Ok I have to admit it, I wasn’t going to but I broke down and tried the MSN retirement calculator. Talking with a few people on the topic of saving for retirement, someone suggested it, so I decided to give it a try.
Here is what I discovered….
1. When searching for it I wasn’t sure if I was coming up with the correct calculator
2. You can find it on http://www.msn.com/ – before you go there, continue reading
3, In my quest for finding answers to my retirement issues, I found the msn retirement calculator to be almost to easy and actually not asking enough questions to fit my needs.
4. From what I can tell this is only for a individual and not for couples
5. Nothing is apparent as to the methodology or statistics that are being used in this calculator.
6. The calculations you get seems to be just a rough idea of what an individual really needs to work towards or save in order to have a certain annual retirement amount.
So when I put in my basic information with my age, when I plan to retire, the little I have saved, I literally wanted to cry. It told me I had to save (and I am assuming it meant yearly) almost $40,000. Wait, What? How the heck do I do this? How does the average Joe do this?
Back to doing my research on the topic of calculating retirement needs, I discovered the following:
Studies have shown that only about 40 % of people will actually take the time to do a calculation of what type of money they will need in retirement.
Why is this you ask? It is made known to me from individuals I (listen to) and talk with every day:
People are to busy in their daily lives, and figure there will be time later
People do not realize that retirement is complicated and a maze to get through
People do not have the knowledge of where to begin, what to calculate, how to figure things out.
So looking back over the MSN retirement calculator, I had to realize that this is a free tool that MSN offers, I always remember to keep in mind “you get what you pay for”. For me this tool gave me a rough idea of what I should be saving. It did give me calculations yet failed to give me the answers to my questions.
Understandably I did not feel totally comfortable with the results that I was getting and also the fact that I need to greatly increase my income to build up my retirement fund. My next step was to start looking around for another retirement calculator, where I could get answers to my own personal questions, doing this I kept jumping around a variety of websites and finally lost interest.
The retirement calculator I finally found, and recommend works with factors such as:
- Calculates Social Security Benefits from age 62 to Age 70 (& beyond)
- Determines cumulative SS benefits, on year-by-year basis, based on benefit age
- Determines break-even point for taking Social Security at different ages
- Accounts for SS Spousal Benefit calculations
- Accounts for post-retirement income and its tax consequences
- Provides tools for evaluating current assets
- Takes into account current income prior to retirement age
- Accounts for current 401K, 403B, & 457/IRA/SEP contributions prior to retirement
- Allows Tax Filing Status to be used in calculating Social Security tax liability
- Handles appropriate taxation of post-retirement withdrawal of taxable retirement plans
- Handles Roth IRA’s
- Allows pensions to be optionally indexed by inflation
- Handles Single retirement planning or joint retirement planning
- Allows variable annual inflation rate to be applied to monthly expenses & income sources
- Determines Assets remaining on a year-by-year basis, both pre- and post-retirement
- Allows a variable tax rate to be applied to SS & all income and taxable retirement sources
- Alerts you as to what year your Assets Remaining will run out
- Graphs Assets Remaining year-to-year
- Provides tools for calculating current monthly expenses and projected expenses
- Provides retirement summary
- Provides contextual application help for all software fields
This may seem like overload on what you are looking for but this retirement calculator (unlike the MSN retirement calculator) is an easy do it yourself comprehensive software platform that looks at many factors in determining your own personal results, yet you can get help on questions you may have.
In my search, I found this retirement calculator does fits my needs, answers my questions, and has put me on the right road to figuring out and planning my retirement.