One great resource you may not have considered is AARP. The helpful people over at AARP have a ton of really amazing retirement planning tools with detailed instructions to help you calculate everything from 401k fees to social security benefits.
I used both the credit card payoff calculator and the retirement calculator and was really impressed with the ease of use and accuracy. I actually just recently paid off all my credit card debt, and I wish I would have found the credit card payoff calculator sooner. Maybe I could have paid it off faster if I would have known the best number!
AARP Review: Credit Card Payoff Calculator
If you’re like most people, you’ve got at least one credit card with a balance you haven’t paid off yet. AARP’s calculator prompts you to fill in your current balance, your average monthly payments, your interest rate, and your goal, in months, for paying it off.
With that information, it will tell you how much you should pay in order to take care of your outstanding balance by your target date. (Of course, that’s assuming you aren’t charging anything else to your credit card from that point on, which is always a good first step for getting out of debt. It worked for me!)
You can also fill in your credit card’s annual fee, the average amount you’ll expect to charge to your credit card each month, and any major purchases you’re expecting to make.
If you’re a visual person like I am, the graph is especially helpful to see the card’s anticipated balance over the upcoming months. It even includes a glossary of terms if you’re new to the world of credit or just aren’t sure what the calculator is asking you to write. I found the tool to be extremely useful and very intuitive. Plus, as you can see, it’s a lot more detailed than your average calculator.
AARP Review: Retirement Calculator
This tool is quite impressive, and it’s not just for the people who are nearing retirement age. Calculating your results only takes a few minutes, and it gives you a great deal of valuable information.
It begins by asking basic questions about your age, income, savings, and lifestyle. If you have a spouse it also allows you to input their information. The retirement calculator walks you through each step with helpful information in case you aren’t sure how to answer a question or calculate the amount it’s asking for.
The summary graphs your projected retirement savings and tells you the minimum amount needed to retire, what you will have saved by retirement age, and how much more you’ll need (if any). The final section gives you your options for saving for retirement and allows you to explore other scenarios by changing your retirement age and annual savings percentage. It even allows you to save or print your results and peruse other common questions about retirement planning.
Overall, both of these calculators proved to be incredibly informative and eye-opening.
The only thing I wish the retirement calculator in particular would have allowed for was an increased income over time. Many people get raises every few years, and it would have been especially helpful for me to see, since my spouse is currently in school. However, I do think these are both great tools that are extremely useful for financial planning.
Do you know of any other great financial calculators to use?