User Guide

Getting Started with TOTAL Online's What-If

Everything you need to need to know to start using TOTAL Online's powerful What-If system. Save time learning the What-If system by working through the help items below. View text with moving images for each step on this page, or view the TOTAL What-If User Guide (PDF).

  1. Introduction to the What-If System
  2. Overview
  3. Navigating to the What-If
  4. 1st View & Calculation Options
  5. Parent (1st column) & Alternative Scenarios (2nd & 3rd columns)
  6. Data Topics & Data Changes 
  7. Saving What-If scenarios & other What-If Scenario Options
  8. Selecting Parent vs What-if vs Planning Scenarios
  9. Graph & Column Display Options
  10. Including What-If in Reports
  11. What-If Report 

1. Introduction to the What-If System

The What-If delivers two primary functions:
  1. Change planning variables quickly.
    • Change planning data to display What-If scenario results.
    • Compare planning data between scenarios.
    • Save an unlimited number What-If scenarios.
    • Provide the ability to promote a What-If scenario to a planning scenario, making it available for the main data entry and reports.
  2. Compare scenario results instantly.
    • The retirement capital results of up three scenarios can be displayed in an overlay graph.
    • The graph data points display corresponding retirement capital amount for each scenario upon mouse over.
Important points for using the What-If:
  • A new calculation engine provides instant results.
    • What-if calculations occur as data changes are made. Projections are updated in real time allowing immediate comparison of new hypothetical scenarios to current planning models.
    • What-if calculations replicate those of Easy Money or Golden Years, but  may differ slightly due to rounding or precision differences in input data. Variations may amount to a few hundred dollars. 

  • The What-If simplifies the data input.
    • Details, like future change table entries, may have large impacts on results. What-If data entry systems offer access to most primary and secondary planning information input options.
    • If changes to additional data points are desired, a copy of the original planning scenario may be modified using all the fields of functions of the primary data entry system. The resulting modified scenario may then be compared in the What-If system.

2. Overview of the What-If System

The retirement capital results of up to three scenarios can be displayed in an overlay graph. The scenario data can be viewed and changed.

The graph instantly reflects any changes to the planning data. The Monte Carlo success rate displays next to each scenario name.


 An unlimited number of What-If scenarios can be saved.  What-If scenarios can be promoted to become planning scenarios. 

The What-If graph and details of any data changes can be included in the planning reports. 

3. Navigating to the What-If 

Go to [Clients] on the left side menu and select a client to open. Select a client and open a planning scenario. The selected scenario will be the primary (parent) scenario for the What-If.

With a planning scenario open, the What-If becomes available.


Navigate to [What-If] on the left-hand menu, located below Reports.

4. 1st View & Calculation Options

The 1st view of the What-If includes the retirement capital estimate graph of the parent scenario and two columns below.

The left column is the baseline parent scenario, and the data cannot be changed. The right column is a copy of the parent scenario, where the data can be changed to create What-If scenarios.


The option to use Easy Money or Golden Years calculations is available at the top right. To learn about key differences and assumptions used in the  calculations, visit: TOTAL: Goal vs Cash-Flow Planning

5. Parent (1st column) & Alternative Scenarios (2nd & 3rd columns)

The 1st column is the parent planning scenario. The retirement capital results display in the graph above in green. The planning data can be viewed for the parent scenario, but not changed. This column and the corresponding graph serves as a reference for comparisons.


The 2nd column is available to compare results to the parent scenario. The retirement capital results display in the graph above in light blue. The column will display a copy of the parent planning scenario by default. Changes can be made to the planning variables in this column.

6. Data Topics & Data Changes

Data is broken into topics, like the main plan data input. Click the topic [gray bar with title] to open or close a section. Most, but not all, data is available to be changed on the What-If.


Changes to the planning data will automatically be reflected in the retirement capital graph. This example shows the impact of delaying retirement by two years.


To add new items such as assets, an [Add] button is available at the bottom of the data input sections. Enter the information for the new item.


Age change entries are indicated by circled age of the change event. If there are multiple age-changes, each age with a change will display.

Click on the circled age to edit an age change item. To add a new age change, click the plus (+). A new row appears with age and amounts set to 0. Enter change age and change amount. Age change entries can be removed by clicking the (x) to the right of individual age change items.


Data items, such as an asset or expense, can be removed by clicking the trash icon.


7. Saving What-If scenarios & What-If scenario options

Click the Save icon to keep changes and name the What-If scenario. The name of the saved What-If will display in the graph legend and the column header.  The “(What-if)” prefix will be added automatically.

NOTE: Unlike the main data input, you must SAVE CHANGES made in the What-If by clicking the save icon. 


Additional options are available by clicking the gear icon. 

[PROMOTE] transforms a What-If scenario to a primary planning scenario, making available for the main data input and reports.

[RESET] reverts the What-If to a copy of the parent scenario.


8. Selecting Parent vs What-if vs Planning Scenarios

The 1st column always displays the parent scenario. The 2nd and 3rd column can display planning scenarios and what-if scenarios. Click the scenario name to drop down a list of available scenarios. The client’s planning scenarios and saved What-If scenarios are available.

Selecting a planning scenario allows you to compare planning data and results. However, changes cannot be made to the scenario data within the What-If.

Selecting the parent scenario or a previously saved What-If allows data to be changed and saved.


Again, What-If scenarios are based on the scenario opened on the main left-hand menu (the parent scenario.)  To make changes to a different planning scenario using What-If, select that scenario under [Planning Scenarios] on the left side menu and return to the What-If.


9. Graph & Column Display Options

One, two, or three graphs and corresponding columns can be displayed for the What-If.  Display (or hide) a graph and data by clicking the graph legend below the graph. Focus on a single scenario by hiding other graphs and data columns by clicking the graph legend items.


Mouse over any point on the graph to view the retirement capital value. 

A full-size view of the What-If graph can be opened in a separate tab or window of your browser.


10. Including What-If in Reports

To include What-If scenarios in the reports, go to [Reports] on the left side menu. Up to two What-If scenarios can be included with the client’s plan.

When the What-If graph is included in the Report Set, a [What if 1] drop down selection option will display. Saved What-If scenarios for the parent scenario will be available in the drop down for selection. After selecting the first What-If, an option to select a second will display [What-If 2].


The What-If is included in the basic, retirement, and entire default report sets.  The What-If report is not included all default report sets or any custom report sets. The What-If report must be added to custom report sets.


Add the What-If report to a custom report set by moving “What-If Graph” from the list of available report pages to selected pages and save the custom report set.

To learn about custom report sets, visit: Creating Custom Report Sets

11. What-If Report 

The What-If report displays the Retirement Capital Graph of the client’s current planning situation and the What-If scenarios. The Retirement Capital at last life expectancy and the Monte Carlo success rate displays for each scenario directly below the graph.


Details of each change between the current planning scenario and the What-If scenarios display below the Monte Carlo success rates. The What-If report will expand to multiple pages if required to include each data change between scenarios.

Questions? Send us a support request or call 877-421-9815. 

User Guide (PDF)

Training Video

Introduction (PDF)

Intro Video


In-Depth Planning:

Handle the complications of client financial situations with TOTAL's highly flexible planning data, comprehensive reports, and powerful What-If system.TOTALOnlineMBANoShadow.png

  • Create highly accurate plans
  • Make changes to data at any age
  • Discover pitfalls & provide solutions
  • Answer clients' questions instantly with the powerful What-If system

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