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Tips and tools that help employees plan for retirement

Planning for retirement is certainly no easy task, but finding the best retirement planning tools can certainly go a long way toward creating an efficient, less stressful process. While there are thousands of on-line resources available, the trick is to find tools that are accurate, easy to use, and that educate and motivate users to be proactive in working toward their retirement goals.  PFEEF's extensive on-line library is filled with current articles, useful websites, and pertinent information on retirement planning. Here's a sampling:

  • Planning Ahead for Retirement: An 80-page guide is loaded with easy-to-understand information and activities to help you plan the retirement you want. This guide is loaded with easy-to-understand information and activities to help you plan the retirement you want.
  • Plan For Your Retirement — United States Social Security Administration: Provides detailed information about your social security retirement benefits under current law.
  • Curious Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Retirement: An interactive tool  takes people through the “curious behaviors” that can affect retirement.
  • Retirement Income Literacy Quiz:  Retirement Income Survey that tests the knowledge of those age 60 to 75 about a range of retirement income topics by asking respondents 38 quiz questions. Only 20% passed the test and the average score was only 42% correct.

Retirement calculators can be quite useful, but it is important to find ones that are accurate. There are hundreds of options to choose from.  One calculator may say you're likely to run out of money, while another may say you'll have more than enough. So how do you know which retirement calculator to use? It depends on your life phase and how complex your situation is. Here are PFEEF's recommended calculators based on accuracy, usability, and educational factors.

  • The AARP Retirement Calculator provides a personalized snapshot of what your financial future might look like.
  • How Much Will I Need to Save For Retirement? This calculator will help you determine how well you have prepared and what you can do to improve your retirement outlook.
  • ESPlannerBASIC generates life-cycle spending, saving, and life insurance suggestions, which can be used as educational input as you develop your complete financial plan.
  • New Retirement gives results in a goals-based format, using a timeline to determine how far off you are from retiring when you want and then steps on how to achieve your goals.
  • MarketWatch Retirement Calculator is a multi-sectioned tool that tells you if you can afford to retire at a desired age.
More calculators and tools can be found at PFEEF.com

According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts, 34 percent have zero savings and about half of U.S. families have no retirement account savings. Even older workers who can see retirement on the horizon aren’t prepared for it. The median savings for families whose wage earners are between 50 and 55 years old is only $8,000. For those who are between 56 and 61, it’s $17,000, reports the Economic Policy Institute.

For contrast, here’s how much experts say you should have saved at every age. By midlife, your cushion should be well-padded, if you want to be able to retire, says Kimmie Greene, money expert at Intuit and spokeswoman for Mint.com. Here’s her advice: 

  • By age 50, have five times your annual salary saved
  • By age 55, have six times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 60, have seven times your annual salary saved.

The discrepancy between what workers know they should do and what they manage to do may be why so many Americans’ No. 1 financial regret involves not saving enough: A whopping 46 percent of adults surveyed by Bankrate about their biggest money mistakes wish they had squirreled more away, whether for retirement, emergency expenses or their children’s educations.

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Click here to find useful financial literacy resources at pfeef.org
Personal Financial Employee Education Fund (PFEEF)
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