Retirement Calculator Comparison (2nd Edition)

This week’s retirement calculator comparison focused on more detailed retirement calculators that offered comprehensive reports and asked more questions regarding retirement income.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I am not being paid or compensated in any way for sharing my thoughts of the products/services provided in this post.

RetirementAdvisor.com- Standard Retirement Calculator (Pre-retirement):

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Input your life expectancy: this retirement calculator allows you to put in your own life expectancy and does not impose one on you. I like to be more conservative and choose a longer life expectancy to ensure I don’t run out of money before I die, so this option was a nice plus.

Elect to include or not include CPP or OAS in your retirement calculations. The calculator offers you the option to include or not include the CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security). This can be beneficial for those who which not to include government retirement benefits in their calculation.

Elect to include CPP and OAS but at a reduced amount from the current legislated amount. Some young people may feel that government benefits like CPP and OAS will no longer be in existence by the time they retire. The fear is that baby boomers would have already depleted the ever dwindling ‘reserve’ set aside by the time it comes for the younger generation to retire. Some people on the other hand feel that there will be CPP and OAS, but at a reduced amount than what is currently being provided to retirees. The idea being that the government cannot possibly sustain the current payout amounts. Where ever you fall in this spectrum this calculator allows you to choose the reduced amount of government benefits that you expect to receive when you retire based on a percentage of the current legislated amount. Choosing 0% would be the equivalent of picking no CPP or OAS payout Although no one has a magic 8-ball to predict the future, I found this feature unique and helpful for those that would like to include government benefits in their retirement planning, but are skeptical or conservative about what they may receive at retirement. Most other calculators are an all or nothing option, or assume you will receive benefits.

Allows you to input the current value of different accounts. This calculator allows you to input the current value of your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and non-registered accounts separately. These distinctions are important because each one is taxed at different times, if at all.

Clear set of assumptions which were easily visible. Although this calculator had more input fields than the first two calculators from edition #1, the assumptions were clearly laid out leaving little room for ambiguity in terms of what assumptions were made in reaching the calculation. When it comes to retirement planning, making a decision based on the wrong assumptions can be detrimental to your overall retirement portfolio.

Provided detailed reports. I thought the reports were detailed and provided a lot of information. There were numerous ways of reviewing the report and drawing different conclusions based on the information. I also found the amortization schedules helpful.

DislikesThumbs down

Does not allow you to input your post-retirement income. Like many other calculators, this calculator determines your post-retirement income based on a percentage of your current earning (e.g. 60%, 70% etc.). Even though you can change the percentage to any number you want, you can’t use a dollar amount. I prefer using post-retirement income as a benchmark of how much I need to save now, as oppose to using a percentage of your current annual earnings. This is because current annual earnings are just that, current and they are bound to change with job promotions, layoffs, career change etc.

Does not allow you to account for additional income streams after retirement. Once you have specified your retirement age, the calculator assumes from that point forward you will be withdrawing and not generating active income. However, what about rental income? What if you decide to work part-time? Being able to account for these income streams once you are retired (and receiving benefits) will impact your retirement portfolio.

Only one rate of return. This calculator assumes one rate of return for all investments. Although this is not a huge concern, not all investments will hold the same risk, so using one rate of return can be limiting.

Assumes CPP and OAS will be taken out at age 65.  The calculator does not allow you to elect CPP early or later and assumes the user will be taking out their CPP at 65.

Does not ask you for your regular contributions to retirement. The calculator tells you what you should be saving each year for your retirement based on your current earnings and the percentage you wish to withdraw each year in relation to your current earnings. Because you do not input a targeted retirement goal amount it does not tell you whether you will fall short or surpass this goal.

Assumes eligibility for CPP and OAS together. If you elect to include CPP, the calculator will automatically include OAS. Some Canadians may not receive OAS if they have not lived in Canada for a substantial amount of time since the age of 18 (e.g. immigrants to Canada who have come to Canada at an older age).

Based annual RRIF withdrawal on retirement objectives and not minimums.  At retirement (by age 71) an RRSP must be converted into something else (like a RRIF) and money must be withdrawn from this account. The annuals withdrawals from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) have minimums set by the government based on a formula. Retirees must withdraw this minimum amount each year. The calculator does not account for this minimum, but basis withdrawal amounts on the retirement objective that the user has set.

Retirement Advisor screen shot

Star Rating: 4 star rating

Canadian Retirement Income Calculator

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Allows you to designate your desired annual post-retirement income.  I prefer this much better than forcing an income amount base on a percentage of your current earnings (reasons mentioned above).

Allows you to input life expectancy. Like the other calculator, this calculator also allows you to input your own life expectancy instead of having one imposed on you. It even provides you with a recommended life expectancy to use based on your age and gender, but you can choose an age higher or lower than this.

Allows you to include more detailed information about CPP and OAS.  This calculator allows you to:

  • Determine whether you will take out CPP early or later. It even allows you to narrow down to the month (e.g. 60 years 5 months or 68 years 9 months) giving you a more exact number of your potential payout.
  • If you don’t want to include CPP you can choose the not applicable option
  • You can elect to include or not include OAS
  • If you elect to include OAS, the calculator will ask you how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18. Offering a more exact answer for eligibility
  • If you want to get even more detailed you can include your CPP statement of contribution amount. This amount (and other information) is unique to you and you can find out this amount by visiting a Service Canada Office or opening a My Service Canada account

Allows you to add income streams after retirement. If you decide to generate active income (e.g. employment income, rental income etc.), this calculator takes into consideration these amounts in additional to your retirement withdrawals.

Multiple rates of return. Except for government retirement benefits like CPP or OAS which are indexed to inflation, the calculator allows you to input a separate expected rate of return for each of your type of accounts (e.g. Group RRSP, TFSA, unregistered accounts etc.).

Allows you to add regular contribution. The calculator does not assume your post-retirement income based on a percentage of your current earnings. Rather, it uses your regular contributions to each account type along with your government benefits eligibility to tell you what you can expect when you retire. Contribution amounts can be set to weekly, bi-weekly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Dislikes:  Thumbs down

Lengthy. Given the level of detail required to complete a retirement income projection from this calculator, it may take some time. If you want a quick response with minimal information to input, then this calculator will not work for you.

Assumptions not readily available. I am not sure if there are any assumptions that were not covered in the calculator itself. The level of detailed and questions asked to come up with a retirement report were fairly in depth. However, if there were assumptions, I could not readily find them on the page.

 Too much unknown information. Unless you have a good idea of your current retirement savings balances and how you want to collect government benefits, this calculator can be a bit intimidating for the novice user. Sometimes assumptions are ideal because the information is completed for you. This calculator offers very little of that.

I probably liked this calculator the most so far because of it level of detail and fewer assumptions. I liked the option of being able to decide more things about my retirement income, but this may not be the case for others.

Canadian Retirement Income Calculator screen shot

Star Rating:  5 star rating

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I am not being paid or compensated in any way for sharing my thoughts of the products/services provided in this post.

 

Categories: Investing, Savings

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