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October 23, 2006


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I just got my R-Score and it was a 60! But I'm not worried because when I started the questionaire and put in the year I was born (1982) the guy came on the screen and told more that its great I'm worried about retirement, but... this program is really intended to be a wakeup call to people who are old and haven't started saving yet. So then the guy tells me if I want a score I have to pretend that I'm 35 years old. Well of course using my real 401k, IRA, and savings numbers, I look like a slacker. But I plan on having a lot more money by the time I'm 35 so maybe in 11 years I'll get my R-Score re-evaluated. So the Nationwide program is no good for me.

My closing thought:
Everyone says you have to plan for retirement as early as possible, but all the retirement calulators and programs online are inaccurate for young people. So if anyone out there has a good retirement resource for twenty somethings I'd love the reference.

On a side note...
When I come up with my retirement number, is there a program I can use to tell me if I'm saving enough to reach that number?

Here's what I would suggest for you younger people: put in your age at 35 but also put in what you plan/expect to have saved by that point. I know it will be a bit of a guess, but it should get you close.

Dang it. I didn't get the girl. I got some dude. I'm taking the quiz now. I have to "pretend I'm 35". I don't get that.

If I was 35, Chad (what I named the character) said that I had an R-score of 53 and that I'm in trouble. My student loans totally cancelled out my nest egg.

Chad said I was mediocre so now I'm going to be pretty bummed at work. Thanks Chad.

Interesting, I'm a girl and got the girl host.

I also had to "pretend I'm 35." I scored 131, while the average for "people like me" is 104. w00t!

I also had to pretend I was 35, so I took your suggestion and took it again with some conservative estimates of what our picture will look like 7 years down the road. With projections (no debt, 3-mo. EF, small house with $30k equity, and some additional retirement money), I came in at 97. Without the projections I was at 54. If everything goes according to plan, I think we'll be over 100 by the time we actually hit age 35.

As an under-30 female, I got the "cute girl." She was alright, I guess. Maybe if I enter myself as a dude I can check out what "Chad" looks like.

I don't like how this questionnaire only took into account "balance sheet" numbers. I think if it included a savings percentage or a how-far-below-your-means-are-you-living factor, it might give a better impression. But those formulas might be really hard.

I'm going back and pretending I'm a young woman -- hopefully I'll get "Christy." ;-)

Kind of frustrating that it doesn't support people under 35. :P Who says it's too early to start saving for retirement? After changing just the age to 35 I ended up with a 171 as my score. Woohoo!

Well, I am only 31 an scored a 170. I didn't listen to the dude that was yacking away. The calculator is decent- but slow. I have my own projections in Excel that show me on my way to retiring early and I will more than likely stick to that. But, it is still a good confirmation.

I had the "pretend I'm 35" thing too.

It didn't like my debt load (and there was NO way to distinguish between low-interest student loan debt and credit card debt), but I still got 200+.

They want me to pay down my debt and own a home. Well, golly gee, so do I!

My score was 175. Some good news on a gray Monday.
My problem with the Nationwide criteria is it didn't ask if I (or my spouse) are contributing to either a 401K type plan at work, and/or an IRA. It asks for current investments, but not expected future contributions. I think for those on this board that are Gen Xers and Yers, such a question is crucial.

Well, I kind of figured I'd be getting Chad when I saw the people briefly in the background at the beginning.

I just added in some savings that would get me to 35, but only at my current savings levels (which should increase as my salary goes up). With that I got to a 200+. It certainly would be more useful to see where I stack up against people under 30.

I picked the "Pretend I'm 35" option, and based upon my current numbers, I got a score of 117. I did not project my future state. I'm happy with 117, although I imagine it will be higher by the time I'm 35, because I'm planning to have my student loan and most other debt gone by then.

I didn't pretend I'm 35 (I'm 24); for me there's just too many variables to consider. My job's not that stable and I'm not sure if I'll be buying a home in the next 10 years. It's impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy what my financial situation will be in 10 years, so I just used current figures. And with my great big $3000 IRA balance... my R-Score is a whopping 51... Indicating I'm in deep trouble.

This'll be fun to try again in a year, though- If I can improve my score by 5 points a year, I'll be up to 100 by the time I'm actually 35.

Hmph, I'm a little disgruntled that I'm only a 59! Ok, to be honest I'm really at the beginning of my savings for retirement so I'll check back in 11 years. It would be nice to see more of a 20-something geared calculator, though.

I had a 133 which is pretty good b/c I am in my twenties & used actual numbers for age 35...Sweet!

I didn't particularly like the talking people - in their effort to be funny, they just annoyed me. And when they didn't need to be there, they annoyed me more by still using up bandwidth. I used the "pretend I'm 35" option, which is dumb, and it told me I had a score of 56. Is there a reason it can't calculate a score for people under 35? And I was also not pleased with its blanket advice to "buy a house" because I said I didn't have one. At least it didn't tell me to get a spouse when I said I wasn't married!

Mine was 160.

I also would have preferred a "text mode" - I don't like computers that try to "chat me up". If I was a "people person", I wouldn't work in the computer business :)

The good thing: it worked well in Firefox.

