Tracking Progress & Linking Accounts

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? In OnTrajectory, You can either manually update your progress or link an account to your financial institution to do it automatically.

The following topics will be covered in this Guide:

  1. Comparing "Actual Progress" to "Calculated Balances"
  2. Manually Updating Progress in Aggregate or by Account
  3. Linking Accounts to Your Institution for Automatic Updates
  4. Sharing Progress History across Scenarios

1. Comparing Actual Progress to Calculated Balances

Track how your investments are actually performing against the growth assumptions you’ve made. This is a handy way to judge the validity of your % Growth assumptions and compare the amount to the actual value of your accounts.

If balances become VASTLY different, you may need to tweak the % Growth of an account. However, don’t be too concerned about small fluctuations, because that’s just how markets behave. 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.

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 and is 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 APPROXIMATE balance on the selected date and is based on the % Growth and Contributions you have defined. This value is NOT effected by updates to your progress — it is only effected by changes to the % Growth and Contributions/year fields. To view precise calculated balances, consult your Output Data Tables.

Actual Progress, on the other hand, reflects the actual amount you have in any given account on the selected date. The data can be entered manually or pulled from your financial institution if you have linked the account. In addition, the Actual Progress column header displays the sum total and date of the last progress update made, if any — as shown in the image below.

Update

2. Manually Updating Progress in Aggregate or by Account

As previously mentioned, you can view your progress as a single aggregated amount, and also update your progress in aggregate. Enter a single total representing all your account's balances in the text-box above "Actual Progress":

Update

After entering a new total, press "Enter" to save. The total progress amount is added to your Progress History for the selected date, and assumptions are made regarding individual account balances based on relative proportions to the calculated total.

Note: Updating your progress in aggregate is available only if have not linked any of your accounts to an institution. If you have linked one or more of your accounts, then manual updates are only possible at the account level.

To make updates at an individual account level, simply enter the current balance in the Actual Progress column and press "Enter". The data will be saved and updated in the Progress History table.

To view Progress History for past updates you've made, click Progress History from the main Menu.

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

Summary

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

3. Linking Accounts to Your Institution for Automatic Updates

Link an existing account to your bank or financial institution by clicking the "link" icon to the right of an account, as shown below:

Link Account

Follow the instructions to search for your institution and link your account. Note OnTrajectory does not store any of your credentials and all information is securely encrypted with technology provided by Plaid.com

Plaid Popup

Alternately, you can add a new linked account directly from the Add Account menu, as shown below:

Link Account

Once you have one or more linked accounts, the "Refresh Linked Accounts" button appears. Clicking will refresh balances on all accounts and save a new progress point in your Progress History.

Refresh Linked Accounts

Finally, you can see the exact time an individual account was last updated by hovering over its balance. Accounts that have not been updated more than 1-day ago, will appear in orange

. Refresh Linked Accounts

4. Sharing Progress History across Scenarios

You may want to share progress updates on an account across multiple scenarios. By default, if you copy an entire scenario, existing accounts will automatically share their progress history. However, if you created a new scenario "from scratch" or you later added an account to 2 existing scenarios, progress history is not automatically shared, even if the account is named the same.

To create a shared progress history between scenarios, open Item Properties by clicking on the wrench icon. You will see the option as shown below:

Share History

(Note: You must have more than 1 scenario for this option to be visible.)

After selecting the option, pick the Scenario and Account with which you wish this account to share, and click OK.

To view the accounts a particular account may be sharing its history, click the link "show shared accounts", and they will be displayed, as shown below:

Share History