Fall 2020 Newsletter (with Summary of Changes for PRC2021)
A New Website is Coming for 2021
The Pralana Retirement Calculator website is being modernized for 2021 and should be on-line sometime in December. It will continue to present educational material on retirement calculators in general, and information on Pralana tools to prospective customers in particular, but will bring some new features as well. Pralana will no longer be relying on third-party services such as SendOwl for handling the purchase and download transactions and the new website will feature an improved interface for the managing the Gold customer database. Member accounts will be established immediately upon purchasing a Pralana license and users will have the ability to select their own passwords which will not change from year to year as in the past. Further, a user forum is being implemented so that users can share best practices and help each other in dealing with questions or issues encountered while trying to use either the Gold or Bronze calculators. More information on the Forum will be forthcoming in a subsequent newsletter. I will, of course, still be available for addressing and resolving errors and answering user questions as necessary, but am hopeful that the forum will provide another useful dimension to Pralana user support.
The new user database will be initialized with the credentials for all users holding PRC2019 and PRC2020 Gold licenses as well as any users entitled to free upgrades to PRC2021 Gold (those doing full-price purchases of PRC2020 late in the model year). When this occurs, those individuals will receive an automatically-generated email notifying them that new Pralana accounts have been established and will provide a link that can be followed to login and change the temporary password as desired. Old usernames will be retained and will not be changeable. License credentials for older models of Pralana Gold probably won’t be imported and therefore the new website won’t support downloads of those older models. Nevertheless, those products will still be supported. If you hold a license to one of those products and need support, including a fresh download, just send me an email and I’ll deal with it manually.
Pralana member accounts will be established for anyone taking a Pralana Bronze download and this will enable access to the Forum.
Pralana Bronze 2021
The free Bronze calculator will continue to be offered in 2021 and, in fact, it will be necessary for Bronze users to replace their old version with the new one if they desire to continue using the Bronze tool after January 1. The reason for this is that the Bronze calculator contains an end-of-life feature that prevents it from operating after a built-in kill date (January 1, 2021), put there to give me the capability to terminate the free service should I ever elect to do that. It will not be necessary for you to hurry to do this upgrade, though, because Bronze 2021 can import the data from Bronze 2019 even after January 1.
Bronze 2021 is virtually identical to Bronze 2019 from the user perspective but contains some internal changes.
Pralana Gold 2021
The Pralana Gold 2021 calculator has been re-engineered this year but the most significant visible changes and new features are:
- Provides the ability to automatically optimize Roth conversions to determine the best conversion percentages and tax-bracket limits to use to maximize lifetime savings
- modeling of the relative value of money in Roth and tax-deferred accounts (i.e., spending power) to provide further insight into the assessment of potential benefits of Roth conversions
- provides the ability to optimize withdrawal order to automatically determine the best withdrawal order over three different time periods to yield maximum lifetime savings
- modeling of Home Equity/HELOC Loans
- modeling of cash-out refinancing on rental properties
- allows for the use of separate asset classes and allocations for husband and wife tax-deferred accounts
- provides the ability to execute Monte Carlo and historical analyses separately for improved performance on your preferred analysis method
- implements a new variable spending strategy based on an actuarial method
- provides user-controlled ROR's for HSA's and 529 plans rather than being tied to the ROR used for regular investment accounts
- provides a new quick-look capability that enables you to see the long-term effects (including effects on overall asset allocation) of changes on key pages without having to navigate over to the primary tabular projection pages
- improved import performance
- AGI and itemized deductions are now included in Tabular Projections views (rather than being hidden under Graphical Projections)
The re-engineering of Pralana Gold is related to making it easier to maintain and modify going forward. This is totally invisible to users of the tool but makes it more practical for me to bring in partners to assist (or replace) me in the support of Pralana Gold in coming years.
Pralana Gold pricing is unchanged for 2021: new purchases are still $99 and upgrades from the prior model year are still $49.