When I started saving for retirement at 23 last year I thought I was ahead of the game. While I wish I had started saving even earlier, many of my friends haven’t set up a retirement fund or opened an IRA yet!
My friends think exactly the way I did last year, “Why start saving now? I have so much time!” While this is true, it will cost them big bucks. Here are three retirement calculators that will help you decide:
- when to start saving
- how much to save
- how much money even small contributions will bring you in the future
3 Free Retirement Calculators to Help You Retire in Style
1. What Age Should I Save?
What I love most about the MoneyWatch Retirement Calculator is that it makes it easy to see how much an impact the age you start saving makes on your retirement. This calculator uses sliders to create graphs that show your potential retirement income.
Savings Scenario – For example, say you start saving 10% of your $30,000 a year salary at age 20. You’ll end up with $739,316 by 65, which this calculator thinks is a safe retirement number. BUT, if you slide your starting age up to 30 and change nothing else you’ll end up with just $420,883. That’s over $300,000 less. Wow!
Special Features – This calculator allows you to add assets such as a ROTH IRA, property, account for a spouse etc. There are also three different graphs for you to look at: Your held assets, future income, and retirement savings.
Overall Benefits: The sliders make this calculator easy to use and find an age to start saving AND a safe retirement age. With the alternate graphs and the ability to add different assets, this calculator gives you a good overview of what your retirement will be like. Be careful though, with so many factors to change this calculator makes it easy to adjust them to unrealistic levels.
2. How Much Income Will I Need in Retirement?
Have you thought about what your monthly budget will be in retirement? The Vanguard Retirement Calculator will help you determine whether your savings are on track with your dreams. Similarly to the MoneyWatch Calculator this calculator also uses sliders to determine your potential retirement income.
Savings Scenario – Say you’re 35 and have a salary of $50,000. You have already saved $40,000 for retirement and currently are saving 5% of your income annually. By the time you retire your monthly budget will be $1,687 a month. This would be $900 less a month than 60% of your current salary (the lowest percent of income you can choose). This figure makes it clear that you may want to change the way you are saving for retirement.
Special Features – This calculator allows you to add your social security and include a pension benefit. It also allows you to include the savings that you already have which makes this calculator a little more accurate.
Overall Benefits – The easy to read graph this calculator creates will help you decide whether your retirement savings are on track AND what changes you may need to make.
3. How Long Will My Savings Last?
The Retirement Income Calculator from T. Rowe Price calculates how much you will spend each month and how long your savings will last. This is a great calculator for those who are already well on their way to saving for retirement.
Savings Scenario – For example, say you’re 40 and have a salary of $60,000. You have already saved $70,000 for retirement and currently are saving 5% of your income annually with an additional 5% being matched by your employer. You also have allocated 50% stocks and 50% bonds and expect to retire at 65 years of age. This would leave you with a $705 monthly budget if you want your savings to last until age 95. Wow!
Special Features – This calculator offers recommendations for how much you should spend. It is more complicated and includes a variety of questions that you might find hard to answer (ex. how much you’ll spend monthly during retirement). To help you they provide worksheets that help you to calculate these figures.
Overall Benefits – This calculator is more in-depth including stocks, bonds, pension plans and more. It offers comprehensive worksheets to come up with figures you may be unsure of AND offers recommendations that can help improve your saving methods. While it is a little more annoying to use (it is the most lengthy and needs the most variety of information) it provides valuable information.