Results of Our 2018 ‘Request for Suggestions’

A few weeks ago, we asked for your input – and you provided it! Luckily, our two key planned initiatives for 2018 were near the top of the list:

  1. Account Aggregation   allow data from financial sites to automatically be aggregated in OT to track progress and see how changes in market conditions may effect your long-term financial future. Requested by 44% of respondents.
  2. Monte Carlo Expanded Output and Visibility into Underlying Data – expansion of results our Monte Carlo (and Historical) Analyses. Provide quartile success percentages and the ability to view / export data from underlying runs. Requested by 28% of respondents.

For those interested, here’s the rest of the list. Note: In order to assimilate items we generalized requests so you may not see the exact wording from your response.

3 Return-Rate Recommendations based on risk-tolerance, timeline, etc. 20%
4 Ability to “Update Progress” directly in the Account table 18%
5 Tax-Optimal Spending and Drawdown Strategy Recommendations 16%
6 Social Security Recommendations 14%
7 Geographical Cost Impact (healthcare, gas, medical, food, etc) 14%
8 Sample Scenarios by Goal (spending / saving strategies, pitfalls) 12%
9 Expanded Wizard-Driven Setup/Configuration 10%
10 Healthcare Cost Recommendations 8%
11 Expanded Asset Class Allocation and ability to allocate by Index 8%
12 Compare Historical / MC results to various Indexes 6%
13 Account Grouping with ability to show / hide members 4%
14 Withdrawal Rate Column in data output 4%
15 Asset Class Transition from one distribution to another 4%
16 Roth “Ladder” 2%
17 Mobile App 2%

After completing items 1 & 2, we will pick up the rest in priority order. Although we can’t make promises for 2018, we’re hoping to make good progress on this list!

Again, thanks so much for your interest and your input. You’ll be hearing from us regularly as we roll-out new features throughout 2018.

Sincerely,
Tyson Koska
Founder, OnTrajectory.com

The Gateway Drug of Personal Financial Planning

You’re just cruising down the internet minding your own business. Maybe you’re doing some window shopping, and an attractive loan interest rate catches your eye – 2.9%. Oh,  hell yeah! So, you quickly look around and nearby you see a nice, professional-looking calculator offering to crunch monthly payment options for you – and it let’s you play around with different purchase prices and terms to see what you can afford – and it’s FREE.

The next week, you’re still thinking about those sweet amortization tables for the car or house or whatever you were thinking about financing, when you run into a self-important looking ad for another calculator that claims to tell you exactly how much you need for retirement. It just requires a few pieces of your financial situation and BAM! – you’ll have it all figured out. Except of course you won’t. What you will have is a ‘point-in-time’ glimpse of your possible financial future – a blurry snapshot from a disposable camera.

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But you’re liking these tools, so you keep bouncing around between various ‘Nest Egg’ projectors and ‘Monte Carlo’ simulators – I mean hell, there are literally THOUSANDS of them! Some from big names in the financial industry: Fidelity, Schwab, T. Rowe, Vanguard. And each time you think you’ll be getting the ‘good stuff’ and feeling that now you’re at financial peace, safe and secure – you wake up the next day wanting just a bit more…

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(Dave Chappelle from “Chappelle’s Show”, Comedy Central [2004])

That’s when you realize, you’re hooked. You just can’t seem to become satisfied – things still seem unclear. Why? Because you realize these point-in-time calculators are inherently flawed. Because there are major financial differences over the course of your life – you payoff mortgages, send kids to college, or your spouse takes a year away from work while the kids are young.

So finally, you follow the advice printed on each calculator’s page and you pick up the phone and call one of the ‘big guys’. They make you promises of the real good stuff. Sure, it’ll cost you – but you get what you pay for, right? If you want to get a warm and true feeling of financial peace and freedom, well that kind of high doesn’t come cheap. The tools  used by large financial institutions are well outside what most families cannot afford, usually thousands of dollars annually for a single license.

Then, in a sudden moment of clarity you realize – there’s another way! There’s an entire community of bloggers, pod-casters, and tool-builders who are NOT part of the big guys and who want nothing more than for you to succeed! Success that is fueled by your own interest and desire to make changes in your life that will support your own very personal financial future.

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And these are folks who are into spreading what they know by mentoring people who are just getting started and by building the technology that will let regular people map out their own unique financial futures. Ones with long vacations, mini-retirements and a myriad of approaches to modern life that corporate financial planners have a hard time considering because it’s simply not in their playbook.

