Release Notes for Version 7.00, released
This release features annual field and tax overrides; partial first year; major expense inflation rates, pre-separation reports; and numerous other enhancements designed to enable more accurate and complete planning and reporting.
1. Overrides of Annual Field Calculations. It is now possible to override our calculations of the annual values of most key fields in the software, including tax fields.
As you can see from the list below, this substantially increases your ability to reflect the couples' actual financial and tax situations. Fields that may be overridden include the following:
- Wages (to change the wage anticipated in any particular year)
- Non-Wage Income line items (to change a pattern of bonuses, overtime, etc).
- Major Expenses (to specify precisely the amount of expense in each year).
- Residence Values (to change the projected price of sale of a residence).
- Residence - Rental payments (to specify uneven rent increases or declines).
- Investments (annual projected value of the investment).
- Debts (to indicate extra principal payments on debts).
- Living Expenses (to indicate specific expense amounts for any year or each year).
- Personal items (to change annual projected value of the item).
- IRA/401(k) (to change the projected contribution of each year).
- Social Security (to change the projected amount received each year).
- Life Insurance (to change the projected cash value of the policy each year).
- Business (to change projected cash flow or value).
- Child Support (to perhaps change the support in the last year).
- Alimony (to specify any pattern of alimony at all).
- Taxes (for example, to divide the tax liabilities for interest and dividends differently than the cash received, or to change the state tax amount calculated).
Most fields are overridden on the screen where you enter the data for that field. Look for the link labeled "View / Edit Annual [field name]." Taxes are overridden on a separate report. To view this report, click the Planner tab, then Reports on the left, then the link for View/Edit Taxes. To change the year shown, click the Planner tab, then Assumptions, then enter a different year.
2. Partial First Year. Usually, a separation will occur in the middle of the year. After the separation, both parties' expenses are often very different than they were at the beginning of the year. You want to show these expenses, then, beginning as of the separation.
The way to do that is to specify a "starting month" for the data. This is now specified on the Assumptions screen. The software will then pro rate any expenses you enter to a partial year for that first year.
Note that you want to clear this box (un-"X' it) when you are using the data for child support guidelines and affidavits, because for those modules, you want to show data on an annualized basis.
You might want to "X" this box and enter the separation month when you are printing your financial graphs and reports. Then clear this box when you are viewing and printing the child support guidelines and affidavits.
Note also that if you have this box "X'd," you will also get only a partial year of taxes in the first year. This will distort slightly the overall financial picture.
It might be best to focus on pre-tax income in that first year. Or, you may override the taxes to show any numbers you like.
3. Major Expenses Improvements. It is now possible to specify three things that could not be specified before for major expenses:
- A rate of inflation specific to that expense. Now, if Alice will attend a private college and Billy will attend a state school, you may attach an inflation of 6% to Alice's expense and 2% (or any other numbers) to Billy's.
- Present dollars. You may indicate that you are specifying the expense in present dollars. The software will use the item-specific inflation rate to estimate the cost in the first year that the expense occurs. It will further use the item-specific inflation rate to estimate the cost in each successive year.
- Partial year. You may specify an expense beginning in September, say. The software will automatically pro-rate the first year, and the last year.
You should now enter one-time expenses as a major expense that lasts only one year.
4. New Pre-Separation Reports. This release includes two new reports that enable you to capture the basics of the situation on a combined basis. You can use this to enter and present pre-separation data. You can then "Save As…" and enter differences to capture the post-separation situation. The two reports are the "Property Statement" report, for combined property, and "Combined Income" to show combined incomes.
5. New Spending Report. This report pulls together all spending from throughout the planner for each party for one year. The Spending Report combines rent and mortgage spending, living expenses, payments on debt, and so forth in one report. Totals are shown on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. You may specify on the Assumptions page which year is shown. Each spouse is shown separately.
6. New Sections for Total Assets and Total Debts. On the Property Division report, we now show subtotals for "total assets" and "total debts." The Property Division report has also been reorganized, to list items in the following order: residence, investment assets, business, retirement assets (IRA, Pension), personal items, life insurance.
7. New Asset and Debt Graphs. In the Graphs screen, we have two new graphs, "Division of Assets" and "Division of Debts," which show the division of assets and debts between the parties. The net of these is shown in the previously existing graph "Division of Property (Assets and Debts)."
8. New Subdivisions for Liquid vs Non-Liquid Investment Assets. On the Property Division report, we now show subtotals for "liquid" and "non-liquid" investment assets. To indicate the asset type for an investment asset, click [More Info], then scroll down to the the "Financial Affidavit" section, and select the Asset type. A note on the screen indicates which asset types are "liquid" versus "non-liquid."
9. Real Estate and Bond Income. You may now enter investment income on a "dollars-per-year" basis, in addition to a "percent return" basis. This helps enter real estate and bonds, where the actual cash flow may be more attainable than the percent return. For real estate, enter net cash flow after all expenses. The pop-up help has a new extensive discussion of what to do about depreciation of real estate.
10. Graphs Screen. The Graphs screen has been streamlined and reorganized. "Built-in Capital Gains" has been renamed "Untaxed Capital Gains."
11. New Untaxed Capital Gains Negotiation Tool. You can now see untaxed capital gains from each Investment item, and totals, on one screen. Change the allocation of any investment asset, and untaxed capital gains updates instantly (as do total investments, percents of marital assets, and percents of total assets). You can use this to help make sure that parties are not blindsided by untaxed capital gains. To get this new screen, click the Negotiations tab, then "Securities Gain."
12. Improved Sale of Residence Report. We have pulled together two separate reports, one of which showed pre-tax income from sale of residence, and one of which showed taxable gain on residence. We now show both on a single report, plus a new third section which estimates after-tax gain. This report is now available from the Reports list, as "Sale of Residence Report."
13. Improved Case Info Data Entry Screen. The Case Info screen now includes extensive case information for the case, court, judge, two attorneys, and a financial planner. (Professional Edition only.)
14. Case Info Screen with Affidavits. The Affidavits now include an extensive Case Information screen with all the information from the Case Information Data Entry screen. (Professional Edition only.)
15. Personal Items. Personal Items may now be set to increase or decline in value over time. (To have them decline in value, specify a negative rate of growth, e.g, "-5" for a loss of 5% per year in value.)
16. Insurance. The value of whole life insurance may now be set to increase over time at a rate you specify.
17. Screen layouts. We have tried to lay out all the screens to be a bit clearer and easier to read. (Professional Edition only.)
18. Landscape printing. It is now possible to print the "spreadsheet-style" reports in landscape mode. Simply select landscape mode from the print setup dialog for your printer.
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