February 2013: Public Retirement Tools and Calculators

This Annuity Monitor Report looks at the retirement-focused tools and calculators offered on the public site. The tools and calculators were analyzed with a strong focus on the following three key criteria:

  • Accessibility of the tools and calculators on the public website
  • Overall appearance, usability and features of the tool and calculator interfaces
  • Presentation and level of detail provided in the results

Overall,
Annuity Monitor firms generally offer an adequate selection of retirement-focused tools and calculators on the public website. While we excluded any Java-based third party calculators from this report, the majority of firms still offer at least two engaging retirement-focused resources to public users. The resources analyzed in this report often feature well-designed and user-friendly interfaces that generate adequate results. As a result, four firms received grades in the A range and only one firm received a grade below a B-.

 

Accessibility is a strength for the majority of firms covered in this report, as nine firms centrally house all retirement-focused tools and calculators on a page solely dedicated to the resources. Interface designs are generally user-friendly, with 73% providing help features within the tool and calculator interfaces. Unfortunately, not even half of the firms in this report utilize progress meters or navigation menus within the tools or calculators. The results generated by the
Annuity Monitor firms were generally sufficient, but varied in level of detail and display features. Seven of the firms provide a graphical analysis with the results, and five display an input summary.

Additional key findings include:

  • Six firms offer access to tools/calculators from a public retirement section
  • The most commonly offered resource is a retirement income tool/calculator – offered by 73%
  • Five firms provide a link to contact a financial professional within the tool/calculator
  • 45% provide results on a printer-friendly page