Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

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Admiral
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Admiral » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am

My spouse has set up a meeting (no cost for the initial meeting) with a financial (really retirement) planner. I don’t think we need it (I have Bogleheads!) Here are the particulars of our situation that we plan to discuss:

Ages
Me: 47 later this year
Spouse: 49
Children: Ages 14 and 11

Desired age to stop full-time work/my age at FIRE
Me: 58/59 or whenever youngest child is out of college
Spouse: no specific year but likely not at the same time as me, probably later

If spouse continues to work full time, salary will likely cover all expenses.

What follows would be our financial picture if we BOTH stop working in 11-12 years

Retirement Expense Needs (after tax, current dollars)
Base estimate, limited travel: $60-70k
Low estimate: $80k/year
High estimate (lots of travel, desired): $120k per year

Retirement Income Estimates
Current vested pension, spouse, claiming at her age 60 (assuming separation from current employer, but can collect while working for another employer): $25k
Likely vested pension if serves another 6 years at current salary: $41k
-Municipal pension, not private or Federal. It is underfunded (of course) but not likely to disappear
-Note pension is non COLAd: the amount at time of claiming is the amount, therefore has inflation risk (100% survivor benefit)


Social Security
Me, claiming at age 70: Max at that time, likely $40k in current dollars
Spouse, claiming at her age 67 (my age 65): Max for FRA, 36k in current dollars

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 65-70
Low estimate: 61k (pension + spouse SS)
Likely estimate: 77k (pension + spouse SS)

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 70 onward
Low estimate: 101k
Likely estimate: 117k

So, as you can see, overall we are well covered for the lifestyle we want with guaranteed income from age 70 onward.

Now to the Investments

Current total appx 700k
Taxable: 90-100k
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 466k
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 133k
529 plans (about 35k* see note)

Current annual savings
49k, breakdown:
$18.5k Spouse 457
$18.5k me 403b
$12k Employer match

*Note: Our 529 balance is relatively low because my employer will pay about 24k per year of tuition costs for each child, so we plan to cash flow the rest or use taxable or Roth, or gifts from grandparents

Projected balances with 6% real return, 11-12 years, with continuing contributions (plus catchups which will be directed to Roth)
TOTAL: $2.3m (appx)
Taxable: unknown could be zero, could be 120k, depends on college costs and whether we can cashflow
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 1.8m
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 426k


So, as you can see our withdrawal needs are minimal: around 3% for a few years from my age 58 onward, 1% or even below that when SS kicks in. Even with negative real return over the next 10 years, we’d still be at $1.5m which is more than enough.

None of this includes expected inheritances within 20 years or so, which would be over $1m likely

Now, to the planning issues

1) If we stick to our pre-tax savings plan and rates (with catchups going to Roth not pre-tax) our RMDs will be significant: over 80k initially and then growing substantially. Should we do more Roth now…as much as I hate paying taxes this is a consideration
2) Ideally, in the bridge years (age 58-mid 60s), we’d have more in taxable to use for living expenses. Currently we don’t save much in taxable because we have high annual costs, mostly private school tuition.
3) Should we save more in Roth to be used for college if we can’t cash flow what we need?

In general, my spouse thinks we are saving too much. And, admittedly, we do juggle things every year to get the private school tuition paid, it is a lot of money. But I hate paying taxes if I don't have to. My fear is that with the SS and pension income we are going to end up in a similar tax bracket. We were at 27% marginal, with the new law we're probably 24%. There is no state tax on SS or pensions in our state presently.

delamer
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by delamer » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:47 am

If your wife thinks that you are oversaving then the meeting with the planner may be an attempt to find someone who agrees with her as a counterpoint. Nothing wrong with that, if it isn’t going to cost you anything.

However, there is likely room for compromise on savings. Don’t max out your savings (per her preference) but don’t reduce below a comfortable percentage (per your prefernce).

You keep talking about how you hate paying taxes. But it can’t be avoided. At best, with some planning and some luck, you may be able to lower the amount. However, don’t make bad decisions about investing and savings because you can’t stand paying taxes today.

1) It is good to have both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts in retirement.

2) The problem is your penchant for avoiding taxes now and saving in tax-deferred, not high tuition costs.

