Keep up-to-date with the latest improvements to all of our Retirement Income Simulator products
We have just updated the simulator so that it's more accessible! We've pored through the WCAG 2.1 guide and implemented the recommendations. Now you can navigate the entire app using the keyboard, and it should be more screen-reader friendly.
The charts are also accessible, thanks to the release of Highchart's accessibility module. We've upgraded to the latest version of highcharts and added a whole bunch of annotations to each chart. We really like the way highcharts adds descriptive text for the chart.
Let's say we have the following chart:
If this was an image, all the screenreader will be able to tell you is the
alt text. However, this is highcharts, so the simulator will generate some nice HTML that makes it much easier to understand for a screen reader:
If the user wants to know the actual breakdown, then the individual data points are also highlightable, using the keyboard, and a description has been added to each data point:
You can go ahead and try it youself! Hit F12 on your browser and inspect the chart. The generated HTML is really nice :)
Making the site accessible turned out to be much more difficult than originally thought! The bulk of the work ended up being:
aria-labelto help with screen readers, or adding
aria-hiddento controls that should be hidden to screen readers - and more importantly changing them to visible when they change dynamically
roleattribute to various controls where needed
<div>element that should be a
<button>. Or a
<span>element that should be an anchor
The following resources really helped:
We'd love to hear from any people who are using screen readers or find the app difficult to use.
Two excellent new features in the Retirement Income Simulator are available now.
It is now possible to model a combination of investment options in the Retirement Income Simulator, by using the new 'Custom strategy' feature. We recognise that many super fund members have their savings in a combination of products, and having to choose a single option to use the RIS was a limitation for these customers.
On the Assumptions panel you can now select 'Custom' and enter percentages against each investment option, ensuring they add to 100%. This will then show the expected return for the combination strategy in the option menu.
We have limited this feature to the pre-retirement phase for now, and you can't combine with a Lifecycle option.
We have also changed the way voluntary contributions are set. Instead of setting both after-tax and salary sacrifice contributions on sliders, the user now sets the total voluntary contribution in after-tax dollars and the Simulator allocates between after-tax contributions and salary sacrifice contributions in a way that maximises the Government co-contribution and avoids breaching the concessional contribution cap. You can also select to manually allocate contributions as per previous functionality.
Following further reductions in the RBA cash rate, the Government amended the income test deeming rates to better reflect what retirees might actually earn on deposits. The deeming rates are used to calculate notional income on investment assets (including super savings in retirement phase), which in turn counts against the income test threshold for the Age Pension. The new lower rate of 1% p.a. and upper rate of 3% p.a. have now been applied in the Simulator.
Today we released the updated Retirement Income Simulator for the 2019-20 financial year. There were no changes to the underlying calculations, just parameter updates as follows:
We have chosen not to include the Low Income Tax Offset and Low and Middle Income Tax Offset at this stage, based on their relative size and the fact that they have no impact on super. If proposed changes now before Parliament are passed, we will review this decision. At present we are also considering modelling future income tax threshold changes that will occur from 2022. All of the changes impact after-tax income only, so are secondary to the purpose of the simulator.
Today, ASIC released regulations that allow super and retirement calculators to allow for increases in community living standards. Our previous post on this topic noted that ASIC had mandated using a 2.5% p.a. discount rate to convert future dollars to today's dollars, with a time-limited exemption for super and retirement calculators. Since then the exemption was extended twice, but we now have certainty about how we present today's dollar amounts.
We allow our clients to use inflation rates that are consistent with the default investment returns. The additional factor over price inflation that allows for increases in community living standards is usually between 1% and 1.5%.
No changes are required for the Retirement Income Simulator because it already allows for increases in community living standards, and discloses this.