WANT TO CHECK your retirement readiness? There’s a slew of online calculators available, but one of the best is NewRetirement.com. The site strives to deliver great content and foster an active community, and it does a decent job on those two fronts. But the site’s heart and soul is its super-sophisticated, comprehensive retirement calculator.
Truth be told, my preference usually runs to calculators that don’t require registration and don’t involve many inputs, so I was initially reluctant to create an account at NewRetirement.com. But I know Steve Chen, NewRetirement.com’s founder, and he cajoled me into giving the calculator a test drive.
I’m glad I did. Signing up and adding my data proved less onerous than I feared, there was no cost involved and my registration didn’t trigger an endless steam of pestering emails. Indeed, I didn’t have to add much information to get an assessment of my retirement plan.
Or maybe I should say two assessments: The site gauged my chances of a financially comfortable retirement using both optimistic and pessimistic assumptions. Things look good, though the site suggested they would look even better if I converted my traditional IRA to a Roth, downsized my home and reduced my expenses by 10%.
I figured maybe I was an easy case, so I decided to slash the value of my retirement account and my home, and see what that did to the analysis. The site suggested my top opportunity was purchasing a deferred income annuity, which would provide income starting later in retirement—and which would likely be a good move for someone short on retirement savings.
The site also suggested increasing the amount I save, which makes sense, and suggested I delay claiming Social Security. But it didn’t advise postponing retirement, which would probably be a good idea, given that I was angling to quit at 62. Along with some of its financial suggestions, NewRetirement.com offers links to the site’s product partners. But there’s no hard sell—a big plus in my book.