A detailed retirement calculator will take into account taxes, pension income, expenses, Social Security and numerous other factors that will affect your retirement income.
Contrast that with a simple, one page retirement calculator which can help you develop a general idea of how long your money will last depending on how much you withdraw.
See my series of retirement calculator reviews or browse the list below to find both detailed and one page retirement income calculators. (Keep in mind, all the online retirement calculators I can find do not provide the level of detail you need as you get within ten years of retirement.)
BEST FREE DETAILED RETIREMENT CALCULATOR
Most of the free retirement calculators don't accurately tax different sources of income and don't allow you to input different retirement dates for one spouse verses another. The exception to this is ESPlanner Basic. Although not the most visually appealing, nor the most user-friendly, from an accuracy standpoint, it is the best free retirement calculator I have come across.
SEMI-DETAILED RETIREMENT CALCULATORS
Detailed Retirement Income Calculator By T.Rowe Price
This is a robust, multi-page retirement calculator which been designed to help you determine:
- How much you may have available to spend each month in retirement
- The likelihood your savings will last throughout your retirement
- Options to make up for potential shortfalls
One of the nice features of this retirement calculator: it has a built in monte carlo analysis which helps you figure out how your retirement investments will hold up under various market conditions. Plan on spending ten to fifteen minutes to input data into this retirement calculator.
Motley Fool's “What Will My Income Be After I Retire?”
To use this detailed retirement income calculator be prepared to have all of your financial information ready. You'll need to estimate your tax rate, expected inflation rate, and rates of return on any investments, as well as living expenses and an estimate of any part-time income you plan to have.
Retirement Calculator By CNNMoney.com
This is another robust retirement calculator that helps you estimate how well your savings program is preparing you for retirement. First it will help you figure out how much you'll need. Then it will tell you your chances of getting there. And if it looks like you'll fall short, the site offer some suggestions for improving your plan.
ONE PAGE RETIREMENT CALCULATORS
This is a cool, fun, one page retirement calculator with slide bars and graphs. Definitely worth checking out!
How Long Will The Money Last - Simple Retirement Calculator
This simple, one page retirement calculator will tell you how long a lump sum of money will last; basically how much money you will need to provide a certain amount of income for a set number of years.
AARP's Retirement Income Calculator
AARP's retirement income calculator factors in an estimate of taxes, which some of the other one page calculators don't account for.
Nice One Page Retirement Calculator
This nice, one page retirement income calculator helps you figure out if your retirement income expectations are realistic based on your current retirement funds, savings rate, age and life expectancy. This retirement calculator does not take into account the affect of income taxes.
Are You Saving Enough Retirement Calculator
This one page retirement calculator helps you estimate your future income by factoring in your current savings level, life expectancy, and whether you plan to work part time during your retirement years.
MORE RETIREMENT CALCULATOR REVIEWS
Schwab's Retirement Income Calculator
Schwab's retirement calculator provides an easy to use format that works well for singles who are still in the savings and long-term planning phase.
Fidelity's Retirement Calculator with Audio/Video Instructions
This retirement calculator comes with audio/video instructions. It asks about five questions, which makes it quick and easy, but since it doesn't require a lot of input from you, the output is not as detailed as what you need as you near retirement.
Social Security Retirement Calculators
The problem with traditional retirement calculators is they don't provide advice. One of the decisions you will make that will have a big affect on how much retirement income you have is how and when you decide to collect your Social Security benefits. Use a Social Security calculator to help you with this decision.
TAX CALCULATIONS IN RETIREMENT
Another problem with traditional retirement calculators is they often do not give you an accurate picture of what your after-tax retirement income will be. It is likely you will pay taxes in retirement and the amount of tax you pay will depend on many factors that are often missed by retirement calculators.
Although a retirement calculator is a good start, an experienced retirement planner can take those calculations and then provide advice by showing you ways to increase your after-tax income, not by choosing better investments, but by using tax and Social Security rules to your advantage.
ALTERNATIVE TO A RETIREMENT CALCULATOR
In lieu of a retirement calculator, for a quick calculation you can use a math rule called the Rule of 72 to quickly see how long it will take you to double your money given a particular rate of return.