Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about VeriPlan and The Skilled InvestorMain »» About VeriPlan - Your Personal Financial Lifecycle Planner
|What does the VeriPlan financial planning software do?|
|VeriPlan gives you significant personal insight into your most important financial and investment decisions. Through comprehensive and customized lifecycle projections, VeriPlan's comprehensive financial calculators and investment calculators model your particular personal finance situation across your adult lifecycle.
VeriPlan projects fully integrated scenarios about your income, expense budget, debts, investment portfolio, investment returns, and investment costs within the context of the U.S. federal, state, and local taxes that apply to you. VeriPlan presents all your personal lifecycle projection information in clear graphics and data tables.
You can easily customize any of your personal data and settings in VeriPlan. After you make any modification, VeriPlan will revise your complete projection automatically and instantaneously. Using VeriPlan's rich set of fully integrated “what if” decision support tools, you can take greater control of your own financial planning and investment decision-making.
|Where can I find an overview of VeriPlan?|
|Our VeriPlan Product Overview provides a summary of VeriPlan's extensive capabilities.
You can read this document on The Skilled Investor website in a series of seven linked web pages. Click on these links:
Read the VeriPlan Product Overview on The Skilled Investor website:
1) Personal financial decisions with VeriPlan
2) VeriPlan's organization and graphics
3) Your personal profile in VeriPlan
4) Your asset portfolio in VeriPlan
5) VeriPlan projects your U.S. federal, state, and local lifecycle taxes
6) VeriPlan's 10 personal financial decision tools
7) VeriPlan licensing, documentation, and tutorial
|Who will find VeriPlan to be useful?|
|> Personal Users:
VeriPlan helps self-directed personal finance users to understand the possible future implications of their current financial planning behaviors. VeriPlan projections model the lifetime finances of one or two adult users and their dependents. Any family member who resides in the same household may use VeriPlan.
> Financial Advisor Users:
VeriPlan is a valuable tool for financial advisors who serve the fiduciary interests of their clients. Advisors may obtain a right to use VeriPlan for their clients, when they provide VeriPlan to their clients along with other financial planning services.
|How does VeriPlan project my taxes?|
|VeriPlan's tax calculators automatically project your lifetime tax obligations in eight different tax categories. VeriPlan automatically projects the particular federal taxes, state taxes, and local income tax rates and limitations that currently apply to you. It also automatically projects your tax exemptions, adjustments, and deductions plus your property and other taxes. To prevent obsolescence, VeriPlan allows you to change the tax rates and limits that it uses, in case tax laws change in the future.
> Federal Income Tax Rates and Limits:
VeriPlan automatically applies current variable U.S. federal ordinary income tax rates and limits.
> State Income Tax Rates and Limits:
VeriPlan automatically applies your state's current variable or flat ordinary income tax rates and limits. VeriPlan provides income tax rates for the 50 United States and Washington, D.C. You can select any one of them to develop your projections.
> Local Income Tax Rates and Limits:
VeriPlan automatically applies any local ordinary income tax rates and limits that you supply. It can project a) no taxes, b) flat tax rates, c) variable tax rates, or d) New York City income tax rates, which are provided.
> Taxable Income Differences:
States and localities may adjust your federal taxable income. VeriPlan can automatically develop projections that use different levels of taxable income at the federal, state, and local levels.
> Income Tax Filing Status:
VeriPlan supports the 'Single' and "Married, Filing Jointly' federal income filing statuses, and it automatically applies the tax rates and limits that are associated with these filing statuses.
> Income Tax Exemptions:
VeriPlan automatically projects annual tax exemptions and their phase-outs for up to 10 dependents.
> Income Tax Adjustments:
VeriPlan automatically projects annual tax exemptions for up to six different adjustments to your taxable federal income. It also manages differential growth rates and phase-outs.
> Income Tax Deductions:
VeriPlan automatically projects your multi-year federal income tax deductions. In each projection year, VeriPlan automatically applies the more favorable of either the standard deduction or your itemized deductions.
> Social Security and Medicare Taxes:
VeriPlan automatically applies Social Security (FICA) and Medicare taxes. It automatically projects either employee or self-employment tax rates, as appropriate.
> Investment Taxes:
VeriPlan automatically applies long-term qualified dividend and capital gains taxes on your capital gains distributions and asset withdrawals net of your accumulated asset tax basis. For each of your asset holdings, you can provide your current asset tax basis. Across your lifecycle projections, VeriPlan will automatically increase and/or reduce your cumulative asset class tax basis separately for your cash, bond, and stock asset classes.
> Property and Real Estate Taxes:
VeriPlan automatically projects your total property, real estate, and other assessment taxes. You can also project that your property taxes will grow at a rate different from inflation.
