Preparing your finances for retirement can be overwhelming, but there's a wealth of information online to help make it easier.
With many of the Web sites, you will need to create a username and password to gain access. (They also stress how secure they are since they will require you to enter personal financial information.)
There are tons of free sites that allow users to track their income and expenses, sort of like how an online bank account works. But some of these sites emphasize ways to save money and budget - keys to ensuring a strong retirement nest egg.
A popular one is Mint.com, which has a reported 1 million users.
You can keep track of how much you spend and what your spending habits are like. You also can see how your spending compares with users in your area.
Trying to create an actual financial plan? ESPlannerBASIC - basic.esplanner.com - was developed by a professor of economics at Boston University and dispenses spending advice. Be prepared to have your financial data (such as assets and earnings) readily available since filling in the information can take awhile.
The Web site Voyant planwithvoyant.com is similar and also gives users real-life scenarios (disability, death) when planning for your family's future.
Some sites, such as Wesabe.com and Geezeo.com, include social-networking features for users to ask questions and interact with other "community" members for advice. Both sites allow you to upload or insert your bank account info and credit card bills to analyze your financial portfolio.
You can create a profile and share stock tips with other investors on Socialpicks.com.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has a "fund analyzer" that offers information and analysis on more than 18,000 mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds and Exchange Traded Notes. You can find out how much your current investment in a particular fund is estimated to be worth as many as 20 years down the line at the Web site:
Retirement calculators help determine how much you will need to spend in retirement and whether you will even have enough money to last you through your golden years.
Investor T. Rowe Price has a calculator program available at
http://www3.troweprice.com/ric/ric/public/ric.do." target= "_blank">www3.troweprice.com/ric/ric/public/ric.do.
Fidelity Investments has a simple, easy-to-use retirement calculator at
E-mail Erik Ortiz: