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Maximize your retirement disposable income
with the Optimal Retirement Planner (ORP)

Retirement Income Management

Employer managed pensions are disappearing. Self directed individual retirement accounts are flowering in their stead. The responsibility for managing your retirement saving is shifting from professional pension managers to you.

Withdrawals from your Tax-deferred retirement savings account (401K, IRA, SEP, etc.) and other sources of income (Social Security income, pensions, etc.) are subject to personal income tax.

The order and amounts in which you make annual withdrawals from your tax-deferred, Roth IRA, and taxable accounts affects your total retirement disposable income.

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The Essential ORP Narrative

  1. Essential ORP asks for the basic facts of your retirement income situation and computes an optimal savings withdrawal schedule using policy and forecast parameters that are the consensus of professional financial advisors.

    info icon  K stands for thousands of dollars
    (example: $10,000 = $10K, enter 10 in the box)

    Retiree Spouse

    Current Age(s)

    Tax-deferred Savings (IRA, 401K, etc,) $K $K
    Tax-deferred Maximum Annual Contribution $K $K

    Roth IRA Savings $K $K
    Roth IRA Maximum Annual Contribution $K $K

    Regular Savings and Brokerage Accounts. $K
    Maximum Annual Contribution of All Types $K

    Social Security Benefits at Full Retirement Age $K $K

    Illiquid Assets

    Home Other
    Value of Home or Business $K $K
    Cost Basis - Originally Cost, for Tax Purposes. $K $K
    Mortgage or Loan - Balance due at sale $K $K
  2. Essential ORP applies conventional wisdom to your retirement policy issues:
    • Assume constant retirement spending, adjusted each year to account for inflation.
    • Begin Social Security Benefits at age 67, probably your Full Retirement Age.
    • Retire at age 67, when your Social Security Income begins.
    • Allocate 60% of savings to stock and 40% to fixed income at the beginning of retirement. Gradually reduce stock allocation to zero at the end.
    • Sell your house and/or business, if any, at age 80.
    • Set your planning horizon to age 92, the Joint Life and Last Survivor Expectancy for a 65 year old married couple, according to the IRS.
    • No savings are left at the end of the plan.
    • Excludes IRA to Roth IRA conversions. At least one quantitative study (See page 47) reports that conversions offer little economic advantage but their dramatic increase in taxes paid in early retirement tends to panic the novice.
  3. Essential ORP uses financial professionals' consensus values for exogenous economic parameters:
    • 2.5% rate of inflation, the Federal Reserve's stated target.
    • 7% is the 10 year Rate of Return (ROR) for popular S&P 500 index funds as reported by Zacks.
    • 3.5% Moody's . Aaa Corporate Bond Yield.

Essential ORP's assumptions can be tailored to your situation by Extended ORP.

About ORP

The Optimal Retirement Income Planner (ORP) uses the facts of your individual situation to compute a tax-efficient savings withdrawal schedule that maximizes your retirement disposable income. ORP uses the same Linear Programming technology that Operations Research practitioners have been using in industrial applications (e.g. petro chemical) for more than 50 years.

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Why use ORP

ORP projects a retirement plan to maximize your retirement disposable income. (If you already think you know your retirement spending needs then FIRECalc.com will estimate when your savings will run out.)

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How to use ORP

  1. Each input form parameter has a help document associated with it. Click the parameters label to see the parameter's help.
  2. Except for Retiree's Current Age, all form entries are optional and may be left blank. ORP supplies a default value for blank fields on the form.
  3. Single retirees do not fill in the Spouse column.
  4. Where appropriate ORP provides for separate accounts for husband and wife. The accounts appear in two columns, labeled Retiree and Spouse. For example, retiree and spouse have separate IRAs, and Roth IRAs but the couple shares a common taxable account.
  5. A married retiree with a stay-at-home spouse should still fill in Spouse's age even though all other values in the Spouse column will remain blank. Spouse's age is used to compute Social Security spousal benefits and income taxes.
  6. All dollar amounts are in thousands of dollars. For example $10,000 of annual Social Security benefits is entered as 10.
  7. A percentage is entered as an integer and fraction. For example 32.5% is entered as 32.5 and not .325.
  8. Ages are entered as integers.