> Your Tax-advantaged Retirement Plans:
To the extent reasonably possible, VeriPlan has automated your lifecycle projections regarding the various employer retirement plans and personal IRA, 401k, and other retirement accounts that allow you to defer taxation or to avoid future taxation altogether. VeriPlan automatically projects separate values for your taxable, traditional retirement accounts and Roth retirement accounts. Regarding traditional IRA accounts and Roth IRA accounts, VeriPlan has fully automated the projection of your lifecycle IRA contributions, deductions, asset growth, withdrawals, and taxation.
|What financial planning tools and financial calculators are provided with VeriPlan?|
|> Asset Allocation Tool:
Your asset allocation strategy allows you to align the risk of your investment portfolio with your relative risk tolerance. VeriPlan provides five user selectable and adjustable asset allocation methods for your lifecycle projections. Fixed, variable, and age-based allocation mechanisms are provided. Reallocations are performed automatically at the beginning of all subsequent projection years.
> Cost-Effectiveness Tool:
Excessive investment costs are a huge problem for the average investor. VeriPlan's projections automatically analyze the impact of five types of investment expenses across your lifecycle: 1) purchase fees, 2) management fees, 3) marketing fees, 4) transactions costs, and 5) account custody fees. VeriPlan fully automates the comparison of lifecycle investment costs between the investment costs of your current financial asset portfolio and the levels of asset class investment costs that you believe are reasonable to pay.
> Expense Calculator and Savings Calculator Tool:
This useful budgeting tool allows you to change your current expense budget levels and future expense growth rates. It also allows you to enter major planned expenses and their growth rates for any future years. You can also enter positive and negative expense adjustments and growth rates for any projection year. This tool explains how VeriPlan can be used as a Children's Education Expenditure Planning Tool. It also provides a section on how to use VeriPlan as a Mid-Career Education Planning Tool to model the financial tradeoffs associated with returning to school for career advancement.
> Future Debt Management Tool:
Excess consumption and the attendant costs of debt can be very destructive. This loan calculator tool allows you to set an interest rate for future unfunded consumption. VeriPlan automatically accumulates an unfunded debt with unpaid interest, when your projected expenses exceed your projected income and when your cash, bond-fixed income, and stock-equity financial assets are projected to be depleted fully. If subsequent positive net income becomes available, VeriPlan will automatically retire some or all of this unfunded consumption debt. Regarding any current loans that you have, VeriPlan automatically repays interest and principal required. You can also use these VeriPlan debt management facilities to analyze and plan for the accelerated repayment of any or all of your current debts.
> Historical Investment Portfolio Asset Class Returns:
VeriPlan's automated "centerline" projections are based on the very long-term, historical securities market rates of return that have been achieved in the cash, bond / fixed income, and stock / equity asset classes over approximately the past 75 years. You can adjust these projected rates of return, using VeriPlan’s Portfolio Risk Tool. VeriPlan’s projections automatically deduct your taxes and investment costs from your financial asset class returns. Furthermore, across your lifecycle, VeriPlan will automatically project the value of your real estate, property, and other assets, which are not priced currently on real-time securities markets. VeriPlan will use the current fair market value and future growth rate estimates that you provide for these real estate, property, and other assets.
> Home Purchase Tool:
VeriPlan provides this home purchasing calculator tool for users who plan to purchase one to three homes in the future. For your future home purchases, this tool automatically takes into account: a) the planned purchase price, b) closing costs, c) settlement cash required, d) mortgage debt to be assumed, e) expected interim price changes, and f) subsequent expected price appreciation.
> Portfolio Risk Tool:
VeriPlan provides two combinable methods to develop projections with asset class return assumptions that differ positively and/or negatively from VeriPlan's "centerline" historical assumptions:
* The Projection Variance Tool allows you to vary asset class returns upward or downward automatically in proportion to their historical volatility or risk.
* The Asset Class Return Adjuster allows you to vary financial asset growth rates automatically on a one-by-one basis.
VeriPlan also provides a Current Portfolio Revaluation Tool to help users understand the potential effects of substantial near-term asset value changes.
> Portfolio Safety Tool:
Individual investors face a dilemma. Both less risky and more risky investment strategies may not achieve desired results for different reasons. When assessing investment strategies with different risk levels, it can be helpful to understand how the "safer" portion of your portfolio assets might evolve across your lifecycle. VeriPlan's Portfolio Safety Tool automatically projects how long your cash and shorter-term fixed income assets would cover your projected expenses, if all your expected income sources ceased. This tool automatically measures your projected financial capacity to weather financial risks that might materialize in the future.
> Retirement Planning Calculator Tool:
With this retirement planning tool, you can set individual retirement ages for Earners 1 and 2. You can select whether or not to retire simultaneously. You can also adjust your expected ordinary living expenses in retirement and the growth rate of those expenses. Concerning Social Security retirement payments, you can set current levels of your entitlements and adjust the age at which you would first begin to receive Social Security payments. Furthermore, you can scale back the amount of your projected Social Security payments, if you wish. Finally, because much older workers can face significant erosion of real dollar wage rates, you can adjust VeriPlan's assumptions about real dollar wage erosion for earnings at ages over 65.
> Tax-Advantaged Retirement Plan Tool:
Your settings on this tool will control your projected tax-advantaged plan contributions that would be funded from your future positive net income and/or your future taxable financial assets, up to the current legal annual limits, which are user-adjustable. This tool allows you to determine the portion of your projected annual contributions that would be deposited automatically into either traditional 'tax-deferred' accounts or Roth 'never-taxed' accounts.
