Top Retirement Planning Tools and Calculators
To truly make retirement work-free, it’s essential that you plan for it. And with social security, 401Ks, pensions, life changes, inflation, and health expenses to take into account, it can be intimidating. Now, thanks to a number of smart retirement tools, apps, and calculators, you can get help monitoring spending, calculating life expectancy, and determining how much you need to live the lifestyle you want to once you retire—without much work. It’s like having your own financial advisor at your fingertips with these top tools.
You may feel like you have time before you hit retirement age. So why put money into savings when you could go on vacations, pay your bills, etc. now? What an increasing number of people are finding out is how expensive it’s still getting to age. Your annual income now is not necessarily reflective of what your financial future will look like.
It’s never too early to start planning for the future. Even teens could start putting away a little at a time towards their retirement savings and long-term financial goals.
If you’re confused about where to start, you could hire a financial planner to lay out a plan for you. Of course, this would also require that you follow that plan and make adjustments if it’s not realistic. Many people are opting for a more affordable option: mobile and online apps. What are your best options?
The first step to responsible retirement planning is understanding your cash flow and spending habits. With Apple’s, iFinance, it makes this easier than ever. Users who purchase this program for computer, mobile, or both, can take charge of their finances right away. By inputting financial data (like bank statements and histories), creating spending categories like gas, groceries, mortgage, and entertainment, and entering spending information, you can see a complete map of what, when, and how you’re spending.
Mint is similar to iFinance in that it tracks your spending carefully. However, Mint also acts as an online wallet where you can pay all of your bills, set budgets, get your credit score, and monitor spending. If you’re wondering how you can save, Mint will give you tips about how you can cut down on fees and unnecessary spending. It will even alert you for unknown charges. Compatible on tablets, smartphones, and computers, Mint is your go-to financial planner and accountant that will keep you on track before and during retirement.
You know you’re retiring at age 65, but do you know how many years you’ll need to support yourself with savings? If not, don’t worry. Blue Zones Vitality Calculator is the self proclaimed, “most accurate life estimator available.” By answering some basic questions about diet, exercise, weight, and emotional state, you can get a good idea about how long you are likely to live based on current habits.
The tool even gives you ways to elongate your life by days, weeks, and years by engaging in or abstaining from certain behaviors. The beauty of this tool is that it will give you an accurate estimate about how much you’ll need to save based on life expectancy. That way, you can plan ahead of time to ensure that you’re covered through it all and are able to live a long and relaxing life in retirement.
Ranked #1 by Money Magazine, ESPlanner is the brainchild of Boston University’s Professor of Economic, Laurence Kotlikoff. With a focus on standard of living, taxes, and social security, ESPlanner creates projections for users depending on their current financial status and factors like inflation, earnings, and spending.
With different program options, customers can opt into services they need depending on their stage of life. For retirees, there are options that can help calculate what age you should collect benefits and what the best option is for maximum lifetime benefit collection. Although this program sounds complicated, it’s actually really user friendly. You can stay as basic or get as advanced as you’d like. But for everyone, simple data input is a breeze.
Social security is a big factor in retirement planning. Depending on what age you file and your marital status, you could be shorting yourself thousands of dollars if you file too early. That’s where iMaximize comes in. This handy program works with computers, tablets, and smartphones and calculates 100,000 data points to determine the best social security filing plan for you.
After spending only five minutes answering questions, you’ll get a report with the smartest plan of action for filing for social security. Every plan is meticulously tailored to every individual and comes with a resource library and membership consultant who you can speak to over the phone for more advice. It’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re doing the right thing when it comes to social security and your financial planning.
This app can factor in things like future income if you put it in. Your savings rate will depend on how you follow your budget. You can continue using this app to manage your retirement finances as you age.
Fidelity Income Strategy Calculator
For about-to-be or current retirees, Fidelity Income Strategy Calculator is a great free tool that can help you reassess your investment strategy. In about twenty minutes, you can submit information about your current status to receive a model portfolio strategy that is potentially more profitable than your current investment plan. In every mock report, Fidelity will provide projections for how the sample strategy would perform and give you advice and instructions about how to move forward with a new plan.
Can Retirement Programs Replace Financial Professionals?
For more complicated situations, apps most likely won’t replace professionals any time soon. You might be surprised at how much these apps can do, though. For many people, setting a budget, seeing how it works, and following it on an app goes a long way. With many budget apps offering a more flexible way to put away income in retirement, it’s the constant resource many people of all ages need.
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