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I Am Apparently Not on the Path to a Comfortable Retirement (Win $50,000)

This article was written by in Uncategorized. 22 comments.

So one of Consumerism Commentary’s new sponsors, Nationwide, has an interactive tool that asks a few questions and determined if you are on the path to a decent retirement. It’s a Flash-based tool with an annoying talking character (who you can mute if he or she starts to annoy you, too). The questions are meant to survey your funds earmarked for retirement as well as your current net worth. Based on your age, Nationwide’s algorithms (based on academic research) will provide you with a score.

A score of 100 supposedly means you’re in good shape if you stay on your current path. That’s not the highest score, though. You can score significantly higher if you are in excellent shape.

Take the quiz and share your score. I scored a 73. These were the survey answers I used which resulted in that score:

Birth year: 1976
Income: $53,000
401(k) balance: $28,000
IRA balance: $15,000
Other investments: $4,300
Savings and checking: $25,000
Debt: $23,000 (student loans and current credit card balance, paid in full each month)
Possible social security
No house
No pension

The score of 73 represents the 73% of my standard of living I will be able to afford in retirement if I continue to proceed as I have so far. I blame the student loans; I had a balance left from my undergraduate studies when I began my graduate work. I didn’t always use my company’s reimbursements to pay off the loan, particularly when cash flow was tight.

From the looks of it, I still have work to do. Therefore, Consumerism Commentary will be online for a long time. My work here is not yet done.

By the way, included in the quiz is a sweepstakes (rules are here) in which you can win $25,000. If you choose to enter (I did not), good luck!

Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published October 23, 2006.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Interesting tool, although I never made it all the way through. I am from Canada and a lot of this is obviously US focused. That being said, I could have probably gone through it an linked up things like the 401k to out RSP.

At the end of the tool, did they have suggestions for how they could help meet your goals? (sorry about the cynicism!)

The Dividend Guy

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Wow! I wish I’d done this well in college–200+ was my score. I guess I’ve always been a saver, made some pretty smart investments along the way too.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

I also got 200+, but I am not sure the true meaning of the score. This is similar to the nest egg score from A. G. Edwards you posted before.

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avatar 4 Luke Landes

Dividend Guy: They did offer suggestions, like reducing credit card debt (not applicable, but the quiz did not differentiate between student loans and credit cards) and buying a house. Of course, they’re pointing people towards working with a financial professional.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I think this is totally bogus. It didn’t ask how much is being contributed to 401(k)s. Seeing as how this will be one of, if not the biggest contributing factor to retirement savings/investment for most people I’d say that’s quite an oversight. There are too many factors that this doesn’t account for.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

This tool is of very limited value. I received a 149, but I have no idea how they came up with that because I was never asked how much money we contribute to IRAs and 401(k)s. Are they implying that we could quit saving now and still retire? If so, then their logic is flawed.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I found the tool of little value as well. I scored a 78 and then realized that perhaps the low score has something to do with a recent raise I got (just about a month ago). So I put my old salary in and my score jumped to 146. It assumed I had been used to the big salary and will need that in retirement.

So while one may think a raise is good as it will allow you to save more for the future, it seems to reflect negatively in this quiz.

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avatar 8 Anonymous

I really think you need to own a home to get a good score. I feel very confident in my financial position, but since I don’t own a home, my score was crap!! I don’t NEED to own a home – my long-term boyfriend/partner owns one, and I live with him. So, all that money goes to savings, but my score came out at 87!

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avatar 9 Anonymous

Got an 89 but I had to assume I was 35. I am actually 26. I think by 35, my score will be well over 100… Was not impressed by it, as it is too simplistic.

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avatar 10 Anonymous

I tried it twice, and got 163 and 161.
Both times I looked at what it said were the numbers I entered. There was NO relationship to what I had entered, NONE!

Print the report, then check the tabs. I recall that one says something like: “what you entered”.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

While it’s an interesting tool I found the talking head condesending and annoying, so it was good I could turn her off! I did like that it wasn’t a spreadsheet though and it did have some useful suggestions for what I could do to save more. Another tool which has the suggestion feature more successfully employed (and the fact that I know the guy who started the website isn’t influencing my opinion at all) is the one at Boulevard R. It’s also user friendly, and is quite useful in the way it starts with what you want to be able to do when you retire and then works backwards from there. As someone just getting started I found this immensely helpful.

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