The objective of all retirement planning software is to tell you one or both of those 2 bits of information:
1. how much you require to save money (generally monthly) to be able to retire or
2. how big of the nest egg you have to have for you to retire
The retirement planning software does these calculations by accounting for the retirement assets you currently have, including:
* financial savings in a retirement plan such as 401k or IRA
* non-retirement assets that you have: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, notes, and so on
* usable equity in your home which you could have available should you intend to trade down and release equity for investment or take a reverse mortgage
* monthly earnings you will get from a pension or from social security benefits or retirement deferred compensation plan
The retirement planning software also takes into account the age at which you want to retire as well as your approximate life expectancy. While it may look like the most important problem will be the financial resources you bring into your retirement that will influence your retirement comfort, it's in fact not these monetary elements. The most important impactors of your retirement achievement are the retirement age you select and also the number of years you will have in retirement. Thus, when utilizing a retirement planning software, we suggest you run your situation many times using various life expectancies plus see what occurs when you modify your retirement age from say age sixty-four to age sixty-six. You may be really surprised at the distinction you see of small changes in some variables.
The best retirement planning software programs are often NOT those found on-line. The most suitable ones are programs which you purchase (not extremely expensive) because they allow for far more sophisticated evaluation of your circumstances. For example, while the free on-line retirement planning software will give you an estimate of the amount you'll need to accumulate in your retirement nest egg to meet your retirement income goals, the purchased retirement planning software frequently uses Monte Carlo simulations to account for numerous long term scenarios. Unlike the free on-line retirement planning software that create ONE average result, Monte Carlo simulations display a range of possible results with their odds of occurrence. You could thus start to see the probability of the particular situation occurring - a much richer look at your retirement outcomes.
Be aware that any retirement planning software has weak points because it will depend on assumptions like:
1. Expected annual returns for the asset classes you choose (e.g. shares, bonds, etc). Various retirement planning software will ask you for your estimates of future returns while others have built in suppositions. Either way, if the assumption is that shares create a 10% return over the next 30 years and they create an 8% return, you retirement might not go as planned.
2. Anticipated assumptions about asset class variability (fluctuations in returns) and correlations with other classes may not go as supposed. For instance, even if shares are assumed to create 10% yearly returns over your retirement and they do, if the stocks lose 8% for each of the first three years of one's retirement, your retirement objectives will still not be accomplished simply because the pattern or sequence of returns has a significant impact on your retirement estimations. Or if it is assumed that foreign stocks and US stocks do not move together but it turns out they do in the future, this correlation can blow retirement projections based on specific investment allocations.
3. No one knows what income tax rates is going to be. When you make your presumptions, it is best to assume that rates will probably be higher later on (how else can the government close the deficit)?
4. No one knows what the inflation rate will be. Closely related to this is the value of the US dollar and most retirement planning software does not account for that. If you intend to travel abroad in retirement and the US dollar drops in value 20% during your retirement years, then it indicates your vacation costs overseas will cost you 25% more. The worth of the dollar plus the influence of domestic inflation are 2 other uncertainties that retirement planning software might not account for or may have to depend on estimates that prove incorrect.
Prior to you come to the conclusion that using a retirement planning software is a total waste of time, we urge you to reconsider. By going through the exercise and considering the elements and discovering how the various retirement variables interact, any retirement planning software will give you a much better perception of reality for your retirement goals.