Help for planning retirement

By Reid Kanaley The Philadelphia Inquirer

Are you expecting too much, or too little, out of whatever retirement you’ll have? There’s no guarantee, of course, but everyone should do some planning, and these sites can guide the way.

Retire in style

Click on articles in the right-hand column under “Retirement Planning” on this page at the Motley Fool site for investors to read about the challenges of planning an early retirement. One post notes that retiring at 50 leaves you more than three decades, on average, to fend for yourself, a huge challenge. If you haven’t done so before, you’ll be asked to register at the site; bit.ly/JCMhs3.

Social Security planner

Social Security’s retirement planner page is a gateway to online tools for determining when you can collect and how much you’ll get. Then you can apply for benefits online. There’s also information on what happens to your benefits if you go back to work after starting to collect Social Security; www.ssa.gov/retire2.

Count on it

AARP’s retirement calculator gets detailed with questions on your biography, salary, savings and expectations for Social Security income and retirement lifestyle. But the result is likely to be a good guide to the steps you need to take to realize the reasonably comfortable retirement you’re envisioning; aarp.us/KILYM3.

Bloomberg’s calculator is a stripped-down way to see how much you need to save year by year to get your retirement account to your goal; bloom.bg/KY6PdV.

Savings regrets

Perhaps reading about other people’s failures here at Bankrate.com will prove instructive; bit.ly/KIMo53.