There are so many saving & budgeting tools and resources available that can help you meet your goals. The tools below will help you focus on taking the right steps to build your income streams and nest egg for the next phase of your life. If you have other saving & budgeting tools that you have personally used please share and I’ll add them to this list. Consider this a work in progress.
One of the first things I recommend is to figure out your current and anticipated future budget (See tools below). Then, you can use one of the many savings tools out there to determine how much money you need to save to reach your goals. There are so many things you need to consider including: 1) your age 2) whether you will continue to work 3) if you have pension income, etc. Plus, you really need to think what kind of lifestyle you’d like to live. For example, if you plan to travel extensively you will need budget more money than if you plan to stay put. Of course, where you put your roots will also play a big role in determining your annual living costs. Retiring or residing in Toronto, New York, LA, Vancouver for example will cost considerably more than living in many areas of Mexico, Ecuador, Panama or Belize.
There is a complete set of savings tools and calculators available for Canadians on the Ontario Securities Commission website. This includes calculators for Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RSP/RRSP), Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) and more.
For folks like in the United States, here are a couple of tools that will help you determine what you need to save in order to meet your retirement/slowdown goals:
- Charles Schwab Retirement Calculator – I like this tool because it allows you to enter additional income that you will earn in retirement, aside from pension and investment income, which could be from your own business, employment, rental income, etc. In addition, once it calculates your savings needs vs what you are on track to save it will provide recommendations and options on how to close any deltas.
- Choose to Save has a long list of calculators for US residents similar to the list of tools from the Ontario Securities Commission for Canadian residents.
If you are confused about the various retirement investment vehicles in the US, then check out this article.
There are so many great calculators and tools available to help you save and budget.
Budgeting is so incredibly important to ensure you are set up for success. When trying to project a forward looking budget I like to first complete at minimum of a year of actuals. Otherwise, you may be either too conservative or too aggressive in your budget.
There is a great downloadable budget worksheet on the TD Canada Trust website. While this is a Canadian website, the template is relevant regardless of country and can be edited in excel to remove country specific references like RSP, RESP, TFSA which are all various registered savings plans.
If you are in Canada, there is a slightly more advanced budgeting tool available on the FCAC website. It allows you to change the frequency of various income and expense items.
Apps & Services that let you put your planning into action
There are some great tools and apps out there that will help you keep track of your budget and provide you with financial advice on the go.
A couple of great ones to try out:
- Intuit’s Mint – Mint helps aggregate your accounts across different financial institutions to help provide you with a complete picture of your financial health. It is free and comes with a simple, easy to use interface and customized advice.
- Level Money – This app helps you know what your “safe to spend” amount is for the day, week or month so that you can stay within your budget.
- Bank of America’s Keep the Change Program – think of this as forced savings of your “spare change”. If you buy a latte for $3.75 then $.25 is transferred to your savings account from your checking account. If you spend $7.10 on a combo at McDonald’s then $.90 is transferred. Many banks in both Canada (TD Canada Trust’s Simply Save and ScotiaBank’s Bank the Rest, for example) and the US offer similar types of services. They work so well because you are unlikely to miss the money that gets transferred each time you use your debit card.
Pls note: Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means if you click on one of the product links we may receive compensation from the seller, at no additional cost to you.