Best Software for Planning Retirement

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Retirement planning is an important piece of the financial security puzzle. And puzzle may not be the wrong word here. With changing costs of living, and fluctuating healthcare expenses, knowing just how much to save isn’t always as easy as making a budget based on your living expenses now. Luckily, there are a variety of online tools that can help to take the guesswork out of these calculations. 

The earlier you get started, the easier it will be. But regardless of your life stage, these tools can help you plan for your future. Before you start planning, it is a good idea to have information about your current income and at what age you plan to retire. These retirement tools are a great place to start as you develop a plan for your financial future. 

Investment Bank Tools

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Many investment banks provide calculators on their websites to help calculate how much you will need to retire. While some of the features are limited, they provide enough information to give you an idea of how much it will take to retire.


Vanguard is a popular choice among employers for 401K matching. This is because Vanguard offers an easy-to-use interface with many options. But one feature you may not know about is their Nest Egg Calculator. You do not need an account with Vanguard to use the Nest Egg Calculator, nor do you need to enter any personal information.

This simple tool only requires four pieces of information to help determine how long your savings will last into retirement or what your projected savings balance will be. All you need to know is how long you want your savings to last, how much you have in savings today and how much you spend each year. You can also add how your investments are allocated between stocks, bonds and cash. 


Fidelity also offers a free tool called The Fidelity Retirement Score to check your investment strategy quickly. No signup or investment account is required to use the tool, and it is a bit more comprehensive than other calculators. Fidelity also offers several other useful calculators for things like IRA and savings planning.

To get started, answer the six questions about yourself, such as your age and income. No personal identifying information is required for this tool either. This tool will give you estimates of how much you could receive from social security, which could prompt you to change the aggressiveness of your investing strategy.

T. Rowe Price

T. Row Price’s retirement calculator is a bit different from its competitors because it does require you to either create an account or enter personal information. This includes name, location, income and age.

However, because T. Rowe Price requires more information to get started, it can give more accurate information. The level of detail plus the ability to save your plans make it one of the best free tools available.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers another simple tool to calculate your retirement planning. While it does not require you to create an account or enter personal information, it does ask quite a few more questions than similar free tools.

This tool also allows you to simulate different scenarios. Charles Schwab allows you to adjust different amounts and dates to determine the best plan for your situation. 

Retirement Planning Software

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Those interested in additional features that most investment companies don’t offer may want to consider dedicated software. These software programs are also good for comparing information provided by the tools from investment banks.

The Complete Retirement Planner

The Complete Retirement Planner is much more comprehensive than any free online calculators offered by investment banks. However, the software will cost you a one-time fee of $90. You can also upgrade to future versions for $12.99. While the price may scare some away, it is important to remember that it is not just a calculator.

This planner provides detailed plans for each year of your retirement. Additionally, you can enter detailed information about your different investments, such as a 401k and IRA. There is also information about Social Security, Medicare, and tax impacts. All of which will vary based on your retirement goals.


MaxiFi is another software that caters to people who want to prepare for retirement. The software makes calculations based on a range of factors that will impact your savings and retirement plans. It even includes a lifetime balance sheet that can track your earnings and expenditures as a business would. 

MaxiFi calculates how much you will need to maintain and improve your current standard of living, which is drastically different from  other calculators that only ask you how much you will need to survive. This software also gives you unparalleled insight into your lifestyle and spending habits. This is important because its goal is to ensure you keep your same lifestyle through retirement.

While MaxiFi has a plethora of features that can certainly benefit those preparing for retirement at any age. It does come at a steep price of $109 per year, with renewals costing $89. 

Although this is a high cost, you get access for everyone in your household at this price. There is also a premium version of MaxiFi for $149 that includes risk analysis and contingency planning features.

Social Security Estimator

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Most Americans pay into social security through deductions from their paychecks. This is different from an investment because you have no access to this money until you reach retirement age, and even then, the Federal Government determines your benefits. 

To calculate the amount you will receive, the Social Security Administration offers a convenient tool that can help calculate just how much you will get at varying retirement ages. However, keep in mind that this tool does not account for disability benefits and is only for calculating how much you will receive at retirement age.

Time to Start Investing

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If you are overwhelmed or unsure where to begin when planning for retirement, consider talking to a financial planner. Not only can they guide you to prepare you for retirement, but they can also handle all of your investing needs. 

Having someone that knows your goals may be better for you than using a computer program that can only provide limited information. Once you have your plan ready, you will need to make sure you follow it, and a financial planner can help you do so.