I recommend these things solely because I’ve found them to be helpful along my own journey to financial independence.
This blog is not monetized and there are no conflicts of interest.
Websites | Books | Calculators
Many mainstream retirement calculators can’t handle the idea of early retirement. Some do stupid things like enforce a minimum age of 60, or cannot account for a scenario in which you are already retired. This makes them essentially broken for people aspiring to retire early.
Use these instead.
cFireSim – This calculator takes a history-based approach to determining whether you have enough money to retire. My personal favorite.
FireCalc – Although it’s the original history-based calculator (created in 2007,) it’s probably not the best. I prefer cFIREsim myself, as it has more flexibility. Still useful, though.
Vanguard’s Monte Carlo – It’s useful to occasionally run your numbers through a Monte Carlo simulation because the methodology is different; it will run through history but with randomly selected years.
The Mad Fientist’s Lab – The Mad Fientist has a unique way of tracking your own path to financial independence. After clicking this link, be sure to then hit the ‘sign-up’ button to create an account. Don’t worry, it’s all free.
Mustache Calc – This is actually a suite of calculators, although it will spit out your FIRE date after you feed it some data about your own situation, which makes it in my mind primarily a retirement calculator. Still, the bonuses are nice: Mustache Calc also returns your Real Hourly Wage, how much your car is really costing you per mile, and some other neat stuff. These are great tools, especially if you’re just starting out on your journey to FI.
Rent Vs. Buy – This calculator, brought to you by the New York Times, is a terrific tool to help you decide between a home purchase and remaining a tenant. Sliding bars help you to quickly evaluate different scenarios and the results are clear and easy to follow.
Mortgage Calculators – The mortgage professor’s site has calculators to determine just about anything related to financing your home. Examples: Is it worth it to refinance? Should I prepay my mortgage or stash extra cash in my investment vehicles? Everything is free to use and you do not have to register for an account. (I didn’t.)
Length of Life (LoL)
Many of the retirement tools above want to know how long you’ll live. These calculators will give you a ballpark estimate.
Northwest Mutual’s LoL Calculator – Straightforward and fast, you’ll get an answer in just a few minutes. I like it because it tells me I will live to 92. Thank you.
Vitality Compass – This is probably the most comprehensive LoL calculator out there, but it is necessary to create an account in order to use it. (Bummer.)
The TaxCaster – From Intuit, the creators of Turbotax, comes this helpful tool for figuring out how much you’re likely to owe to the government. If the link is old just type “turbotax taxcaster <tax year>” into google to get the freshest version.
There are tons of retirement calculators on bankrate.com
They’re free and are occasionally useful, especially if you find you are in a unique situation and the tools above are not cutting it for whatever reason.