Pretirement: A Review

Ever wished that your purse contained a countdown clock to the date you will be financially independent?
Ever asked yourself whether making the effort to save an additional $20/month is really worth it?
Ever tried to convince a recalcitrant spouse that buying avocado toast twice a week really is going to add up?

The Pretirement App (available in both the Apple and Android app stores) aims to fulfill these very desires.

Pretirement app

This article is a review of the Apple version of the app. Mr. BITA tried out the Android version and confirmed that it offers the same features.

When you first launch the app, it greets you with this question:

Pretirement app

Clicking on the ‘Get Started’ button takes you through a few screens where you enter some basic information. All information used by this app is entered manually – it doesn’t link to any of your financial accounts. It also does not require you to create an account, and I give it bonus points for just letting you get right to it.

You can pay $4.99 for a Ad-free version of Pretirement.

When you hit submit, it shows you a countdown clock to your financial independence date.

The screen also shows you your current assets. The assets keep incrementing automatically based on the ROI and savings rate you specified, just as the clock keeps counting down.

My guess is that the date isn’t based on Monte Carlo simulations or anything remotely fancy. It probably just uses a simple NPER style function to spit out these values.

The ‘Save’ and ‘Spend’ buttons allow you to see the effect on your date if you are either a good ant or a naughty grasshopper.

You can enter an amount to save or spend, and the frequency with with you intend for the money to enter or leave your wallet. The app crunches the numbers and shows you something like this:

The ‘Plot’ button shows you this same information via a very simple graph.


What is Pretirement good for?

Pretirement is clearly not a serious retirement planning app. It is a toy, and should be treated as such, but it is a toy that can be both fun and useful. The interface is simple and minimalistic, an aesthetic that appeals to me.

The countdown clock (and the constant asset updates) are fun to watch. Well, they are fun to watch in a bull market. In a bear market watching your theoretical assets climb while your actual Stash shrinks would probably be incredibly annoying.

I think the more useful part of this app is the fact that it gives you a quick and dirty way to visualize the effect of both spending and saving. Imagine that you are roaming the aisles of Target and are overwhelmed with the urge to procure those purple polka dotted shorts that are cute beyond belief. You could wrestle with your baser self and hope to emerge triumphant. Or you could pull out the app, enter the amount your are planning to spend, watch your retirement date fade into the distance and be easily convinced that there are no shorts in this universe that are cute enough for that.

Or maybe you are the financial geek of the family, but your spouse would rather swallow a cactus than deal with numbers on a daily basis. Pretirement could be the way to avoid repeated conversations about the ‘true’ cost of purchases. When either of you gets a raise or bonus, Pretirement gives you a quick way to know just how much celebration your newly earned moolah deserves

Bottom Line

Our brains have a tough time visualizing the effect of compounding at the best of times, and when one is weak in the knees with temptation, the siren call of immediate gratification makes it even easier to ignore compounding and say “But it is only $40!” Think of Pretirement as the friend in your pocket that gives you a nice cold shower just when you need it most.


10 thoughts on “Pretirement: A Review”

  1. Looks to be a nice quick and dirty tool to pass some messages to people that are new to the subject and that need some eye opening graphs.

    I consider ourselves fortunate that our spending level became an habit. Best position to be in.

    1. That is a very good place to be, doubly so if both you and your spouse have reached that same place.

    1. You’re welcome. It is fun, for about 6 minutes. Then you can forget all about it, until you want to know how much a particular expenditure would set you back. So in that sense it isn’t quite in the league of cfiresim or The Earth Awaits or reddit – those bad boys can swallow up hours.

  2. There goes my plan of creating a similar app for the FI/RE crowd! 🙂
    Jokes apart, maybe this is something I can set up on the wife’s phone…
    Wouldn’t it be nice if it popped up an alert once it senses you’re in the proximity of a mall, or if the Amazon app is in the foreground?

  3. Yeah that’s a fun toy for a few minutes. Useful for a check in now again, I’m sure, as I’m in the habit of gaming out random money scenarios whenever I take a walk.

    You joke about Target but I was in one for less than five minutes two days ago to help a friend pick up an online order – specifically placed so that we wouldn’t have to walk through the door – and I’m STILL thinking about that extra cute $1 pencil pouch that I know I don’t NEED but my organization-craving soul is convinced would help bring order to my life. Two days, and I’m still thinking about it.

    I thank JuggerBaby for being a highly distractable, impossible to keep still, runner who must be pursued at all times. Ze saved me from my inner self.

    1. I knew toddlers had to have _some_ use.

      If the thing that I got stuck in your head only cost $1 I would count myself lucky. There are worse fates.

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