Before we begin this discussion, keep in mind that "Financial Analysis" is a big topic with an extensive body of literature dedicated to it. Our goal is to give you the basics and to understand how OnTrajectory can be used to shed light on your financial future.

This quote should be kept in mind. We create models and run analysis to provide the outline of a picture, to validate broad assumptions — or to alert of potential danger. No matter how painstakingly detailed our assumptions, there are no guarantees the results will be accurate.

To give you the most complete view we can, OnTrajectory provides three different Analysis Strategies.

1.
Average Growth
— This is the default
technique employed when setting up and configuring your
**Trajectory**. It is dictated by the **% Growth**
field for each **Account**. The advantage of
this technique is that you can fine-tune your
**Trajectory** and easily visualize the result of
small changes over long periods of time.

2.
Monte Carlo —
This type of analysis provides the likelihood that the
**Trajectory** you defined will be 'successful'.
It is based on randomized historical data, which replaces
the % Growth and Inflation set by you. The range of
historical data can be set through the **'Analysis Options'** pop-up,
below:

Unlike Average Growth analysis, which produces a single Trajectory line, Monte Carlo produces a range of results because multiple randomizations are calculated for every year of your Trajectory. See the section “Running Analysis” (below) for more information.

3.
Historical — Like Monte Carlo, this type of analysis uses
historical data. Unlike Monte Carlo, however, data is not chosen randomly, but rather ** sequentially**.
In other words, for Year 1 of your Trajectory data from 1928 is used,
for Year 2 data from 1929 is used, etc. This a single line
for each year in the range set through the

Since we calculate results for every available 'Start Year', we can display a success percentage. See the section “Running Analysis” (below) for more information.

Above we stated for both **Historical** and
**Monte Carlo** analysis, % Growth is
based on historical data, but which particular data
are we talking about — and is that data they applied?

The **Portfolio Mix** tab defines the percentage of each
Investment Type (Stocks, Bonds, Cash) in your virtual
portfolio for Historical and Monte Carlo analysis
(shown below).

Adjust the mix to your liking, ** but be careful**. Although the default settings
seem to take a very conservative approach, remember that
in Monte Carlo analysis, all Accounts get identical
rates-of-return for a particular year — this includes whatever funds
you have in low-yield Accounts. Our default ratio
is similar to those used by other Monte Carlo Simulators.

Growth data comes from a variety of sources:

**Stocks**— based on S&P 500 Index and MSCI US Broad Market Index,**Bonds**— based on S&P High Grade Corporate Index and Lehman Aggregate Bond Index,**Cash**— based on Citigroup 3-Month Treasury Bill Index.**Inflation**— based on Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As you experiment with different year ranges and Portfolio
Mixes, you will see how your Trajectory is affected by
factors such as
**Variance Drain** (overall lower returns produced
by periods of high volatility) and **Sequence Risk**
(long-term lower performance when market declines
occur at the beginning of an investment period).
We recommend using sites such as
Investopedia to understand how various factors
affect your investments.

When OnTrajectory runs Monte Carlo or Historical analyses, we take into account every Income, Expense and Account
item you have defined — **along with every RMD, drawdown, rollover, gain, tax or penalty calculated along the way.** Every
aspect used to render your personal Trajectory is recalculated for each individual Monte Carlo and Historical 'run'.

To initiate a Monte Carlo or Historical analysis, click the
**"Views Menu"**

The 'Analysis Options' pop-up window
is launched automatically when selecting either **Monte Carlo** or **Historical**
view, or by selecting
'Monte Carlo and Historical Options' from the top of the
**Views Menu** (shown above).

To begin, click the **Run Analysis** button.

The image below
shows an example of a **Monte Carlo** analysis.

Because we run multiple Monte Carlo cycles, multiple
results are displayed. Your Average Growth Trajectory is displayed in orange,
along with a success percentage. This percentage represents the number of
Trajectories that out-performed the % Growth set by you for each Account.
In other words, for the example above, 84% of the time, this Trajectory would have ended with
*at least* the 'End Amount' calculated.

Optionally, you can also display the 'Median' Monte Carlo Trajectory (displayed in blue), meaning there are an equal number of Trajectories above below it.

The image below shows an example of **Historical** analysis.

Since OnTrajectory runs analyses for
every available 'Start Year', multiple lines and a success percentage are displayed.
This percentage represents the number of Historical Trajectories that out-performed the
% Growth set by you for each Account. In other words, in this example,
your Trajectory would have ended with *at least* the 'End Amount' calculated 84% of the time.

Since there are no guarantees in life, 99% is the highest success percentage for both Monte Carlo and Historical analyses .

The image below shows an example of **Historical** and **Monte Carlo** analyses run together.

Notice that success percentages may vary based on the type of analysis performed. Being able to see all of this information in a singe view creates a more complete picture of your possible financial futures, and it helps to validate your assumtions along the way.

The 'Confidence Check' button automatically runs both a **Historical** and **Monte Carlo** analysis
on your data (see the guide Historical & Monte Carlo Analysis for more
information on how to run each of those separately). OnTrajectory then averages the results and displays a
'chance of success'. If you make a data change, the **Run Confidence Check** button will reappear.

The resulting **Chance of Success** value represents the number of
simulated Trajectories that out-performed the **% Growth** set by you for each **Account**.
In other words, an 84% chance of success means that the ending amount for your Trajectory was achieved
in 84% of the Historical and Monte Carlo 'runs'. Again we urge you to read more about this type of analysis
in the Historical & Monte Carlo Analysis guide.

**It is important to note that this percentage is NO GUARANTEE of success in your investments.
NO information provided by OnTrajectory should be considered investing advice. All financial
information is solely for educational purposes. Please see your own professional for personal investment advice.**

We urge you to use OnTrajectory to experiment and learn. The more you understand and the better your assumptions, the more clear your financial future will become.