In the world of computer modeling it is important that the user
have some faith in the credibility of the model. How well
does the model represents the real world and how useful are its
predictions and implementation plans? One measure of a model's
usefulness is the safety in numbers approach; i.e. are other
people finding the model useful?
Below are some of the ORP user comments that have been received
over the years. Not included are questions about the specifics in
using ORP; these are addressed on ORP's FAQ page. Nor are suggestions
for enhancements included; for the most part these have been
considered and, in many cases, implemented.
I'm a big fan of your site. It has helped me to
adjust my strategy for retirement savings in subtle ways
that will pay off big down the road. It is great to see
someone taking a linear programming and optimization approach
to retirement accumulation and withdrawal. I suspect many
folks out there don't even realize how much better that
approach is than a traditional retirement calculator.
07/20/2018 - Larry
I really like your i-orp site. It's the most comprehensive I've
seen anywhere. I'm about to retire and it's been very helpful in
preparation. I've found it's a very complex balancing act to get
the most out of finances. Given we're not eligible for medicare
yet, it gets even more complex with the ACA cliff. The numbers get
weird because taxes, aca, capital gains, etc are all based on "income"
and in retirement I'm really driven by expenses not income and can
control income. The less I spend, the more things are covered. It's
07/03/2018 - Martin
First - your website is a fabulous public service.
It's the best retirement modelling program I've seen, by far.
Many, many thanks.
Second - I encourage you to consider adding a
"check-box" that would let users assume that the TCJA individual
tax rates sunset at the end of 2025. That's likely to have a
material impact on the ORP analysis for many users, especially
those contemplating Roth conversions in the near term.
Needless to say, I share your belief that TCJA
is more appropriately called the "Trump Relief for
the Wealthy Tax Scam." Sooner or later, the chickens will come
home to roost, and tax rates will rise. (I also thought
that Trump could never win.)
Finally - I do hope that you consider finding a volunteer
to follow you as web master.
There are lots of people who share my opinion of ORP and
would hate to see it go away.
(I also recognize that as a free rider, I don't have much
standing to make this suggestion!)
05/15/2018 -- JohnFiscal - Bogleheads
I always recommend using the (free) web based ORP program
(www.i-orp.com). It takes into account SS, RMDs, Taxes etc,
to find the optimal amount of money available for spending each year,
and optimizes from which accounts to draw from. It is very
sophisticated and it will do exactly what you are looking at.
I have spent a lot of hours with ORP, as well with the MMSS software
Maximize My Social Security)
I found a few bugs in MMSS that have been reported, they are great
to work with but a bit slow on bug fixes. Kotlikoff is a font of
information on SS. The thing is, SS might be "maximized" but at
the cost of other income, taxes, etc. the ORP program takes this
all into account (perhaps the new. more advanced software from
Kotlikoff does this as well).
In my investigations with ORP I found that using the tricks in
combination of delaying SS and performing Roth conversions provided
relatively little real benefit. I think it is a real benefit to have
the larger SS benefit that can be due to a survivor in later years.
But in terms of the spendable dollars based on doing the Roth conversions
and delaying SS made a minimal difference in spendable money (in my case
on the order of $1,000 a year, but I'll take it!). You can investigate this
by manually changing the age at which you take SS.
I think the premise of the MMSS software is, well, you really
have to consider everything, not one little view of the prism.
03/21/2018 -- Laura R.
I just ran I-ORP again as my husband closes his business and
we are packing up to leave and travel as long as we can.
I can't thank you enough for ORP's guidance. It has been
exactly what I needed. ORP gave me excellent guidance to get here,
and will for the next few years as I work on continued IRA2ROTH conversions.
I've tried to encourage others to use your tool and pay attention
to what it offers. We've been lucky to notice the problem of being
so heavy in untaxed assets, and needing to start IRA2ROTH conversions early.
But I was flying by the seat of my pants, guessing at how much
was enough. Until your tool, I was much too timid in making
conversions. After a lifetime of avoiding taxes to put as much
as possible in the accounts, it required a change of mind to pay more taxes.
And I'm anxious to convert as much as possible early,
because I know the tax rates will have to be raised to cover
the $1 TRILLION dollars this administration just borrowed for
their first year.
So, as I launch into a new life of Global Nomad, I won't be
haunting your site nearly so often. And I wanted to be sure to
let you know how much of a difference in our lives your work has
made. I've got more certainty about how much we can spend, and a
game plan to squeeze the juice from the savings we've worked hard
02/24/2018 -- Birtha O
I googled financial calculators. No others were truly
useful except to funnel you to their financial advisor. Please
don't sell to a big company. You are the only complete one left.
