Clients frequently ask me this question. My response is generally that my licenses are to practice law in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, not give financial advice. I encourage them to seek professional guidance as they work through developing an answer to their question.
What about those online calculators? Search for “retirement calculator” and Google has 591,000 hits, reports the Wall Street Journal.
As with other situations some of the analysis comes down to GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. Many calculators request few details and the responses are equally basic. The WSJ considers several options, some better than others. It also cautions that calculators can be devices to attract potential customers.
Several of the online calculators permit the user to enter a number of variables. If you are uncertain of your present asset allocation, what returns rates to use, or are self-employed, the article suggests these online options may not be the best for you. They will certainly provide a general sense of where things stand which can be helpful since most people are now managing and funding their own retirements. The best advice on planning for your retirement is to meet with someone who can consider you, your specific situation, and present a customized response to your inquiry.