AskRetire!® is a comprehensive macro driven spreadsheet program written in Excel® and Lotus® formats. The program walks the user through the different screens with built in directions and examples for the user to answer all the questions needed to determine retirement possibilities. The program offers a clear concise insight on whether the user can retire comfortably based on input. With the ability to use either the macro buttons built into the spreadsheet, along with worksheet tabs, the user can back up, go forward, and or begin from any point within the program. The user will accomplish, at the end of the session, a one page summary detailing if the user’s earnings from investments earnings will be in excess of projected living expenses on a monthly basis, or whether the user will have to use a portion of their savings along with earnings to reach the desired retirement spending goal, and how many years that will last.
With this valuable tool, the user can save their information, return when they have a new 401k or other investment statements and continue with constant updates. The user can play what ifs, to determine the benefit of simple or complex changes in savings plans. Some examples may be:
• What if I add another half percent to my annual 401k plan?
• What if I add another $50 to a monthly stock purchase plan?
• What if I want to retire one or two years earlier than original?
• What if I want to retire at a higher level of living status than I currently have, to afford travel?
• What will different levels of inflation do to my retirement plan?
The number and types of questions and scenarios are only limited to the user’s ability to understand the concepts of planning model, and their individual ideas of ways to plan for retirement. AskRetire!® is not intended to replace professional advice on different types of investments that are available as provided by the user’s own research or investment advisors. However, once the investment types are picked by either the user or the investment advisor, the program will be able to incorporate these with other current investments and evaluate what earnings potential is needed to reach the final retirement income level. Also after the user has invested in suggested investments, and later earnings statements are received, the user can enter current investments balances and earnings since the last update, and compare to see if they are performing to the levels necessary.
AskRetire!® is programmed in Microsoft® Excel 2003 and Lotus 123® Release 9 for Windows. Hardware requirements are Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2003, Window XP or higher, with normal memory and storage availability. You need to be sure your security level in Excel or Lotus is set low enough to enable the macros to run.
The programs are designed to run in a particular directory that will have to be set up on the C: drive. The required directory is Retire, and the directory path will need to be C:\Retire.