Study: Retirement Software Packages Vary Widely

January 30, 2003 ( - Retirement planning software packages were all over the map in their forecasts about when retirees would exhaust their retirement assets, according to a new study.

That was one of the findings of an evaluation of retirement-planning software conducted by the LIMRA International, the Society of Actuaries and the International Foundation for Retirement Education (InFRE).

Other findings in the study include:

  • the software can do more to help people understand and deal with post-retirement risks
  • programs vary in their ability to handle different personal or tax situations such as home ownership and two-earner couples with two sets of benefits.

The report offers software makers improvement suggestions including:

  • making it easier for users to update their plans as their circumstances change
  • increasing program versatility in handling home equity, client-specific goals, unique individual circumstances, and other factors in financial planning.

The report also offers recommendations for financial services providers, financial planners and advisors, consumers, actuaries.  

The project examined 19 retirement software programs, six designed for consumers and 13 others for use by professional advisors.   The examiners created six scenarios representing various stages and circumstances of retirement.   The study tested the programs for ease of use, quality and clarity of results, capabilities, and treatment of risks.