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Retirement Planning

How much do I need to retire? Guide to a few retirement planning calculators

If you need a simple tool to help determine how much money you need to retire, or how well your retirement plan is working, check out these sources.

This article highlights three free sources for retirement planning tools. Try using a retirement planning calculator. The following three sources can help you better estimate the level of monthly savings necessary to make it to retirement, as well as help you predict how your retirement savings accounts are stacking up.

Today, there are many great retirement planning calculators, tools, and programs you can use to plan for life after work. They can be as complex or as simple as you like, affording you the benefits of being able to plan ahead, stay on track, and even identify potential gaps. But whether you shell out hundreds of dollars for a program or opt for one that's absolutely free, the best tool for retirement planning depends on your stage in life and the amount of time that you want to spend entering data into your computer. To help get you started, here are a few retirement planning calculators and tools to take for a test drive. And because free is a good thing, our picks won't cost you a cent.

Retirement planning calculators

  • The Vanguard Retirement Nest Egg Calculator is a great basic and simple to use tool to see if you're saving enough. With very little data entry, it bases its simulation on historical data points, providing you with a valuable perspective on how large sums of money behave over longer stretches of time. If you're looking for an easy to use calculator, give this one a spin first. 
  • The Financial Mentor Ultimate Retirement Planning Calculator packs a lot of information into a single program. It's simple to use, and offers a wide variety of inputs covering most of the retirement possibilities you might face. It allows you to control/adjust inflation and tax rates, as well as scheduling a set of post-retirement incomes (including cost of living adjustments) and/or one-time benefits. It also generates a user friendly report that lets you easily see and verify your results. For being a freebie, this retirement calculator is a real gem. Be sure and check it out. 
  • The Flexible Retirement Planner is different in that it models after real-world retiree behavior by adjusting spending in response to major portfolio fluctuations. It allows you to build a more sophisticated retirement planning simulation by creating “what-if” scenarios that adjusts for inflation and tax treatments. Some of the more advanced features include recommended mandatory distributions (RMDs) and a sensitivity analysis - if you want to get a bit granular.

Even if you're working with a financial planner, these retirement planning calculators can be a big help when it comes to preplanning. Not only can they allow you to see where you might be veering off-track, but they can also help facilitate a more actionable dialog and strategy between you and your financial professional.



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