Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Best Online Tools for Retirement Planning and Living / Apps and Websites Offer Help With Budgeting, Social Security, Lifestyle Planning and Other Essentials

ANNE TERGESEN for the wall st. journal writes: Planning for retirement? Look no further than your tablet or smartphone.
A growing array of apps and websites make it easier to complete many of the most basic—and most important—tasks, from saving money and creating legal documents to figuring out a second career and where to live.
There are tools for people nearing or in retirement, and for people just starting to think about it. There are apps that help couples set up budgets and stick to them, websites that rebalance 401(k) allocations, and calculators that offer a better-than-educated guess as to how long that nest egg is going to have to last.
Some financial programs take care of chores that are crucial for getting ready for retirement but that many financial advisers often don’t have the time or inclination to do for their clients, such as regularly sweeping cash into accounts that earn higher-than-average interest, or tracking monthly spending.
There also are tools for assisting with health care, as well as help with some difficult issues that people often have trouble navigating, such as the legal, health and practical considerations involved in end-of-life planning.
A few caveats: Some of the financial websites require consumers to enter the usernames and passwords of their investment and bank accounts. Look for sites that use TRUSTe, Norton Secured Seal, or SOC 3, which verify that companies have adequate cybersecurity and privacy procedures, says Brian Costello, a vice president of information security at Yodlee Inc., which sells technology that many sites use to import data from users’ accounts.
Be aware, too, that many free programs make money by recommending products.
What follows are free or mostly low-cost programs that can help individuals and families better prepare for and get more enjoyment out of retirement.
What Will You Do in Retirement?
As baby boomers near the end of their careers, more Web services are helping them think about how they want to spend their time in retirement.
Our favorite:LifePlanningForYou.com, which offers a free series of introspective exercises. The site also provides links to financial planners trained in “life planning,” which focuses on helping clients clarify their goals, values and priorities before planning their finances. (It receives no compensation for the referrals, says George Kinder, founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, which developed the website and trains financial advisers in life planning.)
One exercise asks three questions: What would you do if you had all the time and money in the world? How would you live if you knew you had only five to 10 years left? And what would you most regret if you died tomorrow?  SNIP - the article continues @ The Wall St Journal - click here to continue reading....

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