3) Why not add to the 529 for college? You have several options listed but none of them is a plan — maybe this or maybe that won’t get you there. You have 14 year old; how are you going to pay for his/her college? That should not be hard to figure out.

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Sandtrap
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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:48 am

FIrst: make everyone aware (DW and Advisor at meeting, etc) that, in no uncertain terms, no decision will be made or contract signed or money paid for financial services until you have a consult with Vanguard VPAS services.
That will buy you time and also make it known where you stand when it comes to paying for a financial planner or wealth manager or . . . ..

mahalo,
j :D

smitcat
Posts: 1879
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by smitcat » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:00 pm

Admiral wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am
My spouse has set up a meeting (no cost for the initial meeting) with a financial (really retirement) planner. I don’t think we need it (I have Bogleheads!) Here are the particulars of our situation that we plan to discuss:

Ages
Me: 47 later this year
Spouse: 49
Children: Ages 14 and 11

Desired age to stop full-time work/my age at FIRE
Me: 58/59 or whenever youngest child is out of college
Spouse: no specific year but likely not at the same time as me, probably later

If spouse continues to work full time, salary will likely cover all expenses.

What follows would be our financial picture if we BOTH stop working in 11-12 years

Retirement Expense Needs (after tax, current dollars)
Base estimate, limited travel: $60-70k
Low estimate: $80k/year
High estimate (lots of travel, desired): $120k per year

Retirement Income Estimates
Current vested pension, spouse, claiming at her age 60 (assuming separation from current employer, but can collect while working for another employer): $25k
Likely vested pension if serves another 6 years at current salary: $41k
-Municipal pension, not private or Federal. It is underfunded (of course) but not likely to disappear
-Note pension is non COLAd: the amount at time of claiming is the amount, therefore has inflation risk (100% survivor benefit)


Social Security
Me, claiming at age 70: Max at that time, likely $40k in current dollars
Spouse, claiming at her age 67 (my age 65): Max for FRA, 36k in current dollars

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 65-70
Low estimate: 61k (pension + spouse SS)
Likely estimate: 77k (pension + spouse SS)

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 70 onward
Low estimate: 101k
Likely estimate: 117k

So, as you can see, overall we are well covered for the lifestyle we want with guaranteed income from age 70 onward.

Now to the Investments

Current total appx 700k
Taxable: 90-100k
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 466k
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 133k
529 plans (about 35k* see note)

Current annual savings
49k, breakdown:
$18.5k Spouse 457
$18.5k me 403b
$12k Employer match

*Note: Our 529 balance is relatively low because my employer will pay about 24k per year of tuition costs for each child, so we plan to cash flow the rest or use taxable or Roth, or gifts from grandparents

Projected balances with 6% real return, 11-12 years, with continuing contributions (plus catchups which will be directed to Roth)
TOTAL: $2.3m (appx)
Taxable: unknown could be zero, could be 120k, depends on college costs and whether we can cashflow
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 1.8m
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 426k


So, as you can see our withdrawal needs are minimal: around 3% for a few years from my age 58 onward, 1% or even below that when SS kicks in. Even with negative real return over the next 10 years, we’d still be at $1.5m which is more than enough.

None of this includes expected inheritances within 20 years or so, which would be over $1m likely

Now, to the planning issues

1) If we stick to our pre-tax savings plan and rates (with catchups going to Roth not pre-tax) our RMDs will be significant: over 80k initially and then growing substantially. Should we do more Roth now…as much as I hate paying taxes this is a consideration
2) Ideally, in the bridge years (age 58-mid 60s), we’d have more in taxable to use for living expenses. Currently we don’t save much in taxable because we have high annual costs, mostly private school tuition.
3) Should we save more in Roth to be used for college if we can’t cash flow what we need?

In general, my spouse thinks we are saving too much. And, admittedly, we do juggle things every year to get the private school tuition paid, it is a lot of money. But I hate paying taxes if I don't have to. My fear is that with the SS and pension income we are going to end up in a similar tax bracket. We were at 27% marginal, with the new law we're probably 24%. There is no state tax on SS or pensions in our state presently.
It looks like your questions # 1 & 2 can be modeled utilizing the IORP and RPM calculators. By changing the estimates of where you will be (pre tax vs Roth) you can see how the results would play out in todays dollars if you made that move. The IORP will do it quicker with less detail provided and the RPM with do the comparisons in more detail with more time required to set it up. Once I get near a set of inputs that look 'good' I print some out for baselines and continue to tweak the 'what ifs". In some cases (ours) it can be very eye opening to see what things like Roth conversions and one spouses demise (etc) can make to your spendable money in retirement.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Location: New York

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:08 pm

What is a RPM calculator? I've heard of I-ORP.

