The program is calculating the nominal return on the beginning of the year balance inputs and showing in the reports the end of the year balance. Earnings on Regular Assets are shown in the Income Overview report. Earnings on Retirement Accounts are shown in the retirement account reports.

As we approach the end of the year, uses ask: Is there is a way to adjust for what seem to be known returns for the current year? They want to assume, say, not the default 1.25% or 3% (whatever it is) but rather, for example, 12% which they fell confident they will earn now that the end of year is in sight. There is a way but do remember, to take 2018 as an example, when US Stocks dropped 14.28% from Oct 1 - Dec 31 2018! The year's not over til it's over.

Settings and Assumptions does allow you to indicate the the rate of return will change. So you could indicate that the current year return is 10% or -10% etc., and that starting the next year and after it will change back to your default, safe assumption. One can make these adjustments in both regular asset and retirement asset settings in Settings and Assumptions.

In the new year, January 1, you should update balances to accurately reflect their current levels as well as mortgage balance and years remaining. After Jan 1, small alert flags will appear for input items you should check to see if they need updating for the new year.

One feature request that is in the works will allow you to input current balances at any point in the year and the program will prorate and calculate the first year based on the current date instead of Jan 1 from the beginning of the year.

Here's a list of reminders about what you should update in the new calendar year: New Year Update

Practical Consequences

What is the value of more accurately representing your current-year return rate? At the beginning of the year we use a cautious assumption as is appropriate for a deterministic model that bills itself as a safe, risk-free model.

But late in the year, we might become more confident about what we can assume is a safe return for the current year.  If we end up believing that say 6% will be a safe assumption in late October and enter that amount using the approach described above, we might discover that our annual discretionary spending has risen say from 90,000 annually to 91,800. Will we thus go out and spend an extra $1,800 before the end of the year? Maybe, but keep in mind that there are many other variables that we must wait on until January 1 in order to have the full picture for 2024 and beyond. There's cola adjustments to Social Security as well federal and state tax law updates that will be entered into MaxiFi on January 1.