Retirement readiness begins by getting organized. Here are some great free tools.
What is your net worth? How much of your wealth is invested in stocks? Bonds? Real estate? Retirement Readiness...
I’ll bet that you can’t answer these questions off the top of your head. I would even wager that pulling that information together might take hours slogging through online logins and paper statements and a big gnarly spreadsheet to summarize.
Retirement ready? Heck, most of us don’t even know what we own.
Fortunately, there are many early stage firms that are using new technology to aggregate financial information across all platforms - brokerage account, 401k plan, IRA – and they are offering the service for free. Providers like Employee Fiduciary register with these providers (all of the major firms have done so) and when you sign up for the service you enter your basic information and the holdings and values of all your accounts are in one place. Mobile app access, too.
Some 401k plan providers offer in-plan retirement readiness tools for participants. In my experience, these tools are not as simple to use and as comprehensive as the retirement readiness tools available outside the plan. The in-plan tools also increase participant account expenses. Less effective with higher cost? No thanks!
Check out mint.com. Not only do they provide free aggregation, they allow you to set spending and savings goals. Nice, easy to use dashboard. A great tool – and free. Mint is a subsidiary of Intuit, the financial giant behind Quickbooks, Quicken and TurboTax so you will be exposed to these products, but there is no purchase requirement. Frugal technology!
Other aggregators offer the service for free but will offer asset allocation services for a fee. Tread carefully here – these firms use algorithms that may or may not reflect your appetite for risk and most are new to the market. Here is a link to a nice overview article from the Wall Street Journal.
All the best for 2014!
About Greg Carpenter
Greg Carpenter founded Employee Fiduciary in 2004. With 29 years of experience in accounting and finance, Greg has brought his expertise to a variety of advisory, senior and executive management roles. Greg has worked for a national accounting firm, a Fortune 500 plan sponsor, a major brokerage firm, and he served as the CEO of a major 401k TPA firm. He is a CPA and earned his BA from Yale and his MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.