15 years ago, there weren’t as many people actively managing their retirement options online in a sophisticated fashion. Instead, they largely relied on financial advisers and IRA or 401K or pension options available to them to plan for their immediate future.

One of the primary reasons that it took a while for full-fledged retirement calculators that are free to become the norm is that there are a myriad of financial options available to the average worker and encompassing every option is something that was often incorporated as a feature into a paid personal finance software program as an alternative.The advent of online financial sites increased competition in the industry at around the same time that banks became stronger players in the financial services sector, leading to today’s market, where there are a large number of free retirement calculators available.

Here are three free retirement calculators that stand out in the category for people that are interested in working out their retirement future:

The Wells Fargo Retirement Calculator:

One of the nice things about using a retirement calculator from a bank is that while they provide a host of financial services, they are not all about locking you into the options that they do provide within their calculator. Instead, you will find that banks like Wells Fargo provide a basic, yet detailed calculator that allows you to create enough of a retirement picture to analyze where you are at. Their calculator is offered alongside financial advice that can help provide a framework for planning for workers that are starting to get serious about their retirement planning.The simplicity of the tool, however, can also be a drawback for those looking for more detailed analysis of their portfolio, something that you currently need to do offline or with another calculator in order to use this one.

The Prudential Retirement Calculator:

For those that are interested in looking at more detail with their retirement options, browsing through financial fund companies that are the main custodians of retirement funds in North America is also a good option. Prudential offers a retirement calculator that features many of the same options as free calculators that banks offer. The primary advantage of using their tool is that it provides a series of next steps in the form of a report that translate into real world options that you can consider as someone who is reviewing your retirement plan options. Another positive is that it shows visual results that underscore the big picture regarding retirement.Like bank calculators, one of the strong points can also be a weak area. The fact that you are tied into a set of retirement options that are specific to the firm’s calculator that you are using is one reason that some employees may look at more than one tool.

The ES Planner Calculator:

Although Quicken has long featured a set of paid retirement calculators, ES Planner is a software that offers a basic online version for free, giving you the power of a retirement calculator without having to purchase any software until you want very sophisticated planning options. One of the strengths of ES Planner is that its design came from the academic world at a university where the planners take a very neutral viewpoint when it comes to analyzing the results of your calculations. The calculator can also be used anonymously without setting up an account, which provides those that want a basic overview, anonymity.The primary downside to ES Planner software is that it follows a screen-by-screen approach to data entry that can make some people that are used to the mobile internet impatient.

Retirement planning remains one of the most important decision-making processes that an employee or business owner can make during their career. By utilizing the best free tools that are available from all sectors of the financial industry, you should end up with a broadened perspective that helps you to plan going forward.


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