Tracking Progress

Knowing how well your assumptions have played out in the past is among the most important and most educational tools you have for gaining financial insight. How can you ever know where you're going if you don't know how you got here?

The following topics will be covered in this Guide:

  1. Comparing "Actual Progress" to "Calculated Balances"
  2. Updating Progress in Aggregate or by Account

1. Comparing Actual Progress to Calculated Balances

Track how your investments are actually performing against the growth assumptions you’ve made. As soon as you start tracking your Progress, a green area is layered onto your Trajectory graph — the longer you track your progress, the more evident this area becomes (as shown below):

Progress

Also, once you begin to track progress, a gray dotted line is “projected” into your future based on the growth rates you have defined for each account. This line gives you some idea how market conditions MIGHT affect the outcome of your Trajectory — but don’t read too much into it. Projected Progress is highly susceptible to market fluctuations. In fact, it's yet one more reminder how significant even small variations can be when compounded over large periods of time.

As you can see in the graph below, the small difference at Age 41 represents about $70,000 by Age 90:

Projected Progress

The Accounts & Taxes tab displays both your Calculated Balance and your Actual Progress by account, as shown below.

Calculated vs. Progress

Calculated Balance is the account's balance on the selected date based on the % Growth and Contributions you have defined. This value is NOT effected by the progress updates you enter, it is only effected by changes to the fields just mentioned (% Growth & Contributions/year).

Actual Progress, on the other hand, reflects the actual amount you have in any given account on the selected date, and it is based on data you enter. In addition, the Actual Progress column displays the last progress update made, if any. The date of the last update is reflected in the column's header, as shown in the image above.

You can view actual progress in aggregate where the interface reads "Actual Progress is..." (as shown below).

Update

2. Updating Progress in Aggregate or by Account

As previously mentioned, you can view your Progress as a single aggregated amount or update your progress in aggregate, as well. Enter a single total representing all your account's balances where the interface reads "Actual Progress is..." (as shown below).

Update

After entering a new total, click the Update button to save. The total progress amount is added for the selected date, and assumptions are made regarding individual account balances based on relative proportions to the calculated total.

To make updates at an individual account level, simply enter those values in the Actual Progress column and press "Enter". The data will be saved and updated in the display immediately.

To view a history of past progress updates you've made, click Progress History from the main Menu.

From here you can delete or edit progress points you have previously entered. Clicking a row to display a popup window, as shown below:

Summary

Tracking progress is a handy way to judge the validity of % Growth assumptions of each of your Accounts. Compare this amount to the real-world value of your accounts — if it is VASTLY different, you may need to tweak the % Growth of that account. Don’t get too concerned about small fluctuations, because that’s just how the market works. In fact, the reason we display Projected Progress is so you can see the effects of market fluctuations without having to adjust your % Growth each time markets become volatile.

To delete the entire progress point, just click the Delete Icon next to that entry, and it will be removed.