If good retirement planning for seniors or anyone for that matter required only the output from a trusty financial calculator, then why would we ever need an advisor? If you look on the internet, you can almost get overwhelmed with the vast array of financial, retirement and mortgage calculators offered. And most are free tools, sort of.
The role of a good retirement calculator is a first step view of your retirement needs from the perspective of about 20,000 feet. It is a broad view. The key to success lies in your ability to dive into the planning details, establish a practical plan based on reality and preserve your ability to adjust it as needed over time.
Think of it…most businesses and government agencies cannot forecast their revenues or expenses accurately one year in advance yet “certified planners” suggest you should project your needs 15-20 years into the future. Even if you put just a basic plan in Age calculator place, you don’t know what your health will be. You don’t know if your job will still be there. You don’t know the situation of spouse, children, parents and extended family. And you certainly don’t know how much the government will want from you check before you get what is left.
All of this simply highlights that retirement planning is a process not an event. And the financial calculators can be a useful tool in that process. Most calculators offered on the internet are similar in function and are offered with one slight obligation which is that you will experience just enough guilt or gratitude to meet with the company representative offering the calculator.
So download a calculator or two and play around with some scenarios. In the process you may meet an advisor that can bring meaningful value to your plans. Start with your current age and project a couple of different retirement ages such as 60 years old and 70 years of age. The calculator will ask about your income now, how much income you would like to have at retirement and what you have saved currently. What you will get is an estimate of what you will need to save to get the income you want. But now the real visionary work begins.
Your life is so much more than a number in a calculator. Don’t assume your life ends at 60 or 70 or even 80. Start a new vision or re-vision in every dimension of your life. What dreams do you have? Start a business, travel, plant a garden, build something out of wood, or find a new mate.
Retirement planning is not just an exercise in accepting limitation, regret and frugality. It can be the door to the most productive time of your life. It can be a time of discovery. It can be a time when you realize that your happiness isn’t dependent on anything external but an incredible journey to an understanding of who you really are.
Start the journey. Take a step. Use the diverse financial calculators and their planners as a guide and then make adjustments along the way so you stay on course. Most importantly have fun today because tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone.