Those of you who have been using The Retirement Analysis Kit for years may have noticed that our 2020 release happened later than usual. We strive to release updates by mid-January, but this year the street release was on January 21 and the corporate updates went out on February 3.
We received a few phone calls from users who wanted to receive the 2020 update as soon as possible. As a subscriber, I understand that desire for timely updates. However, we had to incorporate a few unexpected year-end changes with little or no advance notice.
December is always a busy time of year, and we generally do not pay attention to legislation, but the SECURE Act was enacted on December 20, just 11 days before the end of the year. It required changing the required minimum distribution (RMDs) and removing the Stretch IRA calculator, which involved coding and testing.
Another set of unanticipated changes arose from the new W-4. It no longer has allowances, which have been replaced by other data points. This resulted in changes to our very popular Paycheck Calculator, the Federal 1040, and the Import Tool in both the desktop and online versions. (If you have never seen the Paycheck Calculator in action, watch our short video about this great tool for engaging clients/participants).
In addition to all those changes, our 2020 release introduces more than 130 newly designed reports with more readable fonts, new colors, and improved layouts. Our previous reports were more than ten years old, and it was time for an update. But the desktop version required more than three months of work, and TRAK-Online is still being updated.
Finally, we relocated to a new office. It’s just a few blocks away, but moving is always more work than anticipated and it slowed down our release schedule.
We could have rushed our work and released 2020 TRAK a little sooner, but there are good reasons to take it slowly. Just consider the Iowa Democratic caucuses, where they pushed out software too quickly. Now the candidates, electors, and the press are all frustrated, and everyone is pointing fingers. To prevent those types of problems, we refuse to push out releases before they’re ready. This means that sometimes we miss our target date, but we’re committed to providing top-quality releases. We promise to always choose quality over speed.
As we look forward to 2020, we wish you all the best. We thank you for your patronage, and we hope you have your most successful year yet.