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It’s never too early to plan for retirement, but what if you’re late to the game? Can it ever be too late? Is there any hope for you if you’re already well into your 40s or 50s? Yes! As they say, it’s better to start now and be late than to never start at all.
But here’s the thing about retirement: there’s more to it than just a financial savings plan. Yes, money is important, but don’t forget that there are other important things to consider along the way.
How long can you expect to live given your current lifestyle? What kind of paperwork should you take care of before entering retirement? And once in retirement, what are you going to do with your time and energy? You might find that 24 hours is just too much time in one day.
Here are some great web apps to help you prepare for a comfortable and lively life as a senior citizen.
The Vitality Compass is an app by Blue Zones, a project that started as an exploration by National Geographic to find the longest living cultures across the world. These regions became known as “blue zones”, and now, Blue Zones is an initiative to help extend the longevity of humankind.
So what is the Vitality Compass? In their own words, it’s the “most accurate life estimator available”, meaning it will calculate things like your overall life expectancy and analyze how many years you’re losing due to poor lifestyle habits.
The app itself is a simple six-part questionnaire. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your background, outlook, diet, exercise, environment, etc. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and the results are helpful as a preparatory tool to see “how much retirement” you can look forward to.
Sometimes it’s good to get a second opinion. While the Vitality Compass app above is pretty good on its own, we recommend backing it up with a run through How Long Will I Live?, which is another life expectancy calculator that gives accurate-than-most results.
The team of researchers behind this app are from the University of Pennsylvania, a well-regarded research-oriented Ivy League school. As part of this project, they explain how the calculations are performed, including a rundown of basic concepts and a mathematical summary.
This particular questionnaire comes in two forms: a shorter life calculator that takes less than a minute to complete, and a longer life calculator that takes about five minutes to complete but is more accurate in its analysis.
Based on the questions alone, you’ll see that it looks at different factors than the Vitality Compass, so it’s a good supplemental tool to use.
Once you have an idea of how long you can expect to live, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do during those years. This is actually a tough decision for a lot of folks, considering the fact that we’ve all grown up assuming that 8+ hours a day must be dedicated to occupational work.
Life Planning For You is actually a self-help book that aims to help you reorganize your money in a way that lets you pursue your greatest dreams. However, the website offers a set of questions (called EVOKE Exercises) that force you to pinpoint what exactly you want from life.
EVOKE stands for Exploration, Vision, Obstacles, Knowledge, and Execution. What would you do if you didn’t have to work at all? This is one effective process that can help you find that answer.
But ultimately, you’ll discover what’s most important to you deep in your heart, and that kind of knowledge is priceless in the long run.
Life Reimagined is an initiative by the American Assocation of Retired Persons whose goal is to help people like you get on the path that will bring you the most happiness during your retired years. Its like Life Planning For You but with a twist.
The core idea behind this website is that it provides programs that you can take to help clarify your goals, desires, and priorities. These programs are free and can take anywhere from 1 to 7 days to complete, and if you take them seriously, you’ll find that they offer a lot of intangible value.
Life Reimagine’s programs are split into three categories: Well-Being, Work, and Relationships. Don’t just endure the remaining years of your life. By focusing on these three facets, the end of your life will be marked by thriving, not just surviving.
For those who are retiring in the United States, Social Security benefits will make up a good chunk of your retirement income. What most people don’t realize, however, is that they might not be receiving as much money as they could.
It all depends on how you claim your benefits. Did you know that there are a little over 8,000 different claiming combinations for Social Security? How can you know if you’re getting every last dollar that you deserve from the government?
By using the Social Security Planner app by Financial Engines. The four-step process is surprisingly simple. You fill out your income estimates and your social security strategy, then the app will analyze the data and propose the optimal strategy for securing as much money as you can.
Even though most of these apps haven’t been about retirement income, it’s still crucial that you’re saving up enough for retirement. You may find that you aren’t on track to making your goals, and that would not be a pleasant surprise once retirement comes around.
If you don’t know where to start and need a bit of help, here are some tools for planning your retirement. One tool that we want to highlight in particular, however, is the Retirement Income Planner by Fidelity.
This income planner is specifically designed for people who are within five years of retirement or are already retired. It’s a 30-minute process that will optimize how long your retirement money lasts. If you’re worried about running out, this is the tool for you.
You’ll need to have a Fidelity Membership account to access the tool, but it works even if you just sign up for a free trial. Another useful tool by Fidelite is the Income Strategy Evaluator, which can find you ways to supplement retirement income with investments.
There’s one final thing that everyone should consider before entering retirement: what happens when your final days are over? It’s not a fun or happy thing to think about, but is essential to take care of before something happens to you.
Fortunately, there’s Everplans, a web service that maintains a secure, digital archive of everything your survivors will need once you’ve passed on. For example:
- Wills, trusts, and insurance policies
- Important accounts and passwords
- Advance Directives and DNRs
- Final wishes and funeral preferences
Everplans are free to create and tremendously convenient. Instead of running around and gathering as much scattered data as they can, your surviving family members can rest easy knowing that all of that information is safe and secure in one location.
Basic accounts are free, but if you want to upload documents and have more than two “deputies” (people who can access your Everplans), then a Premium account is available for $75 per year.
Successful Retirement Requires Planning
No matter where you are on the road towards retirement, continued planning is critical to success. Yes, there will always be bumps and obstacles along the way, but proper planning will help you stay upright no matter what gets thrown your way.
How’s your retirement planning going? Did you find these web apps helpful? If you know of any other good ones out there, please share in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.
Image Credits: Senior Woman Using her Laptop via Shutterstock