September 21, 2016 – By Sheiresa Ngo
Retirement planning can be overwhelming at times. That’s why it can be helpful to take advantage of the many retirement tools that are available. Katie Ross, education and development manager for financial education nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling, said retirement tools can take some of the pain out of planning.
“The readily available tools make it easier to complete many of the most basic and important tasks and can include things such as budgeting, creating legal documents, and more,” Ross said. “You can find tools for people nearing retirement or for ones just beginning to think about the whole process. Depending on the stage you are in you’re able to make more educated decisions about your retirement.”
Be aware that it’s not a great idea to be overly dependent on these tools. Lingke Wang, co-founder of life insurance startups Ovid and Ethos, said retirement planning tools should only be seen as a complement to retirement planning. You’ll ultimately need to speak with a professional. “I generally see retirement planning tools as a ‘gateway’ into thinking about retirement. However, engaging with a trained retirement planner should be the next step. The professional can help assess all facets of one’s situation,” said Wang.
Here are six retirement tools the experts suggest every retirement investor should know about.
AARP.org offers several retirement tools such as articles, retirement calculators, and social security calculators. Even though retirement tools are helpful, Levar Haffoney, wealth manager at Fayohne Advisors LLC, reminds savers that retirement planning tools only offer hypothetical scenarios. “They cannot provide accurate depictions of your retirement situation because your lifestyle needs and financial status may change,” Haffoney said.
2. Life Insurance Calculator by Life Happens
While you’re planning your retirement, also make sure to check and see that you have enough life insurance so your loved ones will be taken care of. Wang said savers should consider the life insurance calculator developed by Life Happens to help calculate your needs.
3. My Social Security Account
Don’t forget about the Social Security website when it comes to planning for retirement. Emily Brandon, senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and author of Pensionless: The 10-Step Solution for a Stress-Free Retirement, said the my Social Security Account tool lists earnings history, taxes paid, and a personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefit. “You can find out how much you will be eligible to receive from Social Security in retirement if you sign up at various ages,” Brandon said. “The document will also list the amount you will qualify for if you become disabled and how much your family members might receive if you pass away.”
4. Advisor Connect
Advisor Connect provides phone-based investing advice to customers in all 50 states. Financial advisors are not compensated based on the products they sell, and they don’t sell proprietary funds. Yvette Butler, president of Capital One Investing, said clients have access to Capital One Advisors Managed Portfolios and that each portfolio is comprised of low-cost, third-party ETFs (not proprietary funds).
5. American Consumer Credit Counseling Financial Calculator
American Consumer Credit Counseling, which provides information and assistance on issues such as identity theft, credit, debt, and budgeting has a helpful financial calculator. This tool helps retirement savers figure out if their nest egg is large enough to retire comfortably.
6. T. Rowe Price Retirement Income Calculator
Art Koff, founder of Retired Brains, recommends using the T. Rowe Price retirement income calculator to assist with calculating future retirement income. “The calculator helps you determine how much you may have available to spend each month in retirement and the likelihood your savings will last throughout your retirement. The calculator will run 1,000 market simulations to evaluate your chances of success and offer some tips to help improve your situation,” Koff said.
“Your credit score is more than number,” said April Masini, a relationship expert and author. “It’s an indication of your relationship with money.” Knowing that score is a great way to find commonalities in a romantic relationship.
“If your credit score is in the high 700s and you’re dating someone who’s got a 400-ish score, you instantly know there is a huge difference between the two of you when it comes to awareness, responsibility and ‘future thinking’ about money,” Masini said.