Using a 6% real return assumption is IMO, optimistic.

Saving too much? One can never save enough......

Don't get snookered into a variable annuity, if there is any mention of the words Whole Life Insurance and/or Annuities, get up and leave immediately. A retirement planner - is that the good drs. new title? :twisted:
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Tyler Aspect » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 pm

You are already in a good place. If your wife wanted to have more take home pay it should be OK to reduce yearly tax deferred contribution from $18.5k to $13k or so.
Past result does not predict future performance. Mentioned investments may lose money. Contents are presented "AS IS" and any implied suitability for a particular purpose are disclaimed.

NotWhoYouThink
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:58 pm

You mentioned your desired spending is $120K after tax, but you list your income before tax. Make sure you are taking into account taxes.

You probably want to do some Roth conversions between retirement and RMDs if possible, I was surprised by how much of that iORP recommended.

How about health insurance? Will your employers cover you before Medicare? We're looking at $3K/month for COBRA coverage, and not much less than that in the marketplace for much worse plans. Plus Medigap after age 65.

What happens after the free meeting? Is it free to tell the planner your story, but it costs to have a plan developed? That's not a bad model, and depending on the cost and the planner it might be worth it. Or not, it the planner if selling annuities. As mentioned above, make sure you practice your firm, unemotional, unshakeable "NO" about signing anything at the meeting.

Admiral
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Admiral » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:12 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:58 pm
You mentioned your desired spending is $120K after tax, but you list your income before tax. Make sure you are taking into account taxes.

You probably want to do some Roth conversions between retirement and RMDs if possible, I was surprised by how much of that iORP recommended.

How about health insurance? Will your employers cover you before Medicare? We're looking at $3K/month for COBRA coverage, and not much less than that in the marketplace for much worse plans. Plus Medigap after age 65.

What happens after the free meeting? Is it free to tell the planner your story, but it costs to have a plan developed? That's not a bad model, and depending on the cost and the planner it might be worth it. Or not, it the planner if selling annuities. As mentioned above, make sure you practice your firm, unemotional, unshakeable "NO" about signing anything at the meeting.
Our heath insurance will be covered by employer retiree heath plan. Not sure what you're referring to when you say "income." If you're referring to pension and SS, yes, those are taxable at Fed level. Clearly we will need some money from investments to get to 120k. The point is it's projected to be a very low withdrawal rate. 1-2%.

This is someone my MIL has used for many years (she's very high net worth). Basically, we're meeting to see if we even need them or if they can help us. Very informal. (I would never buy an annuity from anyone for any reason.) I would not use them if they demanded an AUM fee or anything like that. I could see them asking for $500-$1000 to develop a written plan directing our spending/saving/retirement planning.

My spouse basically wants someone who is not me to give us an objective view of our spending and savings, and to create a budget for us.

The problem with the conversion is that if my spouse decides to keep working our tax rate will be too high to take advantage of a low bracket for conversion. Yes, there may be a few years (maybe 5) to do conversions, but don't forget even with no W2 income we'll still have pension and SS (assuming spouse collects at 67). We could of course both delay until 70 if we wanted to take more from investments.

renue74
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by renue74 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:44 pm

Your wife is looking to outside guidance simply for the "are we doing things the right way?" Every few years my wife does the same thing.

We left our FA in 2015 after reading this wiki and forum. Knowing how to save and manage your money is way more important than relying on an FA to manage it.

Maybe the best effort is to get the FA to do a retirement analysis, pay the $500 or whatever it is, and that will validate your planning with your wife.

We did a one time analysis maybe about 7 or 8 years ago. It was interesting, but not eye opening at all.

