Personal Finance

What do you think of retirement calculators?

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  • Mar 12th, 2019 11:12 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
3662 posts
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What do you think of retirement calculators?

I have a financial planner and already have a sound retirement plan but I tried 4 retirement calculators (Sunlife, Scotia, TD and Government of Canada) just for the fun of it. According to all (except one which asked almost no questions) of them I"m on track, which wasn't surprising but was surprising is that I could retire by 55 or even 50 - as I have been planning for retirement for 60-65. I hope to have my mortgage paid off by 55 or earlier so this would definitely be nice (and what I've been aiming to do - retire close to the time I pay my mortgage off). I don't know, but ever since I found out I may be able to retire earlier than expected, I am happier than before lol.

Side note, I found Government of Canada to be the most thorough and comprehensive, Sunlife was also pretty comprehensive - the 2 banks ones sucked (IMO it's a marketing/fear-mongering ploy).
Last edited by hierophant on Mar 11th, 2019 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Before responding to someone (online or offline) ask yourself: is it true? is it helpful? is it kind? is it necessary? This comes from an old Sufi adage that is so relevant today.
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Banned
User avatar
Feb 13, 2019
111 posts
63 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
I think people should plan their own futures, not rely on others or websites to do it for them.
Older generations literally have no biological purpose to exist other than to help the younger generation.
I am the proud inventor of the Rolen Plan for early retirement.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2007
2213 posts
1561 upvotes
SW Ontario
I'm not surprised really, you don't need as much as they all want you to believe you do in order to retire ... without the fear mongering, how else are the banks going to sell their crappy high MER products?

Forget the calculators, and pick up a copy of this book, which also has excel worksheet for you to work thru on your own, it by far has been one of the best books I have read:

Smoke and Mirrors - Financial Myths that will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams

About the Author: David Trahair, CPA, CA
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
3662 posts
2462 upvotes
WetCoastGuy wrote: Links?
I just googled "retirement calculators Canada" - they were the top links
rolenEDM wrote: I think people should plan their own futures, not rely on others or websites to do it for them.
Says the genius who started this thread my-plan-retirement-45-sound-rolen-plan-2265486/ Face With Tears Of Joy :facepalm: :rolleyes:
Jojo_Madman wrote: I'm not surprised really, you don't need as much as they all want you to believe you do in order to retire ... without the fear mongering, how else are the banks going to sell their crappy high MER products?

Forget the calculators, and pick up a copy of this book, which also has excel worksheet for you to work thru on your own, it by far has been one of the best books I have read:

Smoke and Mirrors - Financial Myths that will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams

About the Author: David Trahair, CPA, CA
Thanks - will check out. The retirement calculators were just for fun - I wouldn't rely on them.
Before responding to someone (online or offline) ask yourself: is it true? is it helpful? is it kind? is it necessary? This comes from an old Sufi adage that is so relevant today.
Banned
User avatar
Feb 13, 2019
111 posts
63 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
I checked "Smoke and Mirrors" and it's actually quite in alignment with the Rolen plan. His audience is mostly too old to use the Rolen plan, so they must rely on RRSPs instead of TFSAs for old age funds.
Older generations literally have no biological purpose to exist other than to help the younger generation.
I am the proud inventor of the Rolen Plan for early retirement.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2007
2213 posts
1561 upvotes
SW Ontario
rolenEDM wrote: I checked "Smoke and Mirrors" and it's actually quite in alignment with the Rolen plan. His audience is mostly too old to use the Rolen plan, so they must rely on RRSPs instead of TFSAs for old age funds.
LOL .. Ya I got a good laugh courtesy of the Rolen Plan thread, let's revisit this thread in 15 years and just see how "life happens" treats you.

Those you refer to as being too old to use the Rolen Plan, would have never admitted to still be living with their parents in their 30's, especially with a having family of their own.
Last edited by Jojo_Madman on Mar 11th, 2019 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1584 posts
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GTA West
rolenEDM wrote: I think people should plan their own futures, not rely on others or websites to do it for them.
Calculators are just tools. They don't plan your future but allow you to play with assumptions as you plan.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2009
1322 posts
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Ontario
rolenEDM wrote: I think people should plan their own futures, not rely on others or websites to do it for them.
Hypocrisy exemplified. See "retire age 45" in this forum.
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Mar 23, 2011
1640 posts
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Just remember the intangibles that the calculators don't look at. Are you looking at living to 100? Life expectancy is getting longer and 100 is becoming a norm and not unique. Do you have medical coverage when you retire such as a drug plan, if not have those costs been considered. Do you have kids? Will you be helping them with school, wedding, a new house?What happens if you get sick? Can you afford a nurse, a retirement home (those are freakin' expensive) ? Have you factored in the inflation rate of life and the cost of everything getting stupid expensive such as travel and taxes being increased on everything?
All of this needs to be factored in until the age of 100 in my opinion.
If you can retire at 55 then go for it, especially if you have and want stuff to do and can afford it but the worst is being retired and realizing that you need to go back to work because you've run out of money and have to work a crappy McJob to keep up.
Alex
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
3662 posts
2462 upvotes
Jojo_Madman wrote: I'm not surprised really, you don't need as much as they all want you to believe you do in order to retire ... without the fear mongering, how else are the banks going to sell their crappy high MER products?

