Free Retirement Planning Tools
Most people think that you need fancy, expensive retirement planning tools to get the most out of your planning. Not so! Many good retirement planning tools can be had for free. They may not have tons of bells and whistles, but sometimes simple can be perfect, too.
The Simplest Tool
This tool may not seem all that inspired, but it can make a huge difference in your retirement planning: a budget. Making a budget only requires you to have a pen and a piece of paper, or a blank spreadsheet, if you want to use your computer. Go through your checkbook, credit card statement, and bank statement and write down all of your monthly expenses, including your utilities, credit cards, eating out, groceries, and snacks.
Write down every single thing that you spent money on, even if it was just for fun. Now, at the bottom of the page, subtract the amount from your total take-home income. Anything that is left over is potential for retirement funds. If you don’t have anything left over, then it may be time to rethink your budget. Cut back on the little things so that you can plan for the big thing, retirement.
Use Your Company
Many people don’t realize that the best retirement planning tools can be found at their job; it is called the personnel office. Personnel can help you find and sign up for every perk, investment, and savings benefit your employer has to offer. Some businesses even work with banks and local investment firms to get retirement information to their employees. Stock up on the brochures and reading material that the office has as well. It’s like getting top-of-the-line retirement advice for free!
Use the Internet
You can get tons of nifty retirement planning tools on the internet. A lot of it is what’s called Shareware, which are programs that are created by programmers in their spare time to offer to the public free of charge. The Vanguard Retirement Calculator helps you see if you are investing enough and helps you average your investment returns. AARP has a Retirement Roadmap Tool that helps determine how much your retirement dreams will cost in the real world. Principal Financial Group offers many different kinds of planning and investment calculators for planning for retirement. CNN Money.com offers an intensive calculator that covers investments, goals, income, savings, and portfolios.
As you can see, there is no need to spend big bucks on retirement planning tools. Free ones are right at your fingertips.