Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
A very useful tool
on July 31, 2012
I have been using this program for about 4 years. Major updates cost money, so get your use out of this when you first get running. There is a slight learning curve. I downloaded about 4 retirement programs and tried each one. The Torrid product was the easiest to use. I wanted the Monte Carlo simulation feature, though I could not explain why. So after demonstrating the trial version for a couple days, I purchased the "couple's edition".
I am pretty happy with the program and love the ability to play "what if" with income and investments and see what major affect your actions will have in 30 years. I can't imagine going to an investment counselor, now that I understand how this program works. I am a control freak, so I like to know how results are derived. Besides, I can make small changes at any time and see the impact on the future.
That being said, the program is not perfect. It get's better with each major upgrade, but it needs some tweaking. Some issues I have is you can't drill down and confirm what expense items make up a year's allowance. Up front, you can input any paramater like "health care premiums", and then input an estimate for annual inflation increases before retirement and during retirement. Near end of life (2030?), our total annual expenses are 4X higher than at age 62! But, you can't go into the very detailed "spreadsheet" tab and find out how much of that increase is health care premiums. I tell you, inflation is a killer.
Also, there is no way to save a file like "early retirement at age 62" and then save another file like "retirement at age 66". You only can save one file per couples edition (I assume the professional edition lets you save multiple files). To play major "what if" scenarios with different retirement plans, you have to enter the differing expenses (and incomes) for every conceivable event, and then you check or uncheck which items apply to different scenarios. Changing from once scenario to another can take hours. The writer claims he will make such a change in the 2013 edition. Would be nice to have it sooner. But, at least you can input and change variable expenses and still get very useful results.
The hardest thing about the whole experience, is deciding at what age do you "end the program." It's pretty earie to have to guess when you or your spouse might kick the bucket. We don't plan to leave much money to anyone (sorry friends and cats), so this is an important decision. I did find an online questionaire via Google search that lets you enter lifestyle and heriditary information and it calculates your estimated life. I took those results, added one year, and that's the plan I am using. Hope I can live up to THE PLAN!