Forget the calculators, and pick up a copy of this book, which also has excel worksheet for you to work thru on your own, it by far has been one of the best books I have read:

Smoke and Mirrors - Financial Myths that will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams

About the Author: David Trahair, CPA, CA
I read some of stuff online and got the general idea of his book - it definitely aligns with my line of thought and approach. I also download several of his spreadsheets, they validate both my own spreadsheets as well as the online calculators ...yah!
Dealmaker1945 wrote:
Calculators are just tools. They don't plan your future but allow you to play with assumptions as you plan.
Bingo! For me, it's also a nice validation tool too (if it's a decent one) also helps make retirement planning more tangible (be able to see potential outcomes).
sherman51 wrote: Just remember the intangibles that the calculators don't look at. Are you looking at living to 100? Life expectancy is getting longer and 100 is becoming a norm and not unique. Do you have medical coverage when you retire such as a drug plan, if not have those costs been considered. Do you have kids? Will you be helping them with school, wedding, a new house?What happens if you get sick? Can you afford a nurse, a retirement home (those are freakin' expensive) ? Have you factored in the inflation rate of life and the cost of everything getting stupid expensive such as travel and taxes being increased on everything?
All of this needs to be factored in until the age of 100 in my opinion.
If you can retire at 55 then go for it, especially if you have and want stuff to do and can afford it but the worst is being retired and realizing that you need to go back to work because you've run out of money and have to work a crappy McJob to keep up.
Those are excellent points. The more reputable online calculators do account for inflation as well as life expectancy - the Government of Canada one even helps you select an age based on demographic stats lol. But all the other stuff associated with old age (drug plan, retirement home, etc.) definitely need to be considered - hopefully people incorporate this based on their currently lifestyles, genetics, health conditions, etc. However, we can't know or control every aspect of our life - retirement planning (including online calculators) are just tools to help guide you e.g. covering the basic such housing, food, transportation, as well as maintaining lifestyle (hobbies, travel).

For me personally, if I am able to retire at 55, it just means I don't have to continue working at my current job - I don't care to get into the specifics, but it's all about options. I rather not be in a position where I'm forced to do something because I have limited choice due to poor planning on my part.

Also - most retirement planning tools do NOT include home equity - so that would be an additional pool of money should one sell and downsize for example.
Before responding to someone (online or offline) ask yourself: is it true? is it helpful? is it kind? is it necessary? This comes from an old Sufi adage that is so relevant today.
Deal Addict
Jul 14, 2006
2232 posts
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hierophant wrote: Side note, I found Government of Canada to be the most thorough and comprehensive, Sunlife was also pretty comprehensive - the 2 banks ones sucked (IMO it's a marketing/fear-mongering ploy).
I like the Government one a lot, however I can't find out the details of how it does the calculations. When it tells me that my RSP will pay me $20k/year and my DC pension will pay an additional $25k that's great, however I'd like to see HOW the calculator arrives at these numbers. The numbers are straight across the board so it's not using LIF/RIF minimum withdrawal rates which fluctuate, so where are the numbers coming from? If I could see those details I'd be so happy.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
3662 posts
2462 upvotes
13inches wrote: I like the Government one a lot, however I can't find out the details of how it does the calculations. When it tells me that my RSP will pay me $20k/year and my DC pension will pay an additional $25k that's great, however I'd like to see HOW the calculator arrives at these numbers. The numbers are straight across the board so it's not using LIF/RIF minimum withdrawal rates which fluctuate, so where are the numbers coming from? If I could see those details I'd be so happy.
I don't think any of the online calculators do that. In my case the results from each of the calculators are on par with with one another (given that you're providing the same info) so I'm not too concerned about whether it's super accurate - the sites clearly state these numbers are only rough estimates. Also, these calculators are for the average person who wouldn't understand the calculations (like me) - if one knows how to calculate these numbers themselves, doubtful they would use online calculators lol.
Before responding to someone (online or offline) ask yourself: is it true? is it helpful? is it kind? is it necessary? This comes from an old Sufi adage that is so relevant today.

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