A Free Retirement Calculator? Is it any Good?

Is a free retirement calculator any good? After all, everybody knows that there is no free lunch! We look at the good and the bad.

Most financial investment companies offer a free calculator in the hope that you will choose their company as your retirement planning advisor and subsequently invest in their products.

There is nothing wrong with that. On this Web site I review numerous retirement planning tools offered by investment companies, but always with the caveat that you must use these tools only for your own educational purposes.

Use a calculator from each of the companies that we review and compare the results or forecasts. These forecasts are often confusingly different. Analyze why these retirement calculators differ until you compare apples with apples.

In the end you'll still need a qualified advisor, but you'll be better informed, and better prepared, to retain control of your own retirement planning.

Most financial planning software include a retirement calculator. Financial planning software is not free although many employers make it available to their employees to use for free.

Is the retirement calculator included in financial planning software any better than a free retirement planning calculator? I don't think so. Perhaps if it is used as an integrated function of your overall financial planning exercise it could be argued that it is better than a free calculator.

However, on this Web site we devote an entire section to financial planning for retirement. If you work through that you would probably get to the same conclusion as with special financial planning software.

As a start please visit our discussion on Retirement Planning Calculators before you move on to the discussion around Retirement Financial Planning.

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