Retirement Planning Tools

LAST REVIEWED May 01 2020 8 MIN READ

By The Human Interest Team

Saving for retirement is complicated. These calculators and worksheets can help ensure you’re on track to building comfortable retirement assets. Each of these retirement apps and tools offers different perspectives, recommendations, and glimpses into your current and future savings.

Retirement Planning Tools

Retirement calculators have been a popular tool for individuals considering retirement strategies since the 1990s. Some complex calculators are free, and others have a fee. While the Maximize My Social Security tool is a paid resource that is worth considering, the free calculators below can help younger retirement planners consider different courses of action.

Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner

This is a complex retirement tool that can help you plan your retirement in detail. If you register for a free Personal Capital account, you have access to their Retirement Planner calculator. It uses a “Monte Carlo simulation,” or a simulation that lets you see all the outcomes for different courses of action at once. It simulates different factors, including Social Security, savings, taxes, inflation, and even a spouse’s retirement possibilities. Because this calculator uses specific savings and spending amounts instead of estimates, it can give users far more precise results.

Stash’s Retirement Calculator

This calculator provides a quick snapshot for individuals who want to know if their retirement savings are on track. Users can simply add their age and expected retirement age, income, and savings to get a simplified picture that tells them how much they should be saving or how much they’ll have at their current rate of savings.

Another advantage of Stash’s Retirement Calculator is its assumption filters. Users can add in more complex factors, like life expectancy, inflation, and anticipated spending during retirement. This provides a more nuanced look into whether users are saving enough for retirement. Users can also begin investing through Stash with only $5.

Charles Schwab’s Retirement Savings

This calculator helps users turn their current situation and investment savings into an actionable plan for retirement. The calculator tools give people retirement savings health reports and recommendations. It can even take into account your current preferred risk levels as it suggests different investment routes. Remember: As a general rule, younger investors can be more aggressive and choose riskier investments than older investors who need steadier and more predictable outcomes.

AARP Retirement Calculator

This simple two-step calculator gives users recommendations about how to reach their retirement goals. While it doesn’t provide retirement advice, it can give people ideas for lifestyle changes and making adjustments to spending habits. All you need to do is enter in this information:

  • Your age

  • Your marital status

  • Your current salary

  • Your current savings

  • Your expected Social Security income

  • Your lifestyle and anticipated spending levels

The calculator can give you helpful insights about if your current investment track is robust enough to support your spending or if you’ll outlive your future income.

Market Watch’s Retirement Calculator

This calculator has both basic and advanced settings. Users can get a basic overview of their future assets, spending possibilities, and income-based on present numbers. For a more in-depth look, investors can include taxes, life expectancy, and inflation factors. Market Watch also offers several resources for investing advice, in-depth looks into investment funds, and educational material for people who want to focus on retirement savings.

Retirement Savings Amount

Calculators can help you analyze your current saving and spending habits to see if you’re on track for a comfortable retirement. Vigilantly examining your personal finance habits is an important part of preparing for retirement, but saving is just as (or even more) important. Saving early in your career and taking advantage of catch-up contribution opportunities can help you meet the goals recommended by these calculators.

Younger investors don’t need to work toward a specific amount, but they do need to carefully consider their overarching strategies. Younger investors should also focus on maximizing contributions to get employer matching contributions and to work toward investing at least 12%-15% of their annual income.

Investors of all ages should consider factors like Social Security, expected annual spending, and the length of their retirement (at least 30 years) when refining their savings strategies.

Comparing the Two Types of IRAs

Both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are governed by strict rules regarding age, income, and contribution amounts. In 2020, individuals can contribute up to $6,000 (or $7,000 if they’re 50 or older), depending on their total income. One key difference between the two IRA types is that Traditional IRA contributions are pre-tax, or tax-deductible, and Roth IRA contributions are post-tax, or not tax-deductible.

Cost of Cashing Out on Employer Plans

When you leave your employer, you have an option to “cash-out” your retirement accounts instead of rolling them over to other accounts. However, this option has a high risk of penalties. If you decide against rolling your account over to your new employer’s 401(k) plan or an IRA of your own, then the rollover is subject to the same 10% tax penalty of early withdrawals. If you cash out a traditional 401(k), which has pre-tax contributions, the funds will be considered income and you’ll have to pay taxes at your current tax rate.

Rolling Over Your Retirement Account

When you leave an employer, you can continue to hold company assets outside of the retirement account. The shares can also be rolled into a traditional IRA, where they can remain or be converted into a Roth IRA.

Effects of Investment Cost on Retirement Spending

One important element to consider when predicting retirement outcomes is the fees. Different investment funds and accounts have different investing fees, maintenance costs, and other unexpected costs of investing in different options.

Retirement Expense and Retirement Income Worksheet

Much like calculators, retirement income worksheets let individuals take an in-depth look at future costs like housing, food, and other expenses. Users can calculate both their future income and future spending with different worksheets.

Estimating Your Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) in Retirement

Retirement investors should also factor RMDs into their considerations. Investors need to plan to make these required withdrawals once they reach the age of 70 1/2 or face potential penalties.

Helping your employees make educated, long-term decisions about their retirement savings can be challenging. Contact Human Interest today for access to professional advice and more resources.

We believe that everyone deserves access to a secure financial future, which is why we make it easy to provide a 401(k) to your employees. Human Interest offers a low-cost 401(k) with automated administration, built-in investment advising, and integration with leading payroll providers.

Subscribe to our Retirement Roadmap newsletter

Retirement isn’t just a destination. It’s a journey, and we’re here to help you. Our newsletter delivers succinct and timely tips, reviewed by Financial Advisors, to help you navigate the path to financial independence.

By providing your email above or subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to our Privacy Policy. You also elect to receive communications from Human Interest.