Start by getting the best estimate of how long you’re likely to live! It’s the great unknown – and it has the most significant impact on your need for retirement savings and your withdrawal plans. So don’t skip this step. Here are two calculators that will make the process easy – but don’t lie about your exercise and eating habits!
Click on the Life Expectancy Calculator, which is completely private and takes only a few minutes. Answer the lifestyle and family demographic questions. Another click gives your projected life expectancy, which might be surprising!
Society of Actuaries Longevity Calculator
More than just an “average”, this calculator lets you see how long you might live with different degrees of certainty based on the expectations for an average individual with your characteristics. And it can model for two lives, you and your spouse.
Now you’re ready to look at the significant retirement numbers. Below are several great calculators that will give you a clear look at where you stand, where you’re likely to end up if you stay on the same path, and how you can improve the outcome starting now. Remember, time is more valuable than money, so don’t procrastinate!
ChoosetoSave.org – Ballpark Retirement Calculator
Created by the non-profit EBRI (Employee Benefits Research Institute), this is one of the most complete and sophisticated online calculators to let you know whether you’re on track to reach your retirement goals – or what more you should be doing about saving. Start here for a serious, independent look at your situation.
Fidelity’s Retirement Score Calculator
Are you on track to meet your retirement savings goals? Or will you fall short. Click on this link to Fidelity’s calculator and answer six simple questions to find out.
Vanguard Nest Egg Calculator
How long will your savings last at retirement? How much should you invest and at what rate can you safely withdraw? Click on this link to run simulations.
Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Calculator
Every major mutual fund company has an online RMD calculator, so for simplicity’s sake here’s the one from AARP, along with a good explanation. There are huge penalties for failure to correctly calculate the amount the government requires you to withdraw from pretax retirement plans such as IRAs and 40lks, starting in the year you reach age 70-1/2. You don’t have to take it from each account, but you must keep records of year-end valuations on all retirement accounts to calculate the withdrawal, which can be made from any account. (You can always withdraw more!)