WhyAmeriprise
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by WhyAmeriprise » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:39 pm

Admiral wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:12 pm
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:58 pm
What happens after the free meeting? Is it free to tell the planner your story, but it costs to have a plan developed? That's not a bad model, and depending on the cost and the planner it might be worth it. Or not, it the planner if selling annuities. As mentioned above, make sure you practice your firm, unemotional, unshakeable "NO" about signing anything at the meeting.
"FREE" meetings aren't free; there's a cost somewhere.

Ask him how he's compensated. Ask him what he recommends. Read the prospectus. There are gems there. You can't possibly sign the paperwork on the first visit... there's too much to read, and things that should be read after you've left the office with your notes of the verbal conversation.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:51 pm

Admiral wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am
Social Security
Me, claiming at age 70: Max at that time, likely $40k in current dollars
Spouse, claiming at her age 67 (my age 65): Max for FRA, 36k in current dollars
Just to play the devil here, SS has something they refer to as "maximum family benefits"; something around $54k. I've long wondered if it applies to a situation like yours?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

RetiredCSProf
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by RetiredCSProf » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:30 pm

My experience in meeting with financial planners is mixed. I've been told that financial planners either charge a fee for their time or earn commission by selling products. But not both.

The first financial planner with whom I met (at about age 60) charged fees AND peddled products. He charged $500 for the first meeting and a few years later charged $1500 for a follow-up meeting. Some of his recommendations were not useful to me. For example, when I asked if I should sell my house or remodel, he said to remodel, which turned how to be a financial disaster. When I was forced to retire at age 64, instead of encouraging me to Rotherize, he convinced me to move a portion of my 403B accounts into a managed rollover IRA, from which he received a fee. (I have since taken back the managed account.)

The second financial planner with whom I met is a friend and neighbor -- not pushy at all and helped me with setting up an LTC policy. She charged no fee for meeting with her. The first financial planner proposed the same LTC policy but coupled it with longevity insurance, which I did not want.

billfromct
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by billfromct » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:35 pm

I believe that "maximum family benefits" apply when collecting survivor or disability SS benefits by children and/or a non working spouse.

I do not believe there are "maximum family benefits" when a husband & wife are collecting SS benefits under their own work history with no minor children.

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I in SS details can better explain how "maximum family benefits" may apply in this situation.

bill

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Tyler Aspect » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:40 pm

Hmm, what do you think would happen if you phone in to cancel the meeting? Just tell your wife that you prefer unbiased anonymous advice from Bogleheads. That advice from people paid with asset under management fees cannot be trusted.
Past result does not predict future performance. Mentioned investments may lose money. Contents are presented "AS IS" and any implied suitability for a particular purpose are disclaimed.

Admiral
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by Admiral » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:21 pm

smitcat wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:00 pm
Admiral wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am
My spouse has set up a meeting (no cost for the initial meeting) with a financial (really retirement) planner. I don’t think we need it (I have Bogleheads!) Here are the particulars of our situation that we plan to discuss:

Ages
Me: 47 later this year
Spouse: 49
Children: Ages 14 and 11

Desired age to stop full-time work/my age at FIRE
Me: 58/59 or whenever youngest child is out of college
Spouse: no specific year but likely not at the same time as me, probably later

If spouse continues to work full time, salary will likely cover all expenses.

What follows would be our financial picture if we BOTH stop working in 11-12 years

Retirement Expense Needs (after tax, current dollars)
Base estimate, limited travel: $60-70k
Low estimate: $80k/year
High estimate (lots of travel, desired): $120k per year

Retirement Income Estimates
Current vested pension, spouse, claiming at her age 60 (assuming separation from current employer, but can collect while working for another employer): $25k
Likely vested pension if serves another 6 years at current salary: $41k
-Municipal pension, not private or Federal. It is underfunded (of course) but not likely to disappear
-Note pension is non COLAd: the amount at time of claiming is the amount, therefore has inflation risk (100% survivor benefit)


Social Security
Me, claiming at age 70: Max at that time, likely $40k in current dollars
Spouse, claiming at her age 67 (my age 65): Max for FRA, 36k in current dollars

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 65-70
Low estimate: 61k (pension + spouse SS)
Likely estimate: 77k (pension + spouse SS)

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 70 onward
Low estimate: 101k
Likely estimate: 117k

So, as you can see, overall we are well covered for the lifestyle we want with guaranteed income from age 70 onward.

