In today’s connected world, there are many tools available that make planning for retirement easier with advice, goals and progress reports at your fingertips. Here is an overview of some of the best retirement planning apps available right now:
Retirement Planner App
This free Android app is a useful tool for when you are making choices about how to structure your retirement savings. This app allows you to compare projections for investing in a 401(k), Roth 401(k), Roth IRA or traditional IRA. Additionally, the Retirement Planner app shows how saving today will impact your retirement income in the future. Finally, it allows you to see if you are reaching your retirement goals or if you should reevaluate your long-term planning.
This free popular financial tracking tool can be used online – or on iOS or Android devices – to help you set and track your retirement goals. Mint is commonly used to track spending and budgets, but it also shows your net worth and long-term trends, as well as tracking and graphing your investments in one location. Mint also makes it easy to set financial goals (including retirement savings goals) by giving you regular alerts about your savings each month and helping you visually track your progress.
Financial Engines Social Security Planner
This app is available for free online from Financial Engines. It requires you to enter in a fairly simple set of information, then gives you recommendations for ways to maximize your Social Security benefits. The app uses mathematical algorithms to take some of the guesswork out of when to start claiming benefits. Deciding when to begin claiming benefits is often a balancing act between waiting to claim a higher benefit versus taking advantage of more years to receive Social Security income, and this app will help you make decisions to maximize your benefits. It's especially useful if you and/or your spouse have flexibility for when you can start drawing on Social Security benefits.
Vanguard Retirement Nest Egg Calculator
This free online app is for people who are nearing or who have entered retirement, to help determine if their retirement portfolio will cover expenditures over the number of years they expect to be retired. It is statistically rigorous and uses a Monte Carlo analysis to determine the probability that the user's retirement savings and portfolio will or will not be sufficient to last for the length of their retirement.
Retirement Goal Planning System
This free iPad app draws on behavioral economics to help you understand your own preferences when dealing with the complex problem of planning for retirement. It breaks down the problem into “thinking steps.” Once you have gone through the program you will have a personalized set of retirement goals. These goals can be used when deciding your retirement plan on your own or can be shared with a financial planner.
Retirement Outlook Estimator
This simple online or free iOS app adds a bit of charm to the retirement planning process. Once basic information is entered, the app provides you with a “weather report”-style analysis of your savings plan. Your outlook may be rainy, cloudy, partly cloudy or sunny, along with expected dollar amounts for retirement income. The app also provides you with suggestions for how your outlook will change if you invest more or less per year.
For UK Residents: ING STRUCT® App
This app is unique in the world of retirement-planning apps because it is structured as a game rather than a tool. The goal of the STRUCT game is to learn the concepts of risk, diversification, goal setting and long-term progress. The elements of the game represent investments in cash, bonds and stocks, and the player can choose to play as a conservative, moderate or risk-loving investor. While this app may not be useful for those looking to track their own retirement investments, it is helpful for understanding the concepts behind retirement planning and allowing people to determine the types of investments and risks they are interested in making for their future financial planning. Note: this app is available for free for iOS systems, but only in the UK app store.
There are many available apps to help you plan for retirement. From fun games for education to apps that help you determine your priorities, from rigorous statistics to simple graphs – there is an app for everyone’s planning style. It is worth it to keep searching until you find the tool that meets your needs and makes retirement planning an easy and almost painless experience.