For your retirement planning practice, there are many calculating resources available online. Here are some examples relating to pension plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs. You also may find resources here to suggest to your clients for their personal use. (Click on any blue, underlined text to launch the website described.)

Pension, IRA and Roth Calculation Resources:

Forbes.com discusses and analyzes a number of online Roth IRA calculators available from various financial firms and insurance companies.

Categorizing Roth IRA Web-Based Free Calculators by Dr. Gobind Daryanani is an exhaustive discussion of the calculations associated with traditional and Roth IRAs. This site also has links to other sites that do IRA calculations.

Brentmark Software IRA Web site has as its stated purpose "to provide technical and planning information on IRAs and Roth IRAs to practitioners and consumers." It presents a compendium of articles about traditional and Roth IRAs; it also has links to other sites and presents a variety of pension-related calculators.

The Website of Noel C. Ice presents extensive text materials on IRAs and qualified plans. It's loaded with a host of articles and client communication documents. Also included is a series of 14, free, downloadable Excel spreadsheets, including spreadsheets for computation of minimum required distributions (MRDs). This site also has IRA and qualified plan forms for beneficiary designation of spouses and trusts.

Pension, IRA and Roth Calculators:

CalcTools.com offers online calculators using the Brentmark Roth Conversion and minimum distributions calculators.

Motley Fool Calculators does online comparisons of conventional and Roth IRAs, with explanations and graphs for calculating the results of converting a conventional IRA to a Roth IRA; it includes every imaginable personal financial calculation, including amortizations and retirement projections.

DinkyTown supplies a Roth IRA comparison with a traditional IRA calculator, graphics are included.

Interest.Com Mortgage and Financial Calculators presents a variety of online deposit, pension and retirement calculations, including MDRs, Roth IRA conversions, retirement payout and withdrawal penalties; includes explanations.

Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc. publishes expensive institutional calculators but also offers free downloads of demos of their retirement-planning software and related PDF help files including retirement income calculation, 72(t) distributions, MRDs, Roth IRA conversions and many more. Free demos of their Web-based calculators are at Still River Web Calculators. See Still River Features for 72(t) rates, 403(b) plan contribution limits and other analyses of financial topics.

Time Value Software, TCalc Financial Calculators offers a robust collection of online calculators for retirement planning, including IRAs, Roth IRAs and a Roth IRA comparison calculator.

Currey & McClain has a number of financial calculators, including those that help determine IRA withdrawals, retirement income, and IRA payouts.

CCH Financial Planning Toolkit presents information on retirement planning plus a variety of retirement and pension calculators and planning tools, including those related to IRAs, 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, variable annuities, RMDs and stretch IRAs at Retirement Savings and Planning. It also offers a Minimum Required Distribution Minimum Required Distribution calculator with graphics.

1040 Tools is divided into consumer and professional tools. The consumer tools site includes a quick Social Security estimator. The professional tools site (which permits 20 free uses with registration) includes an MRD calculator and retirement planner.

Choose to Save has many calculators to help determine retirement needs, analyze Roth IRAs and calculate savings.

Stan DiLiberto, CPA, CPF has a variety of retirement calculators, including those that help plan for retirement, pensions, Social Security benefits, retirement income, Roth IRA calculator, traditional IRA calculator and Roth IRA conversion.

Horizon Financial Planning Corporation offers an online 401k retirement planner.

Section 72(t) Early Distributions:

CCH Financial Planning Toolkit includes calculators to determine allowable Internal Revenue Code Section 72(t)/(q) distributions and to assist in funding early retirement, with graphs.

72t on the Net offers a life expectancy calculator for all commonly used mortality tables, an elaborate compound interest calculator and calculators for both Roth eligibility and Roth conversion.

CalcTools.com includes demonstrations of online calculations using the Brentmark Online Roth Conversion Calculator, Minimum Distributions Calculator (for after age 70 1/2 distributions) and Minimum Distributions Plus 72(t) Calculator (for pre-59 1/2 distributions).

Websites with Links to Pension and Retirement Planning Resources:

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel maintains a public webpage that links to a number of useful Internet sites, including the Internal Revenue Service's page on pension regulations and guidelines, as well as other sources on 401(k) plans, creditor protection, IRA resources, minimum distribution requirements, pension graphics and other pension resources.

Jason E. Havens' Legal Research for Estate Planners links to a variety of employee benefits, retirement planning and financial planning websites.

Entrust.com provides links to pension- and retirement-related court cases, plus, from the IRS: publications, forms, lists of prohibited transactions and private letter rulings.

Pension and Retirement Planning Text Resources on the Internet:

Web site of Natalie B. Choate discusses pension-related topics and offers for sale her popular retirement planning handbook, "Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits."

StretchIRA presents the article "Stretch IRA," at no charge, which covers how the stretch IRA works, how to determine the beneficiary, a description of the separate share rule, how to name a trust as beneficiary and descriptions of the planning process. It also includes a nice flash demo of stretch IRA principals that is suitable for client education.

Efficient Frontier offers a reality check on unitrusts and other retirement plans based on percentage-of assets in the article, "The Retirement Calculator from Hell," by William J. Bernstein.

Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc. includes a free article "Retirement Planning, Part 3: Risk and Investment Strategy for Retirees" for more still more reality testing.

72t on the Net sells the text "A Practical Guide to IRC Section 72t," which addresses all computational methods relating to early retirement for plan owners with substantial 401(k) or IRA assets, including how to avoid the 10% surtax on early withdrawals as defined in IRC Section 72(t).

Bottom Line:

The online calculators listed in this newsletter perform useful retirement- and pension-planning calculations that may not be included in commercial software packages or that may be more convenient as standalones than as part of a major software program. They also may provide a way to check calculations made by other retirement and pension planning software. Some are suitable to show clients as part of their education. The text resources will help you by offering a review of the subject matter and, sometimes, a different perspective.


Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley -- a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.

Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Nebr. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson-West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.


Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at dhkelley@qwest.net.

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