Online Retirement Planning [Top 5 Tools]

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Planning for retirement is an often confusing and overwhelming task. With all the various numbers and information that has to be figured, it is easy to see why anyone would get confused. However, if you want to have a comfortable retirement, you need to begin saving and planning for retirement as soon as possible, and the sooner you begin saving, the better.

Hiring a financial planner is a solid option for those wanting to plan for the most secure retirement possible; however, affording a planner isn’t a viable option for many folks. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to hire a financial planner you’ll benefit greatly from using the many online retirement planning tools available to help you plan things yourself.

A few of the best online tools available now include:

Quicken’s Retirement Planner

Costing users only $59, Quicken’s Retirement Planner is a great resource for any retirement planner on a strict budget. Although the program doesn’t produce reports as detailed as some of the more expensive programs, it does provide users with a rough number of how much will need to be saved. The program also allows users to roughly track monthly payments into their retirement accounts so that they can make sure they are keeping on track.

For those planning their retirement who simply need to plug in some numbers, is a free and easy resource to use. Simply by typing in a few figures, users are able to figure out how much they need to be saving each and every month to meet their goals. The only downside to this tool is that it only gives you a basic figure and doesn’t factor in medical costs or any future unforeseen expenses that may happen along the way. It truly is the most basic of all online retirement planning tools.


The ESPlannerPlus provides users with highly detailed projections of all their future investments returns. Users are also able to calculate accurate projections of their retirement spending and future insurance needs. Although it can be mildly complicated to use, it is still a great planning service as it gives such highly detailed reports, was created by 2 leading economists, and comes at an affordable price of only $199.

The Vanguard Retirement Center

The Vanguard Retirement Center is a free online resource that allows you to create an online portfolio to better manage your retirement. The online site offers plenty of free tips, reviews of stocks, and even help with taxes. This resource is great for anyone unable to afford a financial planner or not wishing to purchase a expensive online service. However, the Vanguard Retirement Center isn’t as thorough as other programs and won’t provide specific reports like other retirement services will.


WealthRuler is TD AmeriTrade’s free online resource which allows users to calculate how much they need to start saving each month in order to reach their goals. For a free online resource, WealthRuler is actually quite detailed, and can provide users with a fairly accurate estimate of their monthly savings needs.

Adequately planning for retirement is important for anyone wishing to have the type of retirement they have always longed for. Extravagant trips and comfortable living don’t happen in your Golden years without proper planning. Even with the above tools it is still wise to have a financial adviser review your information just to make sure that you didn’t miss any important equations. The last thing you want to do at 65 is find out that you were improperly saving and now must put off retirement for an additional 5 years.

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1 Paul Williams

I’ll direct this to Matt since I don’t know who wrote this article. But I have a free retirement savings calculator I made a while back. It looks very simple and straightforward because that’s what I wanted. Most people aren’t going to use a calculator that’s too complicated. But it actually uses a robust system of pre-run Monte Carlo simulations with a high success rate to make its recommendations. It is not a simple “assume 8% returns every year until and in retirement” kind of calculator.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think, Matt:

It would be interesting to see how my calculator result compares to others. Mine doesn’t give a total amount needed at retirement in future dollars though (it’s in today’s dollars). I’ve found that “your number” isn’t really that helpful because it doesn’t tell you anything about what you need to be saving each year.

2 Matt Jabs

Great tool Paul, thanks for sharing.

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