Online Annuity Rate Calculators can give you a good tip-off about how your eventual retirement looks from here. They can’t reliably be used to plan your estate, but they can let you see possible red flags. Besides their important function, they can be a lot of fun.
Depending on the calculator, you can put in what would happen if Aunt Jane died and left you her mansion, how the lottery win would affect your retirement date and if you decided to fund a charity.

The calculators below are the ones we judged best for very different people. Some work for younger people and others for those close to retirement. Check each out to find your favorite.

For All Workers

The Vanguard retirement income calculator works for those workers from age 20 up to 80. It uses sliders in categories like savings, social security, pensions, 401(k) and rates of return. By using the sliders for each, you can see what you’ll need to do to get where you want to be in 30 or 40 years. This calculator offers good graph representations when you move the sliders to change your income mix.

For Workers in Mid-Career

The MarketWatch Retirement Planner is sophisticated and complex, but this is the one calculator that lets you input factors from tax accounts and home equity. You can adjust graphs to find the right mix that lets you find the age at which you can retire with enough income so that you won’t need to go back to work at 70. Be careful with those sliders, however, since it might be very easy to input unrealistic expectations.

The AARP Retirement Calculator will also give pre-retirees a snap view of your financial future. As well as the expected sources of income, this calculator also takes into account your expected lifestyle and household status.

For Those Ready to Retire Soon

BlackRock CoRI, from the BlackRock investment firm, is for workers from 55 to 64 years old. This calculator uses current real-time figures to calculate a daily index that, with your age and retirement plan balance, projects your annual income after retirement. This data doesn’t rest on assumptions but on real figures. The daily index changes, perhaps daily, so it’s a good idea to look in on your figures and assumptions fairly frequently.

Perhaps the best result from any of these calculators is directing your close attention to your future. It’s fun to play with the sliders, but if you suddenly realize that the only ones you need to move are those with Social Security and perhaps a pension, you may confront a very dim future.