Financial Engines has changed. It used to be good.
02/21/2018 -- Larry C
I have used the extended ORP (and associated 3-PEAT and
Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis tools) for a few years.
Your model allowed me to develop a better understanding of
how taxes effect my retirement finances (and attendant plan
risks). Based on that analysis I decided (two years ago)
to make a significant IRA-to-Roth conversion before
circumstances (starting social security income and RMDs
at age 70) moved me into a higher tax bracket.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to say I appreciate
that you provide the citations for your modeling development
and parameter defaults. In particular, I enjoyed the research
behind the four variants you identify from your base case
constant (inflation-driven) spending scenario. It was
educational to learn about the academic research into the
populationís retirement spending behavior.
02/19/2018 -- Steven B
I have been working with this tool for the past
few weeks planning for my imminent retirement. By far, I find this
tool to be the best resource available to me in planning my withdrawal
patterns. As a former programmer, and certified IT Specialist, I'm
very impressed with the sophistication of the algorithms and
programming techniques used.
02/06/2018 -- Nick S
First off, let me say that this is a great tool. The first free
one I've found (though I may have missed some) that allow for
spouse's age and income in such a comprehensive way.
12/26/2017 -- Jeffery S
I have tried to use Wealth Trace, but I prefer ORP.
I have now visited with 3 cpa's AND 2 CFP's with less result than your program
offers. They seem to be less knowledgeable than what your software provides me.
12/21/2017 -- John E
I have used Vanguard's planning tools and found FIREcalc
to be useful. I've also used ESPlanner, too expensive and wishing
I had not purchased it. I've tried a few of the spreadsheet
programs talked about on the Bogleheads forum, however, have found
them to be complicated. Your program, ORP is my favorite retirement
income planner! I have found it to be comprehensive and relatively
straight-forward, producing results that are easy to understand.
10/29/2017 -- LeeMKE
ALL my retirement savings are in tax-deferred accounts. $0 taxable.
And I'm thrilled to have socked away my savings when I was in higher
tax brackets. Now, I'm working on ROTH conversions, sopping up the
last bits of our tax bracket, before things change and we have
enough ordinary income from pensions and social security to
slide up into the next higher bracket.
My Fidelity advisor first noticed this, and recommended we
start conversions. I was facing both serious RMDs and heavy
taxation of Social Security for about 5 years in my 80s.
(about 40% "tax hump")
But all that has been wiped out, with modest IRA to ROTH
conversions (modest to me, HUGE to others who wait too long
before looking at this issue). As we begin withdrawals from
the IRA/401k accounts, we'll balance with ROTH funds to
manage our tax bracket.
Then, I found I-ORP, and by using it, have tucked
ourselves down into the 15% tax bracket for our retirement.
I-ORP works great for folks in their 50s. I'm following the
recommendations and feeling confident I'm ready for whatever
new tax laws come next.
I-ORP.com is a tool designed to evaluate this exact
situation and render better advice than the OP has gotten.
It is free.
Run it NOW because the advice saves you the most money
when you have a few years before retirement to work with.
10/12/2017 -- Jeffrey
I am a recently retired nuclear engineer.
It's been several years since I first found ORP via an internet search for
retirement planners. As I recall it was one of several recommended
ones but I can't recall the exact source. I tried it and liked it.
My 401K gives me access to
the Financial Engines calculator and the
Fidelity calculator is available to me.
Unfortunately those two are all about accumulation, not distribution
like ORP and that's what I like about ORP. Although it took a little
studying to understand, ORP opened my eyes to the idea of Roth
conversions during my post-retirement, pre-Social Security years,
and tax bracket control throughout retirement. With the ORP report
laying it out for me, I feel much more in control of my retirement
funding and confident that I'm making the right financial moves.
I will continue to use ORP and update it regularly as my retirement
years proceed and, obviously, as things change.
07/28/2017 -- Mark
ORP tracks my spreadsheet model almost exactly (within 1%) through a
36 year planning horizon. The main difference being that my model
uses income from the after tax account to leave spare room in the
15% bracket to convert (I'm one of those people who can't stand
the huge tax bill all at once).
I say this to emphasize that ORP is the only planner
I have found flexible enough to match our situation.