Being a boomer, I didn't have to fake my age. The actor who came up was a bit younger.

I tried it twice. The first time I gave my current salary and got a score of 150. Next I gave the salary I had a couple of years ago before being promoted, and got a score of 200+. That tells me that they're using a simple minded formula based on age and salary, rather than spending to determine what your net worth should be. Particularly since they didn't ask if I was currently participating in a retirement program and what my current savings rate is.

Didn't think it was worth giving up personal info to enter their sweepstakes.

And I'll base the adequacy of my retirement preparations on my own projects, thank you very much.

Ouch, I got a 44, but I am also under the 35 year old point... I thought it was strange that they didn't distinguish between types of debt, as noted above, but also that they didn't distinguish between Roth and Traditional IRAs. With all of my retirement savings converted to Roth (I'm in grad school, so it's the perfect time to declare that income), there will be a significant difference when I withdraw tax-free in another 40 years.

I am 25 and I tried the pretending to be 35 years-old tool. I got a score of 125. I am happy to know that I am starting early and on the right track because I know a lot of my friends who are about the same age as me do not even have a clue about retirement. Actually the score is much higher than what I expected because I am planning to get marry and I have been putting less in my Roth IRA and my company 457 plan. But I am very lucky that the company that I work for have a great pension plan. I thought this tool is very easy to understand, very user friendly, and very interactive. But on the other hand, I got a little bit tired after hearing the narrator speaks for so long. I think this tool is good for beginner but not in-depth enough for people like me who had read a lot of books about saving for retirement.

Well, after finally getting it to work and pretending that I was 35, I got a 64.

Actually better than I thought it might be. I expected my college loans to kick my bum. But not so bad. And it's getting better every year.

The interface is pretty cool but a little bit slow.

The dude suggests to invest more in IRA.

My score was 144. Not bad..

My score was 102. I am 32 years old, but it didn't tell me to pretend that I was 35. It told me to buy a house. I would like my score to be higher, but I am doing everything I possibly can at this point in my life to save for retirement.

I don't think the calculator is that accurate for me. First, unlike everyone else, there was disclaimer about it being for people over 35. It took my age 30 and ran a calculation as if it was built to do that - maybe they updated it?

Secondly, I just receieved a 25% raise, so my yearly income looks fairly high, but my savings haven't had a chance to catch up. I think they assume I'll need some part of that larger to retire. Unfortunately the test takes 10 minutes to re-run. I wish they'd let me re-run it without all the Flash bits. Though I have to admit watching the girl (yes I pretended to be female to get her) do her impressions is quite humorous.

You'd think that having no debt (excluding mortgage), no car payments, no school loans, and maxing out your retirement every year would get me over the 80 mark. Nope, I scored just a 78. I just re-ran it with my old salary of two weeks ago and I jumped up to 146. I think that's a massive change, but maybe people tend not to get the raises I received.

Great to see so many comments from younger people who are preparing for retirement. I'm 45 yrs old. Score 180. Got the guy who kept talking about his fishing boat. I think that the program makes a lot of assumptions. It didn't ask about contribution percentages for 401k, Roth IRAs etc.

Congrats on the raise Emily.

I too am under 35 (26) and got a score of 89. Not very impressed by the application as it is too simplistic. But for its target audience, it can help people get one eye open if not both...

Did you try the surprise me button under the host/hostess?

Chad told me that it'd be better if I bought a house. Hmm...I never thought of that...

Yes, it was a very simple calculation tool but I thought it was very useful. It gave me a good 'rough' idea where I should be headed. I know I can do better, but was still happy with the results. I am 43 and scored a 145.

Very cheesy marketing tool. I am 37 and scored a 200. Less likely to do business with Nationwide than before. Would prefer a nuts and bolts calculator.

JohnnyW --

That was "Lazy Man and Money" who got the 25% raise. I would have to change jobs to get that kind of raise. Ain't gonna happen at my current company.

-- Emily

135 after adding some years on to my life. The tool is cookie cutter but user friendly and can help those would do not have a handle on their finances.

I just took the retirability test and it showed me a score of 200+. It is a pretty basic test that takes the basics into affect in order to calculate the score. I guess it is looking at it as though if you are already scoring high then you will continue to save and go along the way that you are. If you aren't scoring so high then you will start to look at the ways to start saving or save more. If you didn't think about it then you wouldn't be reading the blogs about finances and investing. Keep up the good work everyone and may we all retire healthy and happy with enough to last us forever!

I got a 117, better than I thought I would do. Cool tool.


166 funny when you press the "Shh" button and the animated guy literally zips his mouth shut.

Love these kinds of tools.

I'm 24, but entered my age as 35 since it wouldn't calculate my score without it.
I ended up scoring 99, so by the time i'm 35, I should definitely be at least 150+ if scored by this tool.

The tool is very slow since it's Flash based. Even clicking on the textboxes with the mouse cursor sometimes took like 15 seconds before it allowed me to type anything.

Did the tool help me in any way as a personal finance savvy person? No. I know what I need to do already and believe i'm ahead of the game for my age group.

