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Monday, June 21, 2021

Best Retirement Planning Tools and Software | 401ks

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If you’re looking for ways to track your savings and financially map out your retirement years, there are many digital options available. However, not all retirement planning tools and software are easy to follow. “There are many different types of calculators, including ones designed specifically for retirement planning, but often the learning curve to be able to use these can be long and tedious,” says Lamar Brabham, CEO and founder of Noel Taylor Agency, a financial services firm in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Some retirement planning software has hefty initial costs or ongoing subscription fees.

However, there are some retirement planning tools that may align with your needs and budget. “There are affordable, user friendly and effective options for the average person trying to get a grip on their finances,” Brabham says.

The best retirement planning tools and software include:

  • Betterment Retirement Savings Calculator.
  • Charles Schwab Retirement Calculator.
  • Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired Quotient Tool.
  • Fidelity Retirement Score.
  • Personal Capital Retirement Planner.
  • Stash Retirement Calculator.
  • The Complete Retirement Planner.

Here is a breakdown of these options, along with information regarding their cost and top features.

Betterment Retirement Savings Calculator

Betterment has a free calculator based on just four questions. You will be asked to enter information about your age, annual household income before taxes, the amount you’ve already saved for retirement and how much your household sets aside for retirement every year. The calculator then shows your projected annual spending in retirement. You can see how much you could potentially spend each year based on your investments and Social Security income. The calculator shows both likely and conservative scenarios for your spending each year in retirement.

Charles Schwab Retirement Calculator

Charles Schwab offers a free retirement savings calculator that will tell you if you are saving enough to cover your estimated annual retirement expenses. The calculator collects information from you, including your current age, planned retirement age and investment style. You also enter your current income, amount saved for retirement and monthly savings. The calculator asks when you plan to start receiving Social Security benefits and how much you plan to spend each year in retirement. The tool then offers a summary of your current projected retirement savings, along with the savings needed. It offers suggestions on what to change, such as your retirement age or annual contributions, to meet your savings needs by the time you retire.

Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired Quotient (R:IQ) Tool

You’ll be asked to describe your retirement dream with the R:IQ tool, which is free. You’ll also note your current income, how much you expect to need each month during retirement, how many years until you plan to retire and what you’ve saved so far. The R:IQ tool allows you to then assess what you can expect to have in retirement, based on your current investments. It also shows how much you will need to save to reach your retirement goals. The tool can be used to set savings goals for each month that will enable you to live out your retirement dream.

Fidelity Retirement Score

This free tool can be used to provide a quick assessment of your savings strategy. You answer six questions about your age, income, current saved amount, monthly savings, expected retirement lifestyle and your investment style. The tool will give you a score based on your responses. You can also see what happens to your score if you change certain factors like your monthly savings, standard of living in retirement or retirement age.

Personal Capital Retirement Planner

Personal Capital provides a free retirement planner tool. You’ll be asked to enter certain data and link your accounts to the planner so it can analyze your savings and spending habits. It will calculate your chances of having a portfolio that will support your retirement goals. Since your accounts are linked, you can track your progress toward meeting retirement goals over time. The planner also covers variables including taxes, inflation, Social Security and spousal retirement.

If you plan to make a big financial purchase in the near future, like buying a home or paying for college, you can see how that would impact your retirement goals. The tool also factors in significant income events, such as a windfall, inheritance or rental income. You can create different scenarios to see how making changes could impact your retirement finances.

Stash Retirement Calculator

With the free retirement calculator at Stash, you can fill in the blanks to note how old you are, when you plan to retire, how much you earn each year before taxes, how much you’ve saved and what you’re currently putting toward retirement every month. Based on this information, the tool shows you how much money you can expect to have in retirement and how much you are likely to need. These two figures are displayed graphically to contrast the amount you’re on track to have with the amount that Stash advises you accumulate based on your entered data. The calculator also includes an analysis of your current savings strategy and resources to learn more about your retirement financial needs.

The Complete Retirement Planner

At $79.99, this planner allows you to create a customized and detailed financial plan for both before and after retirement. If you’re married, it allows annual amounts to be entered for each spouse in different categories, including multiple income sources, traditional 401(k) and IRA contributions, investment return rates and Social Security income.

TCRP is a digital download and remains with you, allowing you to enter personal information without having sensitive financial data stored in an outside source. There are integrated notes on complex topics like Medicare costs, Social Security benefits and common tax laws. The planner comes with a built-in Social Security calculator and helps estimate health care costs in retirement.

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