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AARP on-line retirement calculator

Does anyone out there have expertise in using the AARP on-line retirement calculator tool?  I like the tool, but I'm having trouble understanding the Social Security portion that it is listing.  I have gone on the federal SS website and gotten my estimate of my Social Security at various ages.  When I enter that amount shown for age 62 into the on-line calculator, for some reason the graph shows almost double that amount for a yearly Social Security income?  Obviously that additional amount throws the entire graph off.  I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong, or if anyone else has experienced this issue?

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Honored Social Butterfly

Yeah. I don't get the graph either. I can't tell why the SS income goes constantly up. I may not be understanding what the graph is supposed to show (and I am a stats person).

   Personally, I don't use these calculators. It's easier, to me, to do your own calcs using formula for 'future value'.  That way, I can fully understand the breakdown of the numbers. If you know how to use Excel, it's very easy. 


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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I use Excel often, and have several retirement spreadsheets that I play around with.  These calculators though are nice because they also take into account future interest during retirement, inflation rate, etc., so in theory they would be more accurate.  And this is one of the only calculators I have found that actually lets you break down your retirement income into that coming from SS, from pensions or investments, etc.  For example, if I retire today, but I don't plan to draw SS for 5 more years, and I know how much my yearly expenses will be, it will calculate drawing down only pension/investment income in the first five years, then when SS kicks in, it will divide that income among SS and the pension/investment income, to arrive at the needed yearly expense amount.  It really is nice....if only the SS portion were accurate.  I even tried putting in that my SS income would be zero, yet it still comes up including SS, which I assume it is calculating from my yearly salary figures that I entered up front.  Oh well...I've tried everything...no luck.

 

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@Justducky1wrote:

I use Excel often, and have several retirement spreadsheets that I play around with.  These calculators though are nice because they also take into account future interest during retirement, inflation rate, etc., so in theory they would be more accurate.  And this is one of the only calculators I have found that actually lets you break down your retirement income into that coming from SS, from pensions or investments, etc.  For example, if I retire today, but I don't plan to draw SS for 5 more years, and I know how much my yearly expenses will be, it will calculate drawing down only pension/investment income in the first five years, then when SS kicks in, it will divide that income among SS and the pension/investment income, to arrive at the needed yearly expense amount.  It really is nice....if only the SS portion were accurate.  I even tried putting in that my SS income would be zero, yet it still comes up including SS, which I assume it is calculating from my yearly salary figures that I entered up front.  Oh well...I've tried everything...no luck.

 


The best one I have found is one at marketwatch - https://www.marketwatch.com/retirement/tools/retirement-planning-calculator - lets me adjust everything and account for pensions, various retirement accounts ,etc. Sticking to very conservative numbers gives a good idea of where you stand. and your withdrawl rates in retirement can be adjusted to see how it impacts you. There are others that use Monte Carlo simulations to give to % chance of achieving the results.. But sticking to conservative returns, rational inflation expectations (will be higher than the past decade - assume past averages), etc. would show you a 90%+ chance scenario.
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@Justducky1 wrote:

"...I use Excel often, and have several retirement spreadsheets that I play around with.  These calculators though are nice because they also take into account future interest during retirement, inflation rate, etc., so in theory they would be more accurate.  And this is one of the only calculators I have found that actually lets you break down your retirement income into that coming from SS, from pensions or investments, etc.....".

 

Have you looked at Fidelity brokerage website? I think their calculator might do everything you want. You can sign in as a guest to look at it. If you go on the site, just do a search on 'retirement calculator' on the home page and you'll get a list of links.


 


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
Honored Social Butterfly

I like the Fidelity website.  It is pretty easy to use and doesn't require that tons of data be entered!

 

Congrats to anyone who is doing even the minimal amount of planning!!!

 

 


@retiredtraveler wrote:

@Justducky1 wrote:

"...I use Excel often, and have several retirement spreadsheets that I play around with.  These calculators though are nice because they also take into account future interest during retirement, inflation rate, etc., so in theory they would be more accurate.  And this is one of the only calculators I have found that actually lets you break down your retirement income into that coming from SS, from pensions or investments, etc.....".

 

Have you looked at Fidelity brokerage website? I think their calculator might do everything you want. You can sign in as a guest to look at it. If you go on the site, just do a search on 'retirement calculator' on the home page and you'll get a list of links.


 


 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
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okay maybe I've exposed a serious flaw in the calculator?  I just went back through and entered a VERY artificially small social security amount as a test, and the graph at the end came up with the exact same, extremely high estimate for my social security portion of the income.  Again, I have gone through the Social Security website, and I know the estimates for me at various ages.  I guess I will just move along and not use this tool 😞

Honored Social Butterfly

@Justducky1  I haven't seen that error. There are two places to enter your SS benefit (I hate that word used here: it's our $%^& money! Nevermind. :)). One for you and one for your spouse: is your number being entered in both places?

 

 

 

"The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life - mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical." Julius Erving
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Good thought.  But I'm not married, and list myself that way in an early window on the calculator.  So that should not be the issue.  I did find an old post on this forum from 2016 that had the exact same issue.  So not sure what the problem is, but it's obviously not giving an accurate end result. 

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@Justducky1 wrote:

Good thought.  But I'm not married, and list myself that way in an early window on the calculator.  So that should not be the issue.  I did find an old post on this forum from 2016 that had the exact same issue.  So not sure what the problem is, but it's obviously not giving an accurate end result. 


@Justducky1 Hm. Weird. Hopefully @AARPTeri can solve this mystery. 

 

 

"The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life - mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical." Julius Erving
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