fbpx

Retirement Calculator Review

Posted by on May 14, 2018

Edward Jones: Fun, but not super helpful

Overall Impression

Having donned the Edward Jones name tag in the past I was curious to poke around with their consumer level retirement income calculator.It’s very simple and pretty to look at, which at first made me question how helpful it would actually be. I am all for simple but when it comes to something so personal, like retirement income, I feel like a little more detail is required. I did enjoy playing with the slide bars though.

Easy to Use

YES! Super easy to use. Just slide the little button to increase or decrease each metric. This part was kind of fun. Also, if there was an exact amount required it was easy to type it into the corresponding text box.

Easy to Understand

Not really. It doesn’t tell if you have enough, it simply gives you a total of what you might have if the metrics that you entered don’t change. It still leaves you with the eternal question of “how much will I need to retire.” Not helpful in my opinion.

Neat Features

I just liked playing with sliders. They were fun.

Is it just a freaking sales pitch?

It felt to me like a sales pitch. It could be useful but mostly they just wanted you to give you enough info to make you realize that you need more info. Talk to one of our advisors!!!  Right… so they can sell me something right?

At the end of the day

Keep moving… it’s not great.

Black Rock: Helpful

Overall Impression

This calculator is much more utilitarian than the Edward Jones offering. It also has more options, which I liked, but if you don’t know what you are looking at some of the terms might be a bit confusing. At the end of the day it does actually provide you with a more detailed look at what retirement might look like for you. It does require some pretty specific details which may be difficult to estimate what your pension income will be. I simply used the current OAS (Old Age Security) and the average CPP (Canada Pension Plan) amounts that were listed on the Government of Canada Website.

Easy to Use

While not as easy or fun as the Edward Jones calculator, it is still relatively simple to input your personal parameters.

Easy to Understand

As I mentioned before there is a little more jargon used than I would like to see but a quick google search should sort you out if you are a bit confused.

Neat Features

One thing I really like about this particular calculator is the option to choose solve for actual retirement income. What this means is you put in your parameters and it will tell you what your annual income will be if what you entered actually comes to pass. It does use an average life expectancy which you can not alter but at least it is a relatively clear starting point.

Is it just a freaking sales pitch?

100% no. Beyond the Black Rock logo in the top left corner of the page this is not a sales pitch at all. I”m super impressed with the value that they are providing here. Well done Black Rock!

At the end of the day

This is a great calculator, I highly recommend using if you can get past the jargon.

Vanguard: A little cumbersome

Overall impression

At first glance this seems to be have a similar look to the Edward Jones model but after I dug in a bit I realized that while it had the fun little slide bars it was a much more cumbersome set up. It was challenging to get the parameters to the exact numbers as the sliders were not super sensitive and there was no manual input box. I found that most of my time was spent fiddling to get just the right number.

Easy to Use

As I mentioned above… no it wasn’t easy to use. I enjoy a good slide bar but when it requires so much fiddling it just pisses me off.

Easy to Understand

The other major issue that I have with this calculator is that it works in percentages rather than static amounts. While I can work out percentages fairly easily I find that the most people I know generally forget how percentages work when the leave university and they are no longer tied to GPAs. I don’t want to spend the 2 minutes to work out what 85% of my current income is, I just want to input that my ideal retirement salary is 70,000.

Neat Features

It does have a handy reactive bar chart on the left hand side that compares where you are at to what you will need to achieve your retirement goals. It’s nice to have something so simple and visual to get the point across that you are either doing enough or aren’t.  

Is it just a freaking sales pitch?

Not really. They have their logo scattered about and a few things that could potentially be seen as sales-y but you have to look really hard to see it.

At the end of the day

It does the job but I would be weary of the accuracy if you aren’t super confident of your math.

Government of Canada: A great place to start

Overall impression

Since we are a Canadian company so sorry to our US Divas but we need to take a min a have a look at our governments offering. So this calculator is a bit more involved and it would take more time to fiddle about with different scenarios because it’s not all on page. Yet it does a good job of guiding your through the process.

Easy to Use

While I found the multiple pages kind of cumbersome, it does do a good job of taking the user by the hand and walking them through each step of the process. Don’t expect to get through this one in a matter of seconds but if you have a few min it is pretty easy to navigate.

Easy to Understand

This is where the government calculator really shines! When you are all done it gives you a very pretty and easy to follow bar graph mapping out your financial life during your retirement years. Where you money comes from and how long it will last.

Neat Features

I know I already said this but this calculator really takes you by the hand and goes through each aspect of retirement income really well. Do you have a company pension, how long have you lived in Canada (ie will you qualify for OAS) etc. If you are new to retirement income calculators and are feeling a bit overwhelmed this is probably the best place to start.

Is it just a freaking sales pitch?

Ummmmm… no. What would they sell? 

At the end of the day

If you are more seasoned in the world of retirement savings and want something fiddle around with different scenarios this might not be the place for you. Yet if you are totally new to this and don’t know where to start then this is the perfect place to get your feet wet.

My Final Thoughts

Retirement calculators rely on a ton of assumptions including how long we plan on living. I don’t know about you but my magic 8 ball just isn’t that accurate. None of us can truly predict what is going to happy tomorrow or 50 year from now. The best we can do is make intelligent estimations, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Some of these are great tools to help us do just that. If you are a more seasoned investor and want to see what different scenarios produce I would head to the Black Rock site. If you are totally new to this and want something that will provide a bit more explanation than the Government of Canada website should be your first stop.

 

Posted in: Retirement

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Simple Business by Nimbus Themes
Powered by WordPress