What you need is a living model of your financial life…

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You need a way to check-in a few times a year to ensure your assumptions about the future are true. And if no longer true, have the ability to change them. You need a model that matures with you, both from a situational perspective but also from a financial literacy perspective. As you read about new techniques and approaches to your finances, you need a tool that supports “what-if” scenarios and the ability to track progress over time.

There are very few tools that support the philosophy of starting simple with the flexibility to create extremely complex models unique to each individual. We hope you will give OnTrajectory.com a try – signup is FREE!

The last question, then, is this: If rudimentary free tools are the gateway drug and corporate financial planners are the hard stuff – who are the bloggers and pod-casters and independent tools like OnTrajectory.com?  We are that natural high you get when you’ve invested in yourself. When you’ve pushed yourself as far as you can go and then have that feeling of breaking through to a new level, a new understanding, gained a new approach to a world of future financial possibilities.

Are You Logo

OnTrajectory is an educational tool intended to help you model various financial situations. All projections are based on hypothetical assumptions, including rates of return, that are provided by you and actual results will vary, perhaps to a significant degree. There is no guarantee of investment return or future result.  Please be aware that NO information provided by OnTrajectory should be considered investment, tax or legal advice. We encourage you to review your plan often and consult with the appropriate professional when implementing changes.

Tax Reform with OnTrajectory

A couple weeks ago, the president signed into law H.R. 1 (originally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”). This leaves some of us wondering what the impact will be to our own tax situation.

Money Help Center has put together a Trump Tax Reform Calculator to estimate how the legislation would affect you in the 2018 tax year. The calculator appears to be keeping up with provision changes during the reconciliation process, but we consider it more of an educated guess.

OnTrajectory users may find their future effective tax rate useful. Within the PowerPlan, users can copy their current scenario and adjust the effective tax rates as a way to model the impact of the changes.

For those that want more detail on the changes, KPMG has put together an alerts page that includes a nice summary of the bill.

 

The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. No information should be considered investment, tax or legal advice. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

October Update: New OnTrajectory Features

OnTrajectory has two new features this month: Updating Progress & Cost Basis

1. Updating Progress
While you’ve been able to track your Progress over time in OnTrajectory, we’ve revised the math behind the “Future Projection” of that progress. Previously, only the total between your Trajectory and Progress was considered. Now, we consider each Account’s “% Growth” rate individually, meaning more accurate future projections.

We’ve also made the interface more informative and easier to use, as shown below:

2. Cost Basis
In some situations, you may want to set the “cost basis” for the Starting Balance of an account. This is the amount of un-taxed contributions when it’s first defined in OnTrajectory.

Typically, defining a Cost Basis is only significant if you have a large account with sizable prior growth (such as a mutual fund that’s been growing for some time) and for which you have not paid taxes on the growth. This option is available only for accounts that have a Tax Type of “Tax-Deferred (gains only)”. For more information on Tax Types, see the guide Modeling Accounts and Taxes.


As a reminder, OnTrajectory is completely INDEPENDENT and not affiliated with any financial product or services company. Our goal is to provide the easiest and most flexible tool on the web. Our unbiased approach helps you visualize your long-term financial future unlike any other planner currently available to consumers.

OnTrajectory Releases Collaborative Financial Planning Tool for Educators

PRESS RELEASE

Baltimore, Maryland (July 11, 2017) OnTrajectory, a Baltimore-based, veteran-owned “FinTech” start-up, has just released a first-of-its-kind financial planning platform allowing educators and students to collaboratively model complex financial strategies and techniques. OnTrajectory’s emphasis on visualizations and high-fidelity graphs makes it perfect for individuals learning the effects of compound savings,  tax-handling, expense management and other aspects of financial planning.

Time Magazine calls it “one of the best user interfaces available in the retirement calculator world” (http://time.com/money/4212970/best-retirement-calculators/), and OnTrajectory has extended its innovative interface by offering pre-defined scenarios that are both visually-striking and interactively fun. Educators can also create and distribute their own scenarios to illustrate key-concepts based on their curriculum, while students can manipulate and experiment with them in real-time.

Financial-planning tools abound on the Internet, but OnTrajectory separates itself by having the lowest barrier-of-entry AND the most flexibility. No other consumer-focused tool allows the same depth and complexity and, more importantly, the ability to help navigate a successful and secure future. Tyson Koska, OnTrajectory’s founder, says: “Our goal is to enhance the financial health and literacy of a generation.”

