MaxiFi doesn't ask you to create a spending target by creating a budget. You may know how much you spend on gasoline (groceries, lawn care, dining out, etc.) this year, but establishing a gasoline budget item for the next 30 years doesn't make sense. Budget categories change from year to year.

MaxiFi instead computes your annual spending allowance based on your other data inputs and demonstrates how to keep that spending “smooth” relative to inflation each year through to the end of the model. How you budget that spending allowance in the current year is up to you, and you can use our “Progress Tracker” feature to help you do that.

For long-term planning models, it’s not useful to know your grocery budget. What you need to know is how much available after-tax, after-housing spending you will have, see that adjusted for inflation, and learn what saving/withdraw pattern from non-retirement assets is needed to keep that annual spending even through the years. Once this internally calculated annual spending is discovered by the software, it becomes a reliable benchmark against which to measure the impact of even the subtlest of financial decisions, even those scheduled far in the future.

So to recap: MaxiFi is designed to discover the internal (endogenous) annual, inflation-adjusted spending allowance (described as “discretionary spending” in the reports) and then show the saving/withdraw strategy to keep that annual spending smooth year over year. Unlike conventional planning software, it does not ask you to tell it (via your budget or other such analysis) how much this spending is or should be this year, much less twenty years from now. Annual available spending is the answer that the program provides, not the question that the program asks you in order to get started.