Since Corporate Insight last reviewed retirement income projection tools in November 2016, firms consistently introduced new, high-quality planners and enhanced existing ones. AXA introduced its first income projection tool in February of this year. Another four firms—Charles Schwab, Empower Retirement, MassMutual and Vanguard—completely overhauled their retirement income projection tools. Each of the five firms’ new and upgraded tools offers features that underscore major industry trends.

All but MassMutual’s tool offer dynamic modeling features, which allow participants to preview the impact of making changes to their investment portfolios. AXA, Empower and MassMutual all provide contribution rate modification advice, and MassMutual also offers investment allocation advice. All three firms’ tools include built-in transactional interfaces that let users enact any suggested changes. Empower and Principal allow participants to set parameters for automatic contribution rate increases within the tool, while Vanguard lets participants model and change their contribution rates within the tool’s interface.

AXA Results Screen and Empower Peer Comparison Feature

Firms also continued to add peer comparison data to tools. Empower lets participants edit their peer groups and includes comparisons for general and “top peer” groups, while Charles Schwab compares participants’ income replacement ratios, balances and savings rates to those of their peers. The firm even allows users to view comparisons by state or by individual industry.

Fidelity Retirement Analysis Screen - Scenario Analysis Tab

The best tools retain previously inputted information, rather than making participants re-enter data each time they use the tools to get their projections. John Hancock’s tool now saves some participant data, though users still must fill out most of the inputs; in 2016, the tool did not save any information. Nationwide further corrected its tool. In 2016, the tool did not save any information but it now saves all inputs after the participant’s initial use. Fidelity and Lincoln Financial Group added side-by-side comparison features between current and alternative savings scenarios; users can create and save the alternative scenarios. Lincoln houses an identical version of its retirement planner within a dedicated tab reserved for modeling different portfolios. Fidelity’s scenario comparison is in its early stages, allowing users to model and save scenarios based only on different retirement ages.

myOrangeMoney Tool – Retirement Healthcare View and Hover-Over

Firms continue to make planners more holistic, allowing participants to import information from outside accounts. This is in keeping with the proliferation and evolution of retirement readiness resources throughout the industry. Two firms—MassMutual and Principal—added account aggregation since 2016. Similarly, Voya added inputs to its tool that let users account for a host of other outside financial factors, offering built-in calculators to help accurately assess them. The tool also includes a healthcare cost estimator that lists monthly costs and a loan modeler that displays the impact on income projections when users have a loan out. Finally, the special needs planning section guides users through a quiz to determine which needs might emerge, providing links to related educational resources.