How did people do this before there was a Web? From simple advice on saving for retirement to managing complex investments, the online tools seem inexhaustible. Here are a few for planning, and avoiding pitfalls.
Mission retirement. Comparing retirement planning to Mission: Impossible for many people, the AARP site provides a series of short videos meant to provide clarity and direction. Links on the Web page offer follow-ups to each video, including investing tip sheets and advice for managing funds long after retirement. For anyone who cannot view the videos online, there is a phone number to call for a free DVD.
With style. The lighthearted Motley Fool takes a solid swing at explaining "how to retire in style." The site lays out 13 steps to retirement, starting with a hard look at how long you might live, and how bored you could get by retiring too early.
Smart money. SmartMoney. com's retirement Web site starts with an article, "10 Things Your 401(k) Provider Won't Tell You." It is a must-read for the warnings about not being lulled into complacency by such gimmicks as "life cycle" or "target date" funds, and the trouble with companies offering employees too few - or too many - fund options.
Foolish calculators. Scroll past the credit, savings and college calculators to the handy list of 15 calculators for figuring out specific retirement problems. Of note are the calculators for determining the extent of your financial trouble if you underestimate your expenses, if inflation goes crazy, and if Social Security crashes and burns.
Hard copy. Here, courtesy of the federal government, is a 62-page retirement-planning workbook that you can download and print if you would rather have something solid to hold onto.
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Small business. The Small Business Administration offers a site to help business owners plan for their own retirements and learn their obligations toward employees. Like the guide above for individuals, this one is ready for printout.