I got a 200+ score. Woo hoo. One thing it didn't ask was how much income you're saving (or did I miss it?). Up until this year, I've been a consistent 10%-into-the-401K guy, but I've had to knock that in half this year due to our kitchen remodelling splurge. But I've promised myself to crank it back up after my next review cycle.

Other than that, I wish it had a text-only based version, because I'm impatient. :-)

My score is 85, but I had to pretend I was 35. I'm only 26. I also put in my new income for the hell of it, even though my raise hasn't taken affect yet. Most of that new money is going straight to retirement/savings/mortgage payments.

This is the first time I'm using a tool to compute my retirement outlook, so I can't compare this to any other tool. However, it was quite interesting and I liked the interactivity.

From looking at some of the other comments and my own experience, I think they should consider expanding the age range to include the 20-35 age category so we can get more accurate results. It's obvious that people in this age bracket are interested in retirement plans.

Based on my current situation it was difficult to enter information, and I'm sure it negatively affected score, which was horrendous (54= Deep Trouble):

1) I'm 24

2) I'm still in school with a small student loan and a very modest income that just covers rent and the basics. I input an annual salary that is greater than my current salary, but modest compared to what I expect upon graduation next year. I also said I have no 401k, but when I begin working that will change.

Anyway, I got some feedback from the statistical facts provided. The suggestions they gave me were:

0)Start NOW!!
1) Cut costs
2) Get an IRA

Neat tool though. I definitely have some work to do.

Hot Dog ! I got a 71, I need to up my 401K contribution, I put my spouse does not have a 401K . That must have made it lower.

The tool was very nice. At 41 I scored a 122. It was hard to be unhappy with that.

I scored 145! Very interesting and easy to use, however
very simple and doesn't take into account self-employed /

Love your blog.

Alex H. Wang
REMAX Santa Clara Valley

I'm 35 and I scored 200+, which doesn't surprise me but I think it left out some key things:

1) It doesn't ask about kids. I have two small ones, which my wife will affectionately call "little money-suckers" when the kid-related bills come in. If I had no children and planned to keep it that way, or if I had six under age 10 with twins on the way, my financial outlook would be vastly different.

2) It doesn't ask about whether I'd want my lifestyle (expenses) to go up or down in retirement, assuming I would want the same income (presumably what I reported making now). But chances are my income will keep going up, so by retirement it will not be anything like what it is now. They also didn't ask what age I want to retire--45 and 65 would make a pretty huge difference.

3) It doesn't ask about savings rates. It seems this whole analysis is based on assuming that past performance will equal future results. It does offer recommendations for the future, but none of the questions asked about what I planned to do going forward. For all they know I'm going into the boss tomorrow to quit, cashing out my 401k, and putting it all on "black" at the casino to double my money and retire to Nicaragua. Or less extreme, maybe I'm "on track" so far but I've been racheting up my spending with each raise and am actually spending 110% of my income and plan to keep on with that pattern going forward.

Finally, it mentions it's based on some research from Boston College--I would have appreciated direct links or pointers to that research, to know what this "benchmark" is based on. If you compare this to the "Millionaire Next Door" benchmark for whether or not you're a "wealth accumulator", you'd very likely get different answers, and it all comes down to the assumptions they make and where they set the bar. It seems a lot of these benchmarks are based on national averages, rather than your own goals--I might be doing well compared to the rest of the country, but if I'm not getting where *I* want to be financially, it's not much help to know that most others are doing worse than me.

I was happily surprised that my score was 200+ given that what it seems like I have saved up is meager.

I'm 24 and I took the test a second time plugging in 35 for my age and still got the 200+ score. I plugged in some very conservative numbers for my 401K and savings and still came away with a high score. That was interesting and somewhat puzzling.

It didn't really offer specific areas on where I could improve my investments or savings which was dissapointing. but I'm well ahead of people in my age group so that's good to know. I didn't gain any knowledge but it gave me a very rough idea of what I need to do for retirement.

Mike/others -- Here's a link to the Boston University Center for Retirement Research site. I didn't look for the specific Nationwide study, but if you want to poke around, you may find it.

After pretending I'm 35, I scored a 117. One reason it is lower than I had hoped is because of the higher than average level of debt. I factored in my business debts, which even though are not personal, they are still a responsibility in the event something happened and they needed to be paid off. Over 100 still, not bad considering.

I did find the tool a bit cheesy, and I feel it left some important items out (or behind the scenes it made some very general assumptions). Would have been nice to see how they calculated some of the results. Did they just take your current income and assume an annual increase of around 3%? Did they just assume you'd have X number of kids? What about retirement age? Maybe I missed it, but what year did they assume you were going to retire?

Probably a good tool for some people who really have no clue about planning for retirement, but I found it overall a bit generic.

We are SET!! My wife and I scored 200+ WITHOUT including social security and pensions of which we will both get!

My wife will receive about 30% of her current salary for life and I will receive about 65% of my current salary for life! Since we both work for the Feds, odds are we will get our pensions. That's at age 55 to boot!!

WOOOO HOOOO... Bahamas, here we come!

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