Compare Your Retirement and Financial Planning with Other Boomers

I’ve found another online tool that enables comparisons between your personal finances and retirement savings to others in your peer group. I think it’s worth your time to visit. It won’t cost you anything except a few minutes of Q&A. In fact, you may win something from me just for reading on.

< I enjoy comparing the state of our financial and retirement planning with our peers. This may indicate that I have an ego problem, as in too much of it. Actually, using financial comparison tools is motivational. Learning that you are doing well financially compared to others  is a form of “atta boy” for hard work. Learning that you are below average could be the motivational kick in the pants that you need to do better.

The new online comparison tool that learned about this week is provided by ING. It’s called “INGCompareMe.” Don’t worry – although ING wants your business (annuities, etc.), you can use the tool completely anonymously. When you are finished, you can download a report summary. This is an excellent feature because if you decide to track your progress compared to your peers, it gives you a historical record.

Other features that I liked:

  • When you set up a personal profile on age, gender, and income, the tool tells you how many other users are in that same profile window, i.e., the size of your peer group.
  • The tool measures and compares retirement and financial planning attitudes as well as numbers.
  • The tool doesn’t scold you or try to sell you something while you are entering data or reviewing outputs.

Here are some results that I found interesting when I ran our comparison:

  • We are ahead of “people like us” in retirement saving but my estimate of how much we will need to retire is almost identical with our peers ($2,000,000).
  • 48% of people like us monitor retirement assets weekly. (That surprised me. I thought it would be lower.)
  • On average, folks in our group spend over $8000 annually on vacations. That’s a lot more than we spend but not if you take into account use of our lake house as a vacation home.
  • 70% of our peers are, like me, DIY investors.
  • 65% of our peers are like us with no credit card debt. The other 35% carry average balances over $5000.
  • 77% of our peers are like us and have no car loans. The other 23% have average loan balances over $16,000.

I would enjoy hearing back from readers who try the INGCompareMe tool. (FYI – I have no relationship of any kind with ING). Any reader who leaves a comment here with some personal comparison information that he/she found interesting will win a free download of my Failsafe Retirement System. I will draw a random number and announce the winner on Friday, October 22, and email the winner a free download code.

Here is the link to the tool:  INGCompareMe:Home.


Comments

  1. says

    Fascinating tool.

    I was surprised that so many “people like me” have life insurance.

    My philosophy: when I die, no one is going to suffer financially – my son has his financial affairs in order and is looking after his own children.

    And if my son wishes to buy life insurance on me to help pay my final income taxes, he is more than welcome to do so. But he won’t, because he realizes that the entity that wins in that scenario is the life insurance company – that’s how they make their gajillions.

    BTW, my son is my key financial planner – he is a financial analyst (who reads annual reports for pleasure!).

  2. Craig says

    Hi Mark,

    I have been following Go To Retirement for several weeks now and have considered emailing you several times. Your offer for a free Failsafe Retirement download was just the nudge I needed. I was also surprised at how similar my responses were, overall, to “people like us” at the ING website. My estimate of how much will be needed to retire is 2.5 million (due to projected low annuity returns) and our vacation expenditure is much lower than average, but otherwise my financial attitudes and behavior are remarkably within the norm. I have bookmarked scores of financial websites, but yours speaks more closely to our particular financial situation and concerns than most. Keep up the good work!

  3. says

    I appreciated the fact that ING didn’t require a person using this tool to sign away their information just to participate. I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my comparison.

    Like you and just about everyone else but the CEO’s of companies, who will go nameless, my husband and I took a large hit in 2008. There has been some recovery but the market fluctuations make life a little too uncertain. To paraphrase the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”.

    One thing that seemed to be lacking on the INGCompareMe tool was any mention of inflation.

    Just because nobody in the Federal Government seems to go to the grocery store doesn’t mean that inflation isn’t alive and well. SS is not implementing COLA again this year. Anybody that can prove to me that they are purchasing the same amount of any food product for the same price as last year will be pulling off a miracle-the shrinkage of packaging in the food industry this past year has been unbelievable.

  4. says

    Not surprising to me – we clear far less than you. Now that we are retired it will be even less- way less.
    I am shocked to see women have an average retirement savings for my age is $23,000. I put in my husband’s age and men had saved $174,000 for retirement. What is up with that? It makes me really nervous that with cutting social security we are going to see more and more women very poor in the future.
    Go ahead- put in the same numbers but put it in as your spouse. I think the numbers are a bit scary.

    I spend for vacations more like your group- lol. We figure it costs about $2000. to go see a child and we do that four times a year. OW! We don’t go on other vacations….

  5. Another Reader says

    ING will get a lot more out of this than will the user. They are probably using this as a cheap way to gather information about their potential customers so they can develop and target financial “products” to sell this market segment.

    I filled it out, but it’s set up only to account for paper assets. If you own a business or real estate, it’s no help whatsoever. I don’t really care what other people are doing. Comparing myself to other folks my age and gender and income is pretty useless, especially when I see what poor money managers they are. It’s just a reminder there will be a lot of baby boomers eating Alpo in their retirement years. That and increased demands on government to keep the standard of living at a tolerable level.

  6. Meredydd says

    Hi Mark –

    It’s an interesting market research tool for ING, and amusing to play with.

    Plugging in my data (53 yr unmarried female) showed that I’m ahead of my 355 “peers” in savings and am more confident about my planning ability (after all, I read this blog!). And I’m ahead in savings: I spend less on vacations (camping is both fabulous and cheap!) and have no debt: “live below your means” is a great mantra. On the other hand, all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl…

    We’re all concerned about health care costs. Hardly surprising: as our employers have pulled away from retiree health care benefits, that’s the big unknown.

    I was somewhat surprised at how many “affluent” females depend on financial planners — more than 50%. Did their dependence on financial planners help them become “affluent?” Or would they have been better off if they’d struck out on their own with a portfolio of index funds and bonds?

    The other thing that left me slightly dumb-squizzled was the absence of a question about planned age of retirement. Are my peers going to hang on until 65?

    In reality, however, I don’t really care how I stack up to my “peers” because my retirement won’t be like that of anyone else. I find a more useful measure of “how I’m doing” is one you suggested long ago: each month-end, when I do my Quicken reckoning, I plug my net worth into an “instant annuity” calculator. The result is a satisfying, tangible measure.

  7. says

    I thought it wasn’t bad, but it lacked an entry field to put in pension data. I compensated for it by back calculating my annual pension to give an approximation of todays total lump sum dollar value. I took the annual pension amount and divided it by 4%. Does that seem reasonable to you? Most retirement planning tools forget to allow for defined benefit pesnion input..

  8. Bob says

    Having a pension (in addition to SS) can change the answer to a few of the questions. For example you maybe saving less and have fewer assets but due to the pension be better off. Same applies to having a source of Health insurance. Thus the end report is interesting but not as helpful as it could be.

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