Which are more convenient to use for timing, events or stages?
Generally, events are much more flexible than stages since they can be easily moved up or down the timeline to reschedule the timing and duration of items in a plan, provided that the event is not being used as stage boundary.
Stage boundary events are noted with perforated boxes. Stages, by contrast, are discrete periods of time that cannot overlap. Stages a better suited for dividing the timeline at a broader level. Retirement, for example, could be divided into two stages, "Active Retirement" and "Late Retirement" or "Long Term Care" both with very different needs and expenses. All said, use events primarily.
Also, generally, the timeline should be subdivided into no more than six stages. Using an excess of stages can diminish their effectiveness when presenting the plan to your client.
Events are an extremely flexible and powerful feature in Voyant.
Not only are they a free form drag-and-drop feature that allow you to schedule things to happen in the future, they also serve as discussion points as you present plans to your clients. View the timeline on the Time screen or the Let’s See charts and you can clearly see the events serving as inflection points in the timeline. Moreover, events are movable. Should you need to reschedule something, you can immediately see the effect as you drag the event up or town the timeline. Repositioning an event will affect everything that is connected to the event.
A commonly asked question among first-time users of Voyant is why use events? Why not dates or the future ages of the clients for timing.
Events provide a layer of abstraction in the plan. With the exception of the special scenario modelling events to the right of the events palette, events will do nothing when you first drag and drop them to the timeline. They are merely abstractions. Want to plan for a daughter’s future wedding or to pay for the children’s university fees? First drag and drop events to mark the single year in which the event, such as the wedding, will occur or use a pair of events to mark a span of time, such as when the children will begin university and when they will graduate. It is essential to understand that until you tie these events to something, in this case to university fees or wedding expenses, as entered under Expenses, the events do nothing.
Once linked to an expense, the event will schedule when the expense is to occur and if a recurring expense, when it will end.
Events can be used to schedule not only expenses but also the time span over which annual contributions will be made to savings, investments, or pensions; increasing, decreasing or changing future growth rates and asset allocations; scheduling future transfers; even scheduling the release of funds from an account. Events are also used to set the parameters for simulations. For example, a future goal event can be selected for a savings need analysis to determine how much more needs to be saved annually between now and that future point in time, to prevent any potential shortfalls thereafter.