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My Favorite Retirement Calculators

I’ve used many retirement calculators. More than 80 at last count. I relied on these tools to plan my own retirement trajectory, culminating in early retirement at age 50. Then I started a blog and began reviewing retirement calculators. Over time, these posts have become the most popular on my site. I’ve recently updated my …

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Comparing the 2 Leading Social Security Calculators

It was a mystery. I’d spent the morning sifting through results from the two leading Social Security calculators. I was running my eye down the column of numbers generated by the 2nd well-respected calculator. They summed to more than $700K in lifetime benefits. That seemed reasonable enough. But wait, it was only half what the …

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New Social Security Rules: Do You Need a Calculator?

The only constant is change. Do a little retirement planning, and you’ll soon bump into that truth. Earlier this month the U.S. government gave us another reminder: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 made some of the most significant changes to Social Security benefits in years. Lawmakers unexpectedly tacked the changes onto an emergency measure …

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Summer Vacation: Retirement Towns, Adversity and Longevity

Though I no longer work a regular job, it still feels like a vacation when I break from the usual routine. And, for the past four weeks, we’ve enjoyed a major break from our regular routine. In late July, we left Santa Fe for an extended road trip to the West, Northwest, and Rockies. We …

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Is Early Retirement Irresponsible?

Retirement is an invention of the last half century. Thanks to social welfare programs and longer life spans, more people could look forward to life after a career. But now it’s possible for some dedicated and fortunate workers to put together the assets for financial independence years earlier. Traditional retirement typically starts at age 65. …

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The Ideal Retirement Location – Will we stay in Santa Fe?

I awake at dawn and glance out our bedroom window. A rosy glow, mixed with a scattering of monsoon clouds, is taking shape over Santa Fe Baldy to our east. The rocky peak rises to 12,622 feet, anchoring the Sangre de Cristo range in our backyard. Another day begins in Santa Fe…. After breakfast, I …

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The 6 Crucial Questions to Answer Before You Retire

Readers and friends often ask me about the retirement decision-making “process.” How do you prepare, a year out, 6 months out, 3 months out? Do you need a written plan in advance? What about contingencies? Do you just pull the plug, or is there a more systematic way? When is it really safe to leave? …

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Shopping Obamacare: Comparing Plans / Awaiting a Verdict

Much of my journey to early retirement was carefully planned. I saved a lot, invested carefully, read extensively. But in one area — health care — I was just plain lucky. Health insurance is one of the most critical issues in retirement: To live without it before Medicare starts at age 65 is to court …

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10 Tips for More Accurate Retirement Calculations

Retirement calculators are not all created equal. And the differences between them are more than just an academic issue. Why? Because you’ll be using these tools to make one of the most important decisions of your life. If you’re approaching retirement, or want to someday, either you or an advisor will likely use a retirement …

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The Best Retirement Calculators

What’s so important about retirement calculators? Why are these tools of more than just technical interest? Well, they’re important because either you, or a financial planner, will use the results from a retirement calculator to make one of the most crucial decisions of your life: Are you financially independent yet, or not? If you get …

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Should You Work One More Year?

I’m “retired,” but I took this past summer off anyway. I wrote less on the blog. I postponed some personal projects. And, I worked on my bucket list — doing the things I couldn’t do while working full time, while raising a son, while living back east. This was the first summer since my 20’s …

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The Good News About Retirement

There is no shortage of bad news about retirement: The population is aging. Workers haven’t saved enough. Market returns will be lower going forward. Inflation is bound to return. Health care is expensive‚Ķ. Many of you, even those who are relatively well prepared, are concerned about the prospects for your golden years, afraid to make …

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Our Retirement Expenses: Where Does the Money Go?

What will it cost you to live in retirement? You may be asking this question as you plan your future. You could try to answer it by looking at national statistics on living expenses. The Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is widely cited. But truly, you are the only one with …

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What Will You Do When You’re Retired?

“If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work.” –Shakespeare Mention “retirement” at the office. Most people will be conjuring visions of sun-drenched beaches, lush golf courses, soaring mountains, or shimmering pool sides. Everybody knows that retirement has to be awesome, because vacations are awesome, and retirement will …

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Review: The Pralana Retirement Calculator

The reviews of free retirement calculators here have been some of the most popular posts on the site. There are certainly some useful free calculators available. And since no one calculator has a corner on predicting the future, it’s nice to have the option to run several and compare the results, without having to pay …

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Shopping Obamacare: Good Deal for Retirees?

Open enrollment under the new health care law closed for 2014 at the end of March. There won’t be another opportunity to apply for coverage until late in the year. There is nothing like a deadline to move someone to action. So, even though we are fortunate to have excellent retiree health benefits already, I …

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My Retirement Fears

Reading my story on this blog, you might think I’ve got it made. Thanks to a high-paying job and relatively frugal lifestyle, I managed to save a large sum by the time I was 50, and retire early. Since then I’ve pursued new interests, travelled extensively, and worked when and where I wanted. Recently, we …

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Should You Pay for a Retirement Calculator?

There are lots of retirement calculators. Naturally, people want to know which ones to use and trust. The reviews I’ve written of free retirement calculators have been some of the most popular posts on this site. There aren’t too many side-by-side comparisons of retirement calculators using realistic scenarios, so those posts generated a lot of …

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Early vs. Traditional Retirement

“Retirement” is a slippery concept. Yes, that R-word is commonly used, and that’s why I chose it for this blog. But it can describe radically different situations: a 20-something Internet tycoon; an extremely frugal 30-something software engineer; a 40-something ex-military officer on a pension; a 50-something who achieved financial independence with prudent investing; or a …

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The Ideal Retirement Location

What is your ideal retirement location? Do you dream of beaches or of mountains? Of your home state, or exotic international locales? Of urban skylines or of rural landscapes? Do you like snowy winters, hot dry summers, or moderate temperatures year round? Will you pack up and retire far away from where you worked a …

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The “Perfect” Retirement Calculator

The perfect retirement calculator doesn’t exist yet. But having just finished reviewing dozens of calculators in recent posts — The 3 Best Free Retirement Calculators and The Best Free Retirement Calculators: Round 2 — I can’t stop thinking about the possibilities…. For me, the perfect calculator isn’t one that is somehow more accurate at analyzing …

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