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Of course, there is plenty of financial software that can help you set a budget, save money for your children’s education, and even live the retirement of your dreams. But can these apps help you calculate your highest sustainable living standard?
This is what MaxiFi Planner aims to do. And we checked it out to see if it lives up to the hype (and if it’s worth the price). Let’s take a look…
Cost – 6
Customer service – 6
Ease of use – 8.5
Tools and resources – 8.5
Synchronization – 6
Accessibility – 9
We love how MaxiFi Planner can help its users plan for a high standard of living in retirement. However, this tool comes with a price and does not support bank sync.
- Useful analysis tools to help you organize your current financial situation
- It helps you create a future financial game plan to optimize retirement
- Run Monte Carlo simulations to see how different investment strategies can affect your wealth
- It helps to optimize the possible social security benefits
- There is no free plan or free trial available
- Annual renewal costs
What is MaxiFi Planner?
MaxiFi Planner takes the role of a financial planner and wraps it into a web-based computer program. The app has a simple and easy-to-understand interface for entering your data and gives you detailed yet easy-to-understand reports on the other end..
The application was created by Economic Security Planning, Inc. These are the same people who made the handy Maximize My Social Security tool (read our detailed review here). The founder and president of Financial Security Planning is Laurence Kotlikoff. He is co-author of the News from New York best seller, Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maximizing Your Social Security.
Like many personal finance apps, MaxiFi Planner analyzes your entire financial picture to give you the best estimate of your savings and how they will perform in retirement, while maintaining the same standard of living at all stages of your life.
However, it goes a few steps further than most free tools, which simply look at your money and give you an analysis of where you are today, making a future projection of what you can spend and withdraw in retirement. But these additional reports come at a price: $109 the first year and $89 in subsequent years.
MaxiFi works on the principles of the life cycle hypothesis, which holds that people want to maintain the same standard of living throughout their lives. This makes a lot of common sense. After all, why eat out at a fine dining restaurant every night if it means eating a can of beans every day in retirement?
How does MaxiFi Planner work?
MaxiFi Planner analyzes your entire financial life with its powerful tools. The setup process is pretty much identical to Maximize My Social Security, but once you set up your family’s information, everything else is a little different. Rather than focusing on income and Social Security potential, MaxiFi Planner takes a more holistic look at your money.
This tool looks at your current job, pensions, annuities, Social Security (not surprising since Maximize My Social Security offers it as a standalone tool), retirement accounts, real estate, vacation homes, and real estate investments, college and other planned expenses, and current assets to create a basic financial plan.
You can then look at a base plan or a maximized plan and compare different scenarios to decide what steps to take for your finances. Of course, these scenarios are based on the data you have entered. The app’s progress tracker can help you stay on target for your baseline scenario.
It will also give you suggestions on what steps you can take to improve your financial picture, whether it’s through career changes, housing decisions or any other choices you’ll have to make at any age.
Reports and projections are very useful. The app even creates an estimate of discretionary spending capacity during retirement. This is an important measure of quality of life for your golden years. You’ll get a report that you can export as a PDF or Excel file.
Features of the MaxiFi planner
As a premium tool, you get a batch of functions with MaxiFi Planner. The general idea is to create a financial game plan for every stage of your life. But some of the most notable features it offers include:
- A detailed breakdown of current and expected future earnings plus all your account balances
- A balance sheet that shows expected lifetime income and expected lifetime expenses
- Expected contributions to your various retirement accounts
- Pensions and social security benefits
- Annual retirement account withdrawal suggestions
- Annual help for calculating federal, state and FICA taxes
Once MaxiFi Planner creates this “Base Plan” for you, it starts optimizing your plan with its algorithm. The goal is to help you increase your annual discretionary spending limits, maximize tax efficiency, and improve your overall retirement life.
Again, it’s just a game plan, not a guarantee of success. But MaxiFi Planner has a handy progress tracker you can use to keep track of your investment, spending and savings goals. And there’s even a Monte Carlo simulation tool you can use to visualize how various investment strategies and financial habits affect your long-term finances.
How much does Maxifi Planner cost?
MaxiFi Planner costs $109 for the first year and $89 when renewing the standard plan. This plan unlocks most features, but you can upgrade to MaxiFi Planner Premium to use Monte Carlo simulations. The Premium plan costs $149 the first year and $109 upon renewal.
Financial advisors can also purchase MaxiFi Planner Pro for $599 the first year and $459 after renewal. This software is designed to help financial advisors create comprehensive financial plans for their clients and help them understand their retirement plans.
The standard MaxiFi Planner plan should suit most households unless you really want to play around with the various Monte Carlo simulations.
And while MaxiFi Planner is more expensive than budgeting apps like PocketSmith or free apps like Mint, it’s more than just a budgeting tool. The goal is to help you maximize your retirement income, tax benefits and create a solid financial game plan for life.
If you want some alternatives, you can consider using platforms like Personal Capital. It has budgeting tools, a helpful investment fee analyzer, a net worth tracker, and tons of free financial tools and calculators.
Review my divorce settlement
I also went ahead and looked at a sister tool to the MaxFi planner.
Analyze My Divorce Settlement does exactly what the name suggests: it helps you analyze a divorce settlement to understand if you’re getting the dirty end of the deal. It includes a look at children, income of both spouses, assets, housing and other important details to better understand the results.
Analyze My Divorce Agreement costs $99 to use. You can also purchase a premium package, which includes 10 hours of personal assistance, for $1,500.
Analyzing My Divorce Agreement is relatively simple and easy to use, although, like a divorce, it requires some patience. The entries for a divorce settlement are quite comprehensive and detailed. Input screens include children, income, assets, retirement, residency, alimony and child support, future expenses, pensions, and Social Security. It even has options to modify the assumptions.
The output is a set of reports for each spouse. Reports include a combination of information-rich charts, graphs, and tables. The list of reports includes average discretionary spending, annual tips, regular assets, total spending, nondiscretionary spending, total income, non-estate income, Social Security, taxes, housing, reserve funds, retirement accounts, equity and net worth. Most reports show a view over time, if applicable.
If you want a great example of truth in advertising, the names of these products tell you exactly what they do. MaxiFi Planner helps you with financial planning for your future.
This product (as well as Analyze My Divorce Settlement) is simple and easy to use. It provides useful insight into your financial future if you take the time to thoroughly enter your financial data. If you do, you’ll end up with a holistic picture of what you can expect.
Please note that MaxiFi Planner is not for everyone. If you just want a casual look at your finances, or if you just want a budget planner to help you get through the month, this is probably more than you need. In this case, apps like Mint or YNAB can probably do the job.
However, if you really need a complete software that takes on the role of a professional financial planner, this is a good solution.
The only downside here is that MaxiFi Planner doesn’t offer the ability to automatically link and update from your financial accounts. But for some, that’s an extra layer of security that’s well worth the extra work to enter your details and keep them safe from your bank and investment account logins. The decision as to whether or not MaxiFi Planner is worth the cost is ultimately up to you.