OnTrajectory.com began in 2015 as a free personal-finance planning platform. In 2016 they launched a subscription plan ($5/month or $50/year), which allows greater depth and detail. Their new “Educational Offering” provides significant incentives to Educational Institutions, Public Libraries, and Charitable Organizations based on size and need. Read more at www.OnTrajectory.com/EDU_portal.html.

OnTrajectory.com has received an enthusiastic response from both customers and professionals and been featured on multiple “best-of” lists across the web:

https://ptmoney.com/best-robo-advisors/

http://time.com/money/4212970/best-retirement-calculators/

http://www.caniretireyet.com/the-best-retirement-calculators/

Contact:

questions@OnTrajectory.com

Phone: 410-989-1968

Easier Tax-Rate Modeling

We’ve made it easier to model the tax-advantages of contributing to a retirement plan.

Now, when you designate contributions that typically occur “pre-tax” (such as those to a 401K or Traditional IRA), OnTrajectory automatically excludes those contributions from taxable Income — meaning you needn’t adjust your tax-rate to account for those contributions.

We’ve also added Retirement Plan Contributions to the “Incomes” data table so you can easily see all contributions excluded from taxable income, as shown below:

retPlanContrib

Remember, we are constantly rolling-out new features, so be sure to log on frequently – and don’t forget to update your progress while you’re there!

Don’t wait any longer, get OnTrajectory today. Log On Now »

Smarter “Draw-Downs”

OnTrajectory just got a little smarter.

When modeling years with negative cash-flow (such as retirement), OnTrajectory has always let you indicate which accounts to draw funds from first
– but now you can leave more of those decisions to us!

Our draw-down logic now takes into account 4 characteristics when automatically selecting an account to pull funds from:

  1. End Age – Accounts with the lowest End Age used first
  2. Account Type – Non-Retirement funds used before Retirement funds
  3. Tax Handling – Non-Tax-Deferred funds used before Tax-Deferred funds
  4.  Account Balance – Account with highest balance used first

This technique ensures that automatic draw-downs maximize both tax savings and minimize early withdrawal penalties – making it easier for you to gain insight into your financial future and see where your money is taking you.

Remember, we are constantly rolling-out new features, so be sure to log on frequently – and don’t forget to update your progress while you’re there!

Don’t wait any longer, get OnTrajectory today. Log On Now »

Expanded ‘Employer Contributions’ at OnTrajectory

We’ve expanded our Employer Contributions functionality to give you more financial modeling flexibility. Now you can define contributions from employers for both 401k/403b and HSA accounts.

In addition, both your defined contributions and employer contributions can be designated either as a fixed amount or as percentage of Income (or any combination of the two), as illustrated below:

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Just a reminder, we are constantly rolling – out new features, so be sure to log on frequently – and don’t forget to update your progress while you’re there!

Don’t wait any longer, get OnTrajectory todayLog On Now »

2 Great New Features in OnTrajectory

We’ve just released 2 new features in OnTrajectory. The first is our Home Equity tool, which greatly enhances your ability to track the accumulation of equity over the term of a loan / mortgage. Read all about it here!

Second is our IRA Conversion feature – you can now model the conversion of a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA and see if it would be a long-term benefit to you.

Just a reminder, we are constantly rolling – out new features, so be sure to log on frequently – and don’t forget to update your progress while you’re there!

Don’t wait any longer, get OnTrajectory todayLog On Now »

New Feature Alert: More & Better HELP!

You’ve probably noticed these little guys –>  <– showing up all over OnTrajectory.

Each one launches you into a Guide right where you need to be. ‘Context-sensitive’ is what they call it, which really means you don’t have to go to the Main Menu  to find information — you can get it fast, when you need it.

Once you’re in a Guide, you’ll now see a handy Table of Contents at the top of each. These are all linked inside the Guide, again to help you both see what information is available, but also to get to it quickly — see sample below:

Finally, All Guides — Table of Contents” is now located in the Main Menu. The list of topics continues to grow every month as new features are released, here is the current Guide list:

1. Getting Started with OnTrajectory
2. Modeling Income

3. Modeling Expenses
4. Modeling Accounts & Taxes
5. Adding a Spouse / Owner
6. Tracking Progress
7. Setting Goals
8. Monte Carlo and Historical Analysis

9. Creating and Managing Scenarios
10. Understanding Output Data


Please be aware that NO information contained in this communication should be considered investing advice. All financial information is solely for educational purposes. Please see your own professional for personal investment advice.
Our mailing address is: questions@OnTrajectory.com