Community Builder's Workshop: Retirement Planner

Thanks to everyone who joined us on September 13, 2021 for our first Community Builder’s Workshop covering the Retirement Planner built by @Jono and of course an especially big thanks to @Jono himself for demoing his solution.


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Retirement Planner Template wiki topic



  1. How do you recommend modeling inflation so you can play with different inflation amounts and impacts?

Enter different “Expense Budget Change / Year” growth rates in the Cash Flow Forecast sheet in cell E6. That adjusts the inflation rate of your yearly expense budget. If you want to set different inflation rates for different Categories, set up Life Events for those categories and use the Change/Year column to set inflation rates for a category.

  1. Is the community badge checked by someone at Tiller to verify it doesn’t store user data?

Per the guidelines the solution should not store nor transmit user data in order to use the badge, but we don’t have tooling that automates any type of verification of this right now. Any solutions that we decided to feature in the add-on or gallery after being submitted would have more of an official verification process. Hopefully, that helps. Guidelines for using the Tiller Community Badge

  1. I downloaded this solution, and contrary to Jono’s statement, the cash flow sheet is pre-populated with values I do not recognize

These are just examples of what you might include on the cash flow sheet. Feel free to clear those out and customize based on your situation.

  1. I’m semi-retired (52/coast fire) and the sheet seems to be intended for those fully employed and contributing to retirement. Could you talk about the sheet in this scenario?

The sheet should work for people fully employed, semi-retired, and fully retired. The Withdrawal Rate can be set to start at any year in the future. Your salary (whether fully employed or semi-retired) would get recorded based on the income amount listed in your Budget. If you want to pick a year that you decide to stop working and have no salary income, add a Life Event to the Cash Flow Forecast with the name of the category that matches your Salary category and make the amount/year zero and the change/year zero. This will remove your salary from the future cash flow. If you predict you will have just half your salary in a future year, you can set up a Life Event for that as well.

  1. Is the Other Accounts section a good place to enter annual savings goals per year to capture planned additions to investments? Example 2021 - $5,000, 2022 - $6,000.

The Other Accounts section doesn’t let you add an amount for future years. If an amount is listed there, it will be applied to the current value of your investments, not starting in a future year.

You might want to use the Investment Adjustments to model future planned additions to your investments, since that section allows you to set a future year. You might use the same start and end year if the amount is for just one year.

One problem with this is that you have to get the money to add to your savings from somewhere. Ideally, you would have excess Cash Flow generated by your model. And any excess Cash Flow gets automatically added to the investment value at the end of the year and beginning of the next year. You wouldn’t have to make an Investment Adjustment to add this excess Cash Flow.

  1. Please review that investment adj again, please. How did that window open?

Click the Plus sign above column S. To close it, click the Minus sign.

  1. Looks like Investment Adjustments might be the answer to my question.

Good. The Investment Adjustments section can be used for a wide variety of scenarios. In general, they will likely be used with Transfer transactions. Income and Expense changes should happen in the budgets in your Category sheet for the current year and in Life Events on the Cash Flow Forecast sheet for future years.

  1. I’m not really understanding why I might use investment adjustments. Seems like large expenses like college are covered by cash flow sheet. Can you give an example?

Yes, expenses should be handled by the cash flow sheet. See the answer above.

  1. Shouldnt “Investment Adjustment” also be made for you regular contributions to retirements accounts (ex. 19,500 + Employer match for each year)?

If you consider your regular contributions to retirement accounts as Transfer type, then yes, you might include them as Investment Adjustments.

  1. Can I make the sheet go out more years?

Use the number value in the Cash Flow Forecast sheet in cell A1 to adjust the number of future years in the Cash Flow Forecast and the Retirement Planner. Since the original sheet only goes down to row 79, if you add years that go below row 79 of the Retirement Planner, you will need to manually fill down all of row 79 (including the hidden part of the sheet) to fill down to your final year. Some of the table columns use formulas in each cell.

  1. In the yearly growth rate table can I add more years?

I believe this can work, but it hasn’t been fully tested. Pick a row like row 12 or 13 and insert a row below it. I did a small test and it seemed to work, but I can’t 100% guarantee it.

  1. Have you examined the other free retirement forecast tools out there? Does this sheet have any major differences?

Yes, we looked at a bunch of other forecast tools before designing this sheet. We also used our community for feedback. See this post: Retirement Planner / FIRE Sheet - Request for Feedback - #15 by adekunledauda

I believe some other tools were mentioned in that post.

We discovered there are many different approaches and financial models for people take to planning for retirement. We tried to build a solution that leveraged the data you already have in Tiller as well as making it flexible for many scenarios.

  1. Better example is how to add the annual IRA contribution

I’m not exactly clear on this question. But to record an annual IRA contribution, I would consider it a Transfer transaction from the funding account to the IRA account. This wouldn’t show up as Income or Expense. Prior IRA contributions would show up as part of the current IRA investment asset value. Future IRA contribution could probably be added using the Investment Adjustments section. There might be other ways to do it as well.

  1. If you were going to modify either the cash flow or retirement planner sheets, what future features do you think would be really cool to add? This is purely a hypothetical question that’s along the lines of brainstorming for future things to add.

Let us know what you think we should add. I thought a spreadsheet that helped manage and optimize with Investments should be withdrawn and in what order might make a useful addition. But solving the tax impact details might make it too complex.

  1. There are three rows that are green and blank in the investment yearly growth rate - implying that you could add more years in rows 13 through 15. You should make that area white.

You can add more years in the green rows in Row 13 and 14. But you don’t have to. Since you can add values, the cells are green.

You shouldn’t add values in Row 15, which is white. Values there won’t be picked up in the chart.

  1. Cash Flow Forecast is not getting pulled into my retirement planner sheet. Any ideas what I might have done wrong? I haven’t changed anything outside of the green cells. :\

I’d try re-loading both sheets from the Add-On. I haven’t seen this issue before.

  1. Unrelated to Retirement Planning, or not really specific to it…but is there a way you can add mulitple accounts to Foundation and only make some of them active for transactions

There isn’t a way to pick which accounts feed transactions vs balances right now, but there is a feature request for this already you can vote for.