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Estate Planning

2009 Best List: Retirement Resources

Here are the best web sites to visit before you retire and in retirement.

Retirement-Planning Tool

You don’t have to be a customer to use TD Ameritrade’s free Wealth­Ruler tool to create your own retirement action plan. Estimate the future value of your retirement savings and get ideas on planning strategies and steps you can take to make up for any shortfall.

Social Security Estimates

In less than two minutes, you can calculate your future Social Security benefits based on your actual earnings records at

Rate Your 401(k)


BrightScope rates your company 401(k) plan based on its investment choices and administrative costs, then compares it against similar plans. If you don’t see your employer listed, you can get your 401(k) plan rated for free by downloading publicly available documents.

Best Annuity Source

Find info on lifetime income. To provide income for life, more retirees are buying annuities. lists quotes for most of the top com­panies and shows how much you’d need to invest for a given stream of monthly income. You can also see how payouts compare for annuities that last for your lifetime only, your lifetime and that of a spouse, or for a certain number of years.

Best Reverse-Mortgage Tool


Squeeze cash from your home. Homeowners can calculate how much money they could get from a reverse mortgage in the form of a lump sum, monthly payment or line of credit at The calculator also estimates the cost over the life of the loan.

Best State to Live in When You Retire

Low taxes make Delaware “first”. The First State is first-rate for tax-friendly treatment for retirees. There is no state sales tax, property taxes are generally low, and Social Security benefits are exempt from state income taxes. Plus, residents 60 and older can exclude up to $12,500 a year in retirement income and investment distributions from state taxes.

Best Place to Retire Abroad


If you have a sense of adventure, enjoy a tropical climate and want to stretch your dollars, consider retiring to Panama. You’ll pay no tax on your U.S. income (but you’ll still have to settle up with the IRS each year). If you buy a home, you’ll pay no property taxes for up to 20 years and can import up to $10,000 of household goods tax-free.

Best Retirement Pundit: Henry “Bud” Hebeler

There’s nothing slick or fancy about Hebeler’s Web site, but he will give you the unvarnished truth about how much you need to save and how much you can afford to spend in retirement. You can also e-mail Hebeler with personal questions.