The user manual will address details about your MaxiFi reports in other sections, but here we address the basics. See the video and additional pointers below.
An introduction to how to read and understand reports.
Introduction to Reports
The first report simply shows a lifetime balance sheet, and this becomes more interesting and useful when comparing two reports. The Annual Income and Spending report shows "discretionary spending" which is a series of annual amounts that you will focus on time and time again with each new report. For experienced users, the "discretionary spending" is the first thing they look at in a new report. That's because discretionary spending is new information, it reveals in practical terms how one planning model is better or worse than another.
The best way to understand "discretionary spending" is to view the Spending Overview report and note that discretionary spending is a part of total spending. Every column in the Spending Overview report that is not in the first column (discretionary spending) is part of fixed spending. Thus, it is easy to see, for example, that discretionary spending is what is left over after taxes because taxes is a part of fixed spending. If you look at the total spending shown at the far right of the Spending Overview report, you can think of subtracting all the fixed expenses as you scan left in the row across the columns until you get to the first column, discretionary spending: that's what's left over, your annual, available household spending that maintains its purchasing power through time. In other word, discretionary spending + fixed spending = total spending. You can also view the Year-at-a-Glance report where fixed spending is shown as you see in the image below.
How can income be less than (or more than) spending?
In short: withdraw from saving or addition to saving.
In the Annual Saving and Withdraw report, you will see total income and total spending and typically those two amounts are not the same. When spending is less than income in a given year, you will see in the next column a regular asset saving amount; when spending is more than income in a given year, the regular assets saving column will show a withdraw. These three columns taken together will always balance to zero.
Again, total spending will not be a smooth number from year to year, but discretionary spending (a part of total spending) will be smooth where possible and where there is no cash constraint.
When you compare one report to another, you are typically looking at discretionary spending to see whether your household spending went up or down.
Are the RMDs calculated for the retirement accounts?
When you look at each of the two retirement reports (husband and wife), you will typically see smooth or even withdraws through the years. The smooth pattern is a sign that the amount withdrawn is greater than the RMD. If you were to start smooth withdraws (see Settings > Retirement accounts) to begin say at age 80, Then you'd see a per-year calculated RMD for ages 72-79 and since that amount is probably not the same each year, the pattern is not going to be smooth. In short, the program ensures that you are at least taking Required Minimum Withdraws.