Now to the Investments

Current total appx 700k
Taxable: 90-100k
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 466k
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 133k
529 plans (about 35k* see note)

Current annual savings
49k, breakdown:
$18.5k Spouse 457
$18.5k me 403b
$12k Employer match

*Note: Our 529 balance is relatively low because my employer will pay about 24k per year of tuition costs for each child, so we plan to cash flow the rest or use taxable or Roth, or gifts from grandparents

Projected balances with 6% real return, 11-12 years, with continuing contributions (plus catchups which will be directed to Roth)
TOTAL: $2.3m (appx)
Taxable: unknown could be zero, could be 120k, depends on college costs and whether we can cashflow
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 1.8m
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 426k


So, as you can see our withdrawal needs are minimal: around 3% for a few years from my age 58 onward, 1% or even below that when SS kicks in. Even with negative real return over the next 10 years, we’d still be at $1.5m which is more than enough.

None of this includes expected inheritances within 20 years or so, which would be over $1m likely

Now, to the planning issues

1) If we stick to our pre-tax savings plan and rates (with catchups going to Roth not pre-tax) our RMDs will be significant: over 80k initially and then growing substantially. Should we do more Roth now…as much as I hate paying taxes this is a consideration
2) Ideally, in the bridge years (age 58-mid 60s), we’d have more in taxable to use for living expenses. Currently we don’t save much in taxable because we have high annual costs, mostly private school tuition.
3) Should we save more in Roth to be used for college if we can’t cash flow what we need?

In general, my spouse thinks we are saving too much. And, admittedly, we do juggle things every year to get the private school tuition paid, it is a lot of money. But I hate paying taxes if I don't have to. My fear is that with the SS and pension income we are going to end up in a similar tax bracket. We were at 27% marginal, with the new law we're probably 24%. There is no state tax on SS or pensions in our state presently.
It looks like your questions # 1 & 2 can be modeled utilizing the IORP and RPM calculators. By changing the estimates of where you will be (pre tax vs Roth) you can see how the results would play out in todays dollars if you made that move. The IORP will do it quicker with less detail provided and the RPM with do the comparisons in more detail with more time required to set it up. Once I get near a set of inputs that look 'good' I print some out for baselines and continue to tweak the 'what ifs". In some cases (ours) it can be very eye opening to see what things like Roth conversions and one spouses demise (etc) can make to your spendable money in retirement.
I ran it through i-ORP. Interestingly it directs the vast majority of retirement contributions to taxable, letting the other accounts grow (with steady 6% growth I might add.) It then does large tax-deferred to Roth conversions from age 57 to 60, starting with 121k and ending at 94k at age 60. Meanwhile, it spends down the taxable at the same time. (I would presumably not do this if spouse was still working but I just told it she stopped working at 60.)

The problem is it's showing distributions of over 200k. CORRECTED: Sorry those are inflation adjusted dollars so that's probably correct.

The only way to limit withdrawals/distributions is to force it to leave an estate at x dollars, or to use the 3 Peat function, which I could not get to work.

smitcat
Posts: 1879
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Re: Help me NOT pay for a financial planner!

Post by smitcat » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:47 pm

Admiral wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:21 pm
smitcat wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:00 pm
Admiral wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am
My spouse has set up a meeting (no cost for the initial meeting) with a financial (really retirement) planner. I don’t think we need it (I have Bogleheads!) Here are the particulars of our situation that we plan to discuss:

Ages
Me: 47 later this year
Spouse: 49
Children: Ages 14 and 11

Desired age to stop full-time work/my age at FIRE
Me: 58/59 or whenever youngest child is out of college
Spouse: no specific year but likely not at the same time as me, probably later

If spouse continues to work full time, salary will likely cover all expenses.

