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When it comes to managing your money, there are a lot of options. Budgeting apps allow you to figure out where all the money is going, and there are robo-advisors that can help you make goal-based decisions with your investments.
But what if you want help figuring out a sustainable living standard and meeting all your goals in one holistic app? That’s the idea behind MaxiFi Planner.
What is MaxiFi Planner?
MaxiFi Planner is a personal finance app designed to analyze your spending and income, and then guide you through making decisions that can help you meet your retirement goals. The idea is you can use your funds to maximize your standard of living throughout your retired life.
MaxiFi Planner was developed by a team led by Laurence Kotlikoff, the co-author of Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. With MaxiFi Planner, everything is taken into account, including your earnings, current assets, retirement accounts, Social Security, housing, and taxes. All of this information is used to help you come up with a discretionary budget designed to ensure that you enjoy the rest of your life.
Related: Best Online Budgeting Tools
MaxiFi Planner Features
There are a number of features MaxiFi Planner offers to help you create a roadmap for your life. You can use the planner at any age and it can help you figure out how much to set aside for the future — and where it will do the most good. Some of the features include:
- Base Plan: This is a lifetime roadmap that includes income, spending, savings, and life insurance. You can update it regularly so that it adjusts to the changes that come with different life stages. Decisions about when to buy a house, get a new job, and even what you should budget for groceries are included.
- Maximized Plan: On top of the Base Plan, you can also get a plan designed to help you raise your discretionary income. You can find the best Social Security benefits and even find the best times to begin withdrawing from your retirement accounts.
- Progress Tracker: Stay informed about where you’re at in the plan and whether you’re on track. You can see whether you’re meeting your benchmarks and get help reaching your targets if you go off course.
- Risk Analysis: Using Monte Carlo simulations, MaxiFi Planner can show you hundreds of different scenarios, based on a variety of spending and investing strategies. Using this feature, you can figure out what you need to change for the future.
With these features, you can create a comprehensive financial plan based on your goals and needs, and follow it in a way that maximizes your standard of living.
MaxiFi Planner Pricing
MaxiFi Planner operates using an annual subscription. If you want to keep using it, you have to keep paying.
MaxiFi Planner Standard: $99 per year
This version allows you to make comprehensive planning decisions and run unlimited reports. If you have an active subscription at the time of renewal, you can actually get it for $79 in the subsequent year.
MaxiFi Planner Premium: $139 per year
You have to pay for the Premium version if you want access to the Monte Carlo analysis. Additionally, this version allows you to dive deep into comparisons between risk and safety strategies. The renewal rate for the Premium version is $99.
How to Sign Up for MaxiFi Planner
To sign up, you click on the red “Sign Up” button on the website and add your preferred product to your cart. Then you check out, much as you would when buying any other software product online. You enter your:
- Email address
- Billing address
- Any coupon codes
- Payment information (PayPal or credit card)
Once that’s done, you’re sent the information you need to set up your software and start planning for your future.
Unfortunately, you can’t synchronize your financial institutions with MaxiFi Planner. Unlike other apps, which connect to financial institutions in real-time, MaxiFi requires you to enter information regularly. You also can’t import files from other software, so if you have QFX or QIF files, you can’t include them.
MaxiFi Planner uses bank-level security and encryption. Additionally, you can set up two-factor authentication for an added level of security when accessing the account. Not only does MaxiFi promise to use industry best practices, but they also regularly ask third parties to review and test security.
While you can access MaxiFi Planner through the browser on your mobile phone or tablet, there isn’t a specific mobile app. Mostly, you access the Planner through the website, although you can download a Windows version.
There is no customer service, which is unfortunate for a product that is so costly. You can’t call or even live chat through the website. Instead, if you need help with anything, you need to submit an email form.
While MaxiFi is powerful as planning software, the reality is that it doesn’t have some of the same features you might expect from something so costly.
MaxiFi Planner Pros and Cons
Forward-looking results — Create a plan that reflects your changing circumstances so you can maximize your money and maintain a high standard of living throughout your life and your retirement.
Powerful analysis to help you understand decisions — You can see the impact of different decisions, particularly if you get the Premium version.
Easy to use — All of the forms are easy to use, even if it is a little tedious to enter all the information manually.
Holistic approach to finances — MaxiFi Planner takes into account all aspects of your money situation, including Social Security, taxes, and investments on top of your income and spending to give you a top-level view of everything.
Expensive — You’ll pay each year for use, depending on the version you choose. For some households, this can be a steep price to pay, although it’s probably cheaper than regular visits to a financial planner.
No synchronization — You can’t automatically pull information from your financial institutions to add into the software. Without these live connections to banks, you have to update items on your own.
Limited customer service — MaxiFi Planner doesn’t allow for you to speak with anyone, and you can’t even do live chat. With what you’re paying, you’d expect to get something beyond an email form.
Alternatives to MaxiFi Planner
You can find reasonable alternatives to MaxiFi Planner.
PocketSmith, for example, provides forecasts and helps you plan ahead for the future with what-if scenarios. It might not use Monte Carlo simulations, but it does offer live synchronization with your various accounts and can project into the future. The price for 10 years’ projections is comparable to MaxiFi Planner’s Premium.
It’s also possible to use tools like Empower and Ellevest to get a holistic view of your finances. With these apps, you can connect to your bank accounts and investment accounts and get a total view of your finances as well as budgeting help. You can even get help investing with these products.
(Personal Capital is now Empower)
Who Is It For?
MaxiFi Planner is ideal for someone who wants an in-depth analysis of their finances and wants to maximize their future income and standard of living. The main selling point is the powerful Monte Carlo simulation capability, which isn’t normally available in household financial software. If you decide to buy MaxiFi, it makes the most sense to spring for the Premium version so you can compare risk/safety and take advantage of the analysis.
MaxiFi Planner has some powerful features that put it on par with having a financial planner at your side. If all you want is a casual review of your finances, and some budgeting help, MaxiFi probably isn’t the right choice for you. However, if you want long-term help figuring out how to maximize your Social Security and retirement accounts, and you want guidance putting together a detailed lifelong financial plan, this can be a great tool.