Best Downloadable Spreadsheets for Your Retirement Planning
Online Spreadsheets and Tools for the Do-It-Yourself Planner in You
If you’re a numbers person and like to tinker around in Excel, then these tools are going to be right up your alley. Some of these online spreadsheets are quite robust. All of them can be used to help you make smarter financial decisions.
As you move down the list the tools get more complex, meaning the items toward the end of the list are built for professionals, but can also be utilized and understood by the serious do-it-yourself financial planner.
The Flexible Retirement Planner
This site offers a free evaluation version of their spreadsheet based retirement planning tool called The Flexible Retirement Planner. The spreadsheet takes basic inputs such as your current age, retirement age, total amounts saved in tax-deferred, taxable, and tax-free accounts, the estimated rate of return on savings, tax rate, and annual contributions to savings. It then runs various simulations to account for differing investment outcomes, and it assesses your probability of achieving success (meaning your money lasts for your lifetime).
Also, through their retirement planner tool, they offer a series of additional free spreadsheets for download under their Tools section. This section includes some great spreadsheets such as their Portfolio Asset Allocation Tool, TIPS Ladder Builder, and Portfolio Withdrawal Simulation.
Tax planning can help save you money and it is increasingly important to do it when you get to the point where you are withdrawing money in retirement. Surveys show that retirees are often caught off guard by how large their tax bill is in retirement. Unfortunately, many of the free online tools don’t provide the level of detail you will need to engage in smart tax planning. Simple Planning, however, provides a great solution with their Detailed Tax Calculator which allows you to project a complete tax return.
They offer a demo version of their downloadable spreadsheet so you can see how it works. You can upgrade to their full version for only $19.95. If you want additional functionality with a built-in retirement planner, budget planner, net worth planner, mortgage planner, and more, then try their Complete Planner Premium version for $59.95.
Financial Architects is a wealth management firm that makes many of their spreadsheets available online for free on their Ruminations page. Scroll down their page to see spreadsheets and articles by subject. There are several that retirees might want to check out, such as their One Person Social Security Breakeven Spreadsheet, the Pension Option Analysis Spreadsheet, Investment Returns Matrix Spreadsheet, and Joint Life Probability Spreadsheet, just to name a few. You’ll need a good working knowledge of Excel to use these tools.
Tax Tools offers software for tax professionals, but the pricing is reasonable enough ($199 a year) that those tax savvy do-it-yourselfers might be interested. One of their tax planning tools allows you to compare multiple future years side by side. For retirees this allows you to model out what happens when you take IRA withdrawals. If you are also already taking Social Security when you begin IRA withdrawals your tax bite may be much bigger than you are expecting. They offer fully functional free demo downloads so you can try before you buy (the demo versions just may not print or generate forms for you).
The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc.
This website and its tools are primarily for practicing financial planners, tax planners, and estate planners, but they're reasonably priced charts are so well done, and so educational, that many do-it-yourself investors and planners may find them valuable. Three of my favorites are their Bracket Management Chart, Capital Gains Harvesting Chart, and the Traditional IRA Distribution Flowchart. You can find these items on their Client Friendly Charts/Handouts page.
Dual Real World Retirement Software
This site has a ton of information and spreadsheet downloads available for demo and purchase with their Dual Real World Retirement Software being just one of many. The site offers so much information that it is a bit difficult to find what you might be looking for, but if you are a true do-it-yourselfer you’ll find analysis tools on everything from Rental Real Estate Analysis to Bond Calculators to Asset Allocation Calculators.