What follows would be our financial picture if we BOTH stop working in 11-12 years

Retirement Expense Needs (after tax, current dollars)
Base estimate, limited travel: $60-70k
Low estimate: $80k/year
High estimate (lots of travel, desired): $120k per year

Retirement Income Estimates
Current vested pension, spouse, claiming at her age 60 (assuming separation from current employer, but can collect while working for another employer): $25k
Likely vested pension if serves another 6 years at current salary: $41k
-Municipal pension, not private or Federal. It is underfunded (of course) but not likely to disappear
-Note pension is non COLAd: the amount at time of claiming is the amount, therefore has inflation risk (100% survivor benefit)


Social Security
Me, claiming at age 70: Max at that time, likely $40k in current dollars
Spouse, claiming at her age 67 (my age 65): Max for FRA, 36k in current dollars

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 65-70
Low estimate: 61k (pension + spouse SS)
Likely estimate: 77k (pension + spouse SS)

Total guaranteed income, current dollars, Age 70 onward
Low estimate: 101k
Likely estimate: 117k

So, as you can see, overall we are well covered for the lifestyle we want with guaranteed income from age 70 onward.

Now to the Investments

Current total appx 700k
Taxable: 90-100k
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 466k
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 133k
529 plans (about 35k* see note)

Current annual savings
49k, breakdown:
$18.5k Spouse 457
$18.5k me 403b
$12k Employer match

*Note: Our 529 balance is relatively low because my employer will pay about 24k per year of tuition costs for each child, so we plan to cash flow the rest or use taxable or Roth, or gifts from grandparents

Projected balances with 6% real return, 11-12 years, with continuing contributions (plus catchups which will be directed to Roth)
TOTAL: $2.3m (appx)
Taxable: unknown could be zero, could be 120k, depends on college costs and whether we can cashflow
Tax deferred (457, 403b, rollover SEP): 1.8m
Tax free (Roth, includes some 403b and two Roth IRAs): 426k


So, as you can see our withdrawal needs are minimal: around 3% for a few years from my age 58 onward, 1% or even below that when SS kicks in. Even with negative real return over the next 10 years, we’d still be at $1.5m which is more than enough.

None of this includes expected inheritances within 20 years or so, which would be over $1m likely

Now, to the planning issues

1) If we stick to our pre-tax savings plan and rates (with catchups going to Roth not pre-tax) our RMDs will be significant: over 80k initially and then growing substantially. Should we do more Roth now…as much as I hate paying taxes this is a consideration
2) Ideally, in the bridge years (age 58-mid 60s), we’d have more in taxable to use for living expenses. Currently we don’t save much in taxable because we have high annual costs, mostly private school tuition.
3) Should we save more in Roth to be used for college if we can’t cash flow what we need?

In general, my spouse thinks we are saving too much. And, admittedly, we do juggle things every year to get the private school tuition paid, it is a lot of money. But I hate paying taxes if I don't have to. My fear is that with the SS and pension income we are going to end up in a similar tax bracket. We were at 27% marginal, with the new law we're probably 24%. There is no state tax on SS or pensions in our state presently.
It looks like your questions # 1 & 2 can be modeled utilizing the IORP and RPM calculators. By changing the estimates of where you will be (pre tax vs Roth) you can see how the results would play out in todays dollars if you made that move. The IORP will do it quicker with less detail provided and the RPM with do the comparisons in more detail with more time required to set it up. Once I get near a set of inputs that look 'good' I print some out for baselines and continue to tweak the 'what ifs". In some cases (ours) it can be very eye opening to see what things like Roth conversions and one spouses demise (etc) can make to your spendable money in retirement.
I ran it through i-ORP. Interestingly it directs the vast majority of retirement contributions to taxable, letting the other accounts grow (with steady 6% growth I might add.) It then does large tax-deferred to Roth conversions from age 57 to 60, starting with 121k and ending at 94k at age 60. Meanwhile, it spends down the taxable at the same time. (I would presumably not do this if spouse was still working but I just told it she stopped working at 60.)

The problem is it's showing distributions of over 200k. CORRECTED: Sorry those are inflation adjusted dollars so that's probably correct.

The only way to limit withdrawals/distributions is to force it to leave an estate at x dollars, or to use the 3 Peat function, which I could not get to work.
The IORP will try and mazimize your after tax spending no matter what you put in. So if you want to lower your yearly income the best bet is to ste varying estate amounts. Of course if you use different account % it wil tend tio drive the funds in that direction as well so running it with all accounts (tax deferred/ after tax/ Roth) at the same amount of anticipated earnings is another way to check the best model...
Of course when I model it with lower growth, ,higher inflation, or a single spouse in the future the strategy varies.

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