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Tips for reducing solve times

Most cases should solve in less than three minutes.  However, Pathfinder can do millions of calculations to produce your results, and the more complex your case, the more calculations it has to do.  If your case is taking longer than usual, some approaches are in the table below.

TipDetailsHow to do it
Make a copy of your scenario for referenceIf you have managed to get some results, then make a copy of the scenario, and make changes to the copy, so you can at least keep the original results for reference.See How to make another scenario for comparison
Do something else while the case is solvingIf Pathfinder is taking a long time, you can log out and come back later to check the results.
  1. Click the Start solve button
  2. You can log out or work on another case in Pathfinder - do not keep your solving case open in a separate window.
  3. If you check back in 15 minutes, it's likely that the case will be finished
  4. First, go to the 'Solve' step, and check the 'Solve log'
    1. Check the solve time - this is useful to know for future solves
    2. Check for any other errors messages
  5. Check the results as normal

Troubleshoot the cash shortfall or lack of funds

If there is a shortfall or funds are tight, this can slow down Pathfinder.  If you take steps to fix the shortfall, this may speed up the case.

Pathfinder will clearly report a cash shortfall, but it is more subtle if the funds are tight (this most commonly occurs if the individuals are retired for a large portion of the analysis). To see if the cash flows are tight and slowing down the analysis:

  1. Copy the scenario 
  2. At the Cash flows step, delete all expenses
  3. Solve again
    1. If the solve time is still slow, then the cause is probably not tight cash flows
    2. If the solve time is better, then see the suggestions on How to investigate and fix cash shortfalls
For more see How to investigate and fix cash shortfalls.
Reduce the number of years of analysis

If it's suitable for your case, you can run the case for fewer years than the default 20-year projections. This reduces the number of calculations that Pathfinder has to do and generally improves solves times. If retirement is happening in year 10 to 20, their first year of retirement can be a good cut-off point for the analysis.

Note that if you change the number of years of analysis, it may change the results in all years.

See How to set the number of years for analysis.
Turn off the Family Tax Benefit (FTB)

If your case has children and you know that the individuals aren't going to receive the FTB, then you can tell Pathfinder to exclude the FTB estimates, since it will take fewer calculations to get the same outcome.

You may also think it's appropriate to exclude the FTB estimate if the payments are low or in the distant future.

For more about excluding the FTB and how to check payments in the results, see How to include the Family Tax Benefit (FTB-A and FTB-A).
Exclude the Age Pension estimate

If any individuals in the case are over Age Pension age in the analysis, and none of them are projected to receive an Age Pension payment then you can tell Pathfinder to exclude the Age Pension estimate, since it will take fewer calculations to get to the same outcome of not pension payment. If you include the Age Pension estimate, Pathfinder will try to calculate and optimise eligibility, which can take time, even if the end result is no payment.

If the Age Pension payment is low or in the distant future, then it may also be suitable to exclude the Age Pension estimate from the calculations.

For more see How to include or exclude the Government Age Pension.
Change 'Property/Family home' sale instructions from 'If optimal' or 'Keep for X years'

If your case has a property or family home where the sell option has been set to 'If optimal' or 'Keep for X years', Pathfinder has to do more calculations, which can increase the solve time, particularly if there are several properties or funds are tight. Setting a more precise sell date saves Pathfinder doing so many calculations.

  • If you know when to sell the property, set the exact date
  • Try using 'Never sell' and see if this improves the solve time - if you choose 'Never sell' and get a cash shortfall, the first year the shortfall occurs is a good indication of the latest year the property can be sold, so you can then set an exact property sale date.
  • If you have results with the 'If optimal' or 'Keep for X years' options set. Check what year the property is sold and set that year for subsequent runs.

Adjust income/expenses in retirement

If the individual will be retired for most of the analysis, it's possible that funds are tight even though a shortfall isn't being reported (Pathfinder has to work harder to avoid the shortfall).

You may find that treating the case as if it had a shortfall will speed up the solve times.  For more, see How to investigate and fix cash shortfalls.

Stop the solve or solve another scenario

At the Results > Solve step, once your scenario has started solving, you can click the Stop solve button.

When you click Stop solve, you should note:

  • It may still take some time to finish processing - if this is the case, as a last resort, you can copy the scenario and keep working in the copy.
  • You may get results, but they could be incorrect, so you should not use them as your final results.
Contact Optimo Financial or use our paraplanning service

You may find it more effective to submit the case to the Optimo Financial SDS, so we can run the case for you or you can contact Optimo Financial to ask for any suggestions for how to reduce the solve times.

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