New Retirement Calculator

In case you haven’t noticed, FiveCentNickel has a new advertiser — Nationwide — featured at the top of the right sidebar. Beyond placing an ad, they also asked me to take a look at their new RetirAbility calculator and post my thoughts. So here goes…

The whole point of the calculator is to tell you how you’re doing when it comes to retirement savings. It’s actually a pretty nifty tool, resulting in what they term an “R-Score, ” where 100 means that you’re on track for a comfortable retirement at 100% of your current living standard. Lower numbers mean that you’re lagging behind, whereas higher numbers mean that you’re an over-achiever, and on track to have more than enough money for a comfortable retirement.

After plugging in my year of birth, income, balances of our current accounts, etc. I learned that we’re more than on track… We scored a 163. We were certainly helped along by a complete lack of debt (except for the mortgage on our house).

According to their stats, the average for “people like me” (hmmmm, how did they know that I’m stunningly handsome, and well above average in the IQ department?) is 139, whereas the national average is 116. This latter number makes me wonder a bit… Given all the news about a negative savings rate in this country, I find it hard to believe that the average American is well ahead in terms of retirement savings. Be that as it may, it’s still a fun little calculation.

I’m actually really happy about the results for a couple of reasons. First, I changed jobs earlier this year and landed a 45% raise. Thus, I was expecting our retirement savings to be running a bit behind relative to our new, higher standard of living. Second, I told the calculator that neither my wife or I will be receiving Social Security. Call me a pessimist, but I’m not holding my breath about there being any money left in 30 years. If there is, great. But if not, I don’t want to end up eating in a soup kitchen.

My only real complaint about the calculator has to do with presentation… The calculator is accompanied by a video narrator, and I couldn’t figure out how to skip the chit-chat and get on with it. Even still, it only took a few minutes, so it’s probably worth doing, if for no other reason than to see how you stack up against others.

So… Hop on over to the calculator, plug in your numbers, and then be sure to come back and tell us all how you did.

6 Responses to “New Retirement Calculator”

  1. Anonymous

    I’m not sure I buy it. It scored me at a 148 but I included social security because my husbands on disability retirement and already gets it. I have done the IRA but with the previous years experiences, it may be not worth near what I’ve put into it, let alone have appreciated much in value by the time I retire. And at my age (approaching 50) I know I should have saved more than I did.
    It also didn’t ask about investment real estate, which we are using towards retirement. We bought smart, with properties we expect to hold for years and rent. Even if the market falls drastically, there is more than enough wiggle room in the cash flow that we would still be good.

  2. Anonymous

    For anyone else that comes across this page in a search for retirement calculators…

    This was the first one I had seen in a while that had a % for estimated raises in your lifetime, and that is what I was specifically looking for in a retirement calculator.

    The “average for people like me” was 107. I suspect this is skewed by the fact that only people who are doing something towards retirement would take the time to plug numbers into this calculator.

    I found the comparison tool at the end useful as well. To take a look at the picture of where others “like me” fall. I found I had more debt than most but also higher current retirement balances.

  3. Anonymous

    Woohoo! I got a 148, which should be higher at the end of 2007 because I’ll be maxing 401k & ROTH’s for myself and my wife.

    I liked the tool. It humanizes the typically bone-dry topic of retirement planning with commentary from real people. I expect computer interfaces will continue to use this model in the future. After all, we relate to human faces and personalities much better than taskbars.

  4. Anonymous

    It won’t work without Flash, so I don’t have a neat little number to compare. I’m pretty confident, though.

    FWIW, the “negative savings rate” is a statistical illusion, since its definition of “savings” doesn’t include a great number of things that make net worth increase. 401k and pre-tax IRA payments, for example, aren’t counted as “savings”.

  5. Anonymous

    I scored a 125 (like nickel, I didn’t count on Social Security). One of the things I don’t get about this is it didn’t ask me about my current savings rate or returns. So, is it just doing a percentage thing based off where I currently am for my age? I kinda started off slow in my retirement funding (hey, I was in my 20’s…I still had to work longer than I’d been alive :), but I’m busting my butt now so my numbers are increasing at a more rapid rate than in the past. Doesn’t seem like it could take any of that into consideration. *shrug* Oh well, I’m doing ok for now it seems.

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