Web resources to improve your post-retirement income

Sooner or later, we’re down to Social Security, personal savings and pensions.

By Russell L. Kratowicz

It’s time to look for free, non-commercial, registration-free Web resources to improve our post-retirement standard of living, personal savings, Social Security and pensions. Either you did or you didn’t save adequately. Social Security is out of our control. Pension refers to defined benefit programs, defined contribution plans and personal investments.

Our hired hands in Washington continue to tinker with Social Security. Let’s hope it’s still there when we need it. Have the good folks inside the Beltway send you a statement of benefits. Your ultimate share of the funds, if any, is based on this official record. If it’s wrong, you’ll have a problem. It’s easy to resolve this justifiable paranoia. Check out these sites:

The best case has life and assets vanishing simultaneously. Predict how long your cash will last with the interactive calculator found at http://www.smartmoney.com/retirement/401k/index.cfm?story=planner. Estimate your life expectancy at http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/calcs/n_expect/main.asp or http://www.livingto100.com/quiz.htm.

The strategy should be to maximize return on investment, but consistently beating the market is impossible. The frenetic activity in service of one’s pocketbook makes markets efficient, which makes finding truly underpriced investments difficult.

Think about it. If someone discovered a quick, sure-fire way, I doubt they would reveal it. There’s no easy way to get high ROI, but help for the hard way is available.

Start with the portal to retirement information found at http://www.quicken.com/retirement/. The American Association of Individual Investors, http://www.aaii.com/portman/index.shtml, offers downloads for all occasions financial. Check the “Download Library.” Click on “Glossary” for calculators that answer specific questions. “What will it take to become a millionaire?” is fatalistic, pessimistic fun. Clicking on Morningstar Reports under the “Tools” heading on the left side of the page leads to rankings of mutual funds.

Besides the S&P 500, Standard & Poor’s publishes other indices. Visit http://www.spglobal.com/index.html to see the values of S&P Global Indices change in real time as the markets do what they do best. Download a spreadsheet for each index that contains the ticker symbol, stock name, industry sector code, sector name and more.

Information about the index issues is at http://www.advisorinsight.com/pub/indexes/500_dir.htm. Click on a stock name to access the data and its beta value, a measure of its volatility. The reason beta is important is explained at:

The Motley Fool’s mission is to educate, enrich and amuse individual investors. Visit http://www.fool.com/ and click on “Retirement” just below the top center of the page.

Finally, Harry Domash’s Winning Investing site at http://www.winninginvesting.com/ offers resources for those who are going to have to exist on Social Security, personal savings and pension funds.

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