                                  gbVisualRetirement v3.0 is now available for download.

                                  One of my users commented that folks who are just beginning to think about retirement might not be familiar with the basic inputs that go into a financial plan, and suggested that I consider how to make using gbVisualRetirement event simpler.

                                  In response, I've added input Wizards for both the Basic and Advanced Financial Plans. Additionally, popup Help dialogs are available for each of the input fields, giving the user help on understanding what values might be appropriate for their own financial plans.

                                  In the Basic plan, each field has a question mark button beside it, which the user can select to get popup information about the field. The buttons are optional and can be hidden when the user finds them no longer necessary.



                                  The Wizards are as expected - a series of dialogs, each with a single question, that walks the user through the inputs needed to create a financial plan. The Basic Wizard has just 5 questions to answer, whereas the Advanced Wizard has 10. Once the Wizard completes, the user can manually edit the resulting financial plan.

                                  Basic Wizard Dialogs: (click the image to zoom)



                                  Advanced Wizard Dialogs: (click the image to zoom)

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                                  • #18
                                    BREAKING NEWS: Financial giant, Intuit, buys gbRetirementCalculator for undisclosed sum; Texas boy retires off of retirement application.
                                    <b>George W. Bleck</b>
                                    <img src='http://www.blecktech.com/myemail.gif'>

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                                    • #19
                                      Hey George!
                                      I like your idea!! Anyone have Intuit's phone number? :laugh:

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                                      • #20
                                        But, George,
                                        I did talk one of the Top 100 Financial Companies, according to CNBC, into taking a look at my app - to make suggestions and validate the results against their own software!

                                        ...

                                        ...

                                        (ummm .... I guess I have to admit that my stepson is a part owner in that company, so it wasn't really hard to draw him in as a beta tester! )

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