The Best Retirement Calculators [How Much Will You Need to Retire?]

Calculating how much money you will need for retirement is one of those inherently frustrating exercises since it seems like you have to start with information you can’t possibly know—simply figure out when you will die, and calculate backward from there!

Despite the built-in difficulty of determining the exact amount you need for retirement, there are a number of excellent retirement calculators available online that can help you to narrow down your approximate retirement number.

Knowing what approximate number you should aim for and how much you need to get there is one of the best ways to ensure a comfortable retirement.

While every retirement calculator uses slightly different metrics to determine your retirement number, they will all help you make sure your savings are on track.

Read on to see what you can expect from the best retirement calculators on the web:

What Information Will You Need?

Before you start playing around with these calculators, make sure you have some information ready. The calculators will ask for some hard numbers, such as your current annual income, your annual retirement contributions, and the amount you have already set aside for retirement.

If you’re like me and don’t necessarily know all these numbers off the top of your head, you might want to look up what you need before you start calculating to make sure you get the most accurate possible number.

Also, be prepared to spend a little time with each calculator, playing with the numbers that you have control over.

If you increase your annual contribution or push back your retirement by a couple of years, how does that change your retirement number? This kind of playing with numbers can help you get a better sense of how much control you have over your retirement.

1. NewRetirement's Retirement Calculator and Planner

NewRetirement LogoNo matter the retirement question, this site likely has a calculator to help you find the answer.

The Simple Retirement Calculator by NewRetirement gives you a quick assessment of your current retirement savings, showing you how long your money will last for you and your spouse at a set level of spending in retirement.

This simple calculator includes space for Social Security retirement income, as well as pension or annuities if you know that you can count on them.

Conveniently, you can make changes to the monthly amount you believe you will need in retirement, and that can help you to see how your spending affects the health of your retirement savings.

NewRetirement Simple Calculator

Once you've tried the simple calculator be sure to use the full NewRetirement Planner.

The NewRetirement Planner allows you to build, monitor, and maintain an independent holistic plan which helps you to get organized, monitor your situation, make informed decisions and take confident actions across Social Security, Medicare/Healthcare, Annuities/Pensions, Home Equity, Insurance, Work, Debt, Estate Planning, AND Savings/Investing.

New Retirement also offers a Social Security calculator, which can help you figure out the optimal time for you to take your Social Security retirement benefits, a Lifetime Annuity Calculator, which will calculate how much retirement annuity income your savings could buy, and several other calculators that will help you to determine the best financial course for your retirement.

2. FIRECalc's Financial Independence / Early Retirement Calculator

The FIRECalc calculator helps you to understand how safe or risky your early retirement plan will be, based on the historical volatility in the market, so you can see whether your financial plan is robust enough to stand up to the worst we've seen in the history of the stock market.

FIRECalc scores “100% safe” a financial plan that would have survived the Great Depression, and every other financial calamity we've encountered.

When I entered my hypothetical nest egg of $1 million, with an annual spending of $48,000 for 30 years, FIRECalc determined that my financial plan is 75.2% safe. It only failed–that is, I would run out money before the end of the 30 years–in 29 out of the 117 possible 30-year historical cycles.

FIRECalc offers several places to put in optional additional information to see how your spending, additional income, investing, and portfolio choices can affect your retirement income.

3. Personal Capital's Retirement Planner

Personal Capital has made its name as the one-stop-shop for all of your financial needs, and that includes helping you to calculate your retirement number with their Retirement Planner feature.

When you sign up with Personal Capital, you start by connecting your financial accounts, including your bank accounts, investments, mortgage, credit card, and any other accounts.

The Retirement Planner will use your actual financial data from the accounts you’ve linked to the Personal Capital Dashboard to show you how prepared you are for retirement based on your ideal target retirement date.

You can use the Investment Checkup feature that asks you to create a basic risk profile, pick a target retirement date, and your projected income sources, and the program will recommend a portfolio for you. Finally, there is a fee analyzer that can help you to understand the fees you are paying on your current investments.

See our full Personal Capital review.

4. OnTrajectory's Financial Planner and Analyzer

OnTrajectory's Planner/Analyzer offers users the ability to forecast how simple adjustments in your spending habits can make a large impact on your future.

The program allows you to enter in your current financial plan and see if you are on track for your future financial goals.

You can create goals and adjust your current contributions to see the difference it will make in your net worth, all for free, although you can also upgrade for $3 per month to enter in unlimited accounts and incomes.

5. Vanguard's Retirement Income Calculator

One of the simplest and most user-friendly retirement calculators is available for free from Vanguard (Retirement Income Calculator).

This calculator is set up as a series of slider bars, including your current age and desired retirement age, your current annual salary, your current retirement savings, the amount you have already saved, your expected rate of return, and the percentage of your income you hope to live on in retirement.

The slider bars make this a very easy and fun calculator to play with, so you can see which actions you can take that will affect your retirement income. For instance, just changing my desired retirement start date from age 65 to age 68 raised my projected monthly income from about $2,500 to nearly $3,000.

6. Bankrate's Retirement Income Calculator

Bankrate is home to many different financial calculators, and the Bankrate retirement calculator is an excellent resource.

Enter in your current retirement portfolio balance, your annual contribution, current age, and retirement age, and the calculator will create an in-depth report showing your monthly retirement income, adjusted for inflation.

Within the report, you can see how your retirement accounts will grow per year, assuming one rate of return before retirement and a more conservative one after retirement.

The detailed report allows you to get into the nitty-gritty specifics of how everything from income taxes to inflation will affect the buying power of your retirement income.

7. Financial Mentor's Ultimate Retirement Calculator

Forecast your modern retirement with the Ultimate Retirement Calculator from FinancialMentor.com. Since most retirees can no longer plan on just drawing down a nest egg in retirement, this retirement calculator allows you to plan for up to three post-retirement incomes, such as part-time employment income, pension income, or Social Security income, and include the duration and growth of these incomes.

In addition, you have the option of including up to four separate one-time benefits, such the sale of a home, an inheritance, or the sale of a business.

You can also print out retirement planning reports for any number of what-if scenarios by changing any factor on the calculator and recalculating. This will give you a comprehensive look at what to expect from your retirement finances, no matter how your retirement path changes with changing circumstances.

Have a favorite retirement calculator? Share it below.

Best Retirement Calculators

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Last Edited: July 24, 2017 @ 1:10 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written two books: The Five Years Before You Retire and Choose Your Retirement. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.