07/27/2017 -- Bill
I tried many of the free calculators and found them insufficiently
detailed, accurate, and useful. Because I worked for GE and Fidelity
managed my GE 401K, I had access to Fidelity's Retirement Income Planner
(RIP ... I guess the author did not consider the acronym when naming a
tool to be used by people nearing, at or beyond 65 years of age).
That was the best tool I found, until ORP. But RIP had many
shortcomings including lack of sufficient inputs to accommodate
all but the most "general use" cases. GIGO ... so, in the end, RIP
was not worth the time to run it.
ORP, on the other hand, covers a VERY wide range of application
space and with its option to run in "simple" and "detailed" mode,
ORP will satisfy the entire range of user knowledge, sophistication, etc.
07/27/2017 -- Mike
BEST and easiest planner I've found anywhere. Like updated GUI.
New 3-PEAT is great upgraded capability to do sensitivity analysis
based on historical data and yearly planning.
07/25/2017 -- Jon
There's really no other retirement planning software I am
preferring at this point. I am using last year's TurboTax
software to model the effect of this year's Roth IRA
conversions on taxes. So far the numbers are very close
07/25/2017 -- Jay
ORP is the only retirement calculator I use, usually about once a
month just to be
sure I'm understanding how our money is flowing. Before I retired
(2+years ago) I used every calculator I could find, mostly to
convince myself that we would have enough money to be able to retire.
At a certain point I discovered ORP and it just made sense for how
I look at finances. The way I see it, retirement spending is
just an ongoing cash flow problem, and ORP provides great insight
into how my cash needs to flow!
07/10/2017 -- Len
By the way, thanks to ORP (and my accountant firm agreed with you),
I started converting IRA to Roth, but I have to stagger this to avoid
higher tax brackets.
05/16/2017 -- Dave
I meet with accountant earlier this week and he confirmed the tax part of ORP's formula appeared to be correct based on current tax law. He did not fully analysis it, but in general he agreed.
03/29/2017 -- Stephen
Just a simple thank you Mr. Welch for offering your work to users here in cyberspace. I'm about to retire, working hard to get educated and take the right steps...and your tool is a HUGE help. Please know that you are helping many people make good decisions and take care of their families...we all deeply appreciate your generosity
03/27/2017 -- Jeff
I heard about ORP while reading a post about CFIRESim on the subreddit /r/financial independence. Most readers of that subreddit are in their early 30's and are convinced that we live in a clockwork universe that will allow them to retire before age 40 and provide a reliable income stream for 50 years. I myself am on the cusp of 60 and trying to convince myself that I could be happy without going to work!
Your program has been very helpful to me in solving for the problem of sequencing a Roth conversion of my 401K while minimizing (a hopefully long-term) tax exposure.
Now if only I could eliminate my sequence risk everything would be fine!
02/25/2017 -- William
I heard about your program from an early retirement blog. I have explored a number of other models such as the Flexible Retirement Planner, ESP Planner and a few others. I came across yours after all these others and wish I had found yours first!! It is by far the best explained, easy to use and has results that are easy to understand and clear. I have been able (for the most part) to model the scenarios that I wish to explore.
02/22/2017 -- Richard
I learned about ORP simply by searching the internet for any kind of help I could find on this vexing, yet critically important subject - how do I fund retirement from several different accounts in the most tax efficient way. I had no expectation of finding something as good as ORP!
02/16/2017 -- Artie
I am nearing retirement, and, as a research scientist (Ph.D.-chemistry) I am drawn to approaches that provide for long-term and detailed planning strategies for the lengthy retirement period I hope to have. The ORP planner is a great tool and I have performed many what-if scenarios with it.
01/20/2017 -- JD
I'm a long time user, perhaps 10 years". What appealed to me initially was that it was browser based since I use Linux and most calculators are Windows-based.
01/17/2017 -- Michael R.
I have run some simulations with your calculator and have found it extremely helpful. Even though it tells me I'm going to have to pay more taxes going forward! My wife says thank you on behalf of concerned spouses everywhere as it gives her peace of mind AND keeps me busy and out of her hair.
01/08/2017 -- Eric H.
I run several [ORP] cases each year when I make our family financial plans and continue to find it a great tool. I recommend it often to my friends. I find the Roth conversion functionality very useful and something that I don't find in other programs I've used. I also find the Federal Tax Bracket Report something I really pay attention to so am glad you update I-ORP for new tax laws. The help pages also have been excellent in answering questions I had on the input and make using the tool quite easy.
Comments from 2009-2016