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Specialized Online Calculators Abound
In many cases, online calculators offer little
more than preliminary guides for making investment choices. Still, they
provide a service by helping individuals understand the process,
Gudikunst said. That guidance, he said, is especially valuable when it
prompts someone to begin planning for their retirement rather than
telling themselves, This is too complicated, so I wont do it.
In addition to helping individuals determine how much they will have
to accumulate for retirement, some calculators recommend an allocation
of assets that will be needed to achieve that goal.
How reliable are online calculators? When making investment or
retirement-planning decisions, its best to use calculators from more
than one Web site and compare the results before taking any action,
Calculators for investing and retirement planning have become much
more sophisticated, in part, because of increasingly powerful software.
More advanced calculators for retirement planning provide so-called
Monte Carlo simulations, which can be valuable because the results
include ranges of probable outcomes for a plan, said Bruce L. Rubin, an
associate professor of finance at Old Dominion University. These
simulations, whose name is derived from the probability in games of
chance at Monte Carlo casinos, assign probable outcomes to the
investment choices that an individual makes.
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