* The Total Contribution Limitation Tool allows you to set your personal limitation on overall tax-advantaged account deposits, as a percent of your future annual positive net cash flows.
* The Roth Contribution Limitation Tool allows you to set the percentage that Roth 'never-taxed' contributions would be of your total annual contributions into both traditional 'tax-deferred' and Roth 'never-taxed' accounts.
|Where can I find VeriPlan's documentation?|
All of VeriPlan's worksheets provide extensive and readily available documentation. A separate manual is not necessary. VeriPlan also includes a ‘Viewpoints’ worksheet, which summarizes the financial and investment viewpoints that guide the design and development of VeriPlan.
A very significant part of VeriPlan's intergrated documentation has been or will be republished on The Skilled Investor website, in the form of articles or in the VeriPlan User Forum.
For other materials that are not directly related to its usability, VeriPlan provides hyperlinks to articles on The Skilled Investor website and to certain materials elsewhere on the Internet. These other materials on the Internet are linked to via The Skilled Investor website, so that up-to-date links can be maintained for you on our website.
|How can I learn how to use VeriPlan?|
|The VeriPlan financial planning software application contains extensive step-by-step instructions on how to use it. These user instructions are always on the same worsheet where you make your personal financial and investment entries into VeriPlan.
> VeriPlan Tutorial:
The Sue and Sam Saver Tutorial files help you to understand what VeriPlan can do for you. The VeriPlan CD also includes an additional, fully modifiable version of the Sue and Sam Saver Tutorial. By using Sue's and Sam's personal financial data in this adjustable VeriPlan tutorial file, you can change any value or setting to learn how VeriPlan works.
|What if VeriPlan is not right for me?|
|> Unconditional 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee:
If you find that VeriPlan is not right for you when you use it, then you have 30 days from the date that we ship VeriPlan to you to request a refund of the money that you paid for your VeriPlan license, including any sales tax you paid.
|What kind of computer system do I need to run VeriPlan|
> Systems Platform:
VeriPlan runs in a standalone configuration. Internet connectivity will augment the information available to you, but Internet connectivity is not required.
To operate, VeriPlan requires a relatively recent and moderately powerful personal computer that runs Microsoft Excel 2002 or later.
For example, these are the configurations of two of our test machines that both provide virtually instant (under two seconds) recalculation of more computationally intensive changes to the data in the live VeriPlan version of the Sue and Sam Tutorial.
* Test PC #1: Dell Precision 220 (mfg. 2000), Intel Pentium III - 798MHz, 256MB of RAM, MS Windows XP Professional 2002-SP2, MS Excel 2002-SP3
* Test PC #2: Dell Inspiron 4150 (mfg. 2002), Pentium 4 – 1.79MHz, 256MB of RAM, MS Windows XP Home Edition-SP2, MS Excel 2002-SP3
To check your system resources on a Microsoft Windows based PC, click “Start” >> “Control Panel” >> “System” and read the “General” tab for a listing. To check your version of Microsoft Excel, open Excel and click “Help” >> “About Microsoft Excel.” Your Excel version must be 2002 or later.
|How is VeriPlan licensed to users?|
> Software License:
VeriPlan is a software product, and it is licensed and not sold. VeriPlan is only for personal, non-commercial use by one (1) household.
When you comply with the End User License Agreement, Lawrence Russell and Company grants to you a limited non-commercial, non-exclusive, non-transferable, and non-assignable license, without right to sublicense to use VeriPlan, for users who are subject to United States tax laws.
|How much does a license for VeriPlan cost?|
|> VeriPlan is a genuine bargain, and the most cost-effective purchase of a financial planning tool that you can make!
The price of one (1) personal, non-commercial household end user license for the currently marketed version of VeriPlan is $57.00 in United States dollars.
Shipping and handling fee is FREE on all orders shipped within the United States.
California residents will also pay sales tax.
PayPal is the authorized payment processor for Lawrence Russell and Company
You can choose how to purchase VeriPlan when you use PayPal:
1) Pay with your credit card or debit card, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or VISA.
2) Pay using your PayPal account
Purchase terms are subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of Lawrence Russell and Company.
Note: We mail your VeriPlan CD on the next business day after PayPal has notified us of your order. When your order ships, we will send a shipment notification email to you using the email address supplied by PayPal. VeriPlan is shipped via the USPS, and deliveries typically take 3 to 10 days to arrive.
|Why is VeriPlan only for U.S. taxpayers?|
|> For United States Taxpayers Only:
VeriPlan licenses are available for purchase only to personal, non-commercial buyers who are subject to United States taxation.
VeriPlan’s projections model current U.S. tax laws, rules, regulations, rates, and limitations. Furthermore, VeriPlan incorporates current U.S. tax laws regarding tax-advantaged retirement investment accounts, which can significantly affect projected asset values and the order and timing of asset deposits and withdrawals.
Therefore, it would not be appropriate for persons to use VeriPlan, who are subject to other national tax jurisdictions.