by Rodney Brooks
We all know that planning for retirement is no easy task: Whatever information we can get to help is welcome.
There are literally thousands of websites tasked with helping Baby Boomers slide gracefully into retirement. A big part of the difficulty in planning for retirement is figuring out exactly where to go to get the best news and information.
Retirement HQ is here to help. We have picked six great retirement-related websites that you need to know about. They offer everything from retirement news and views to retirement lifestyle features and help applying for your Social Security benefits. Many also offer retirement calculators to help you figure out if you are financially ready to retire.
Here they are, in no particular order.
- Next Avenue (www.nextavenue.org) promotes itself as public media’s first and only national service for America’s booming 50+ population. Launched by PBS, the website offers original and aggregated journalism (from PBS stations) for Baby Boomers. It is also the first venture ever offered by PBS that began on the Internet rather than on broadcast television. It was conceived and developed at Twin Cities Public Television.
Why it makes the list: It’s a very well-designed site (as you would expect from a PBS product) and offers a great mix of topics of interest to Baby Boomers: Health and Well Being, Money and Security, Work & Purpose, Living & Learning and Caregiving. It is packed with information.
The stories are both well-written and informative. Recent articles included a feature on Janis Joplin pegged to the 45-year anniversary of her biggest hit LP, Pearl. Other stories: How March Madness can help your career; Soaring rents could ruin your retirement plan and Tax rules for caregivers.
- AARP (www.aarp.org). Virtually everyone in America gets an invitation to join AARP in the year of their 50th birthday. But you don’t have to be a member to take advantage of this site. They do, however, have some members-only features.
Why it makes the list: It has to be one of the most extensive websites for Baby Boomers on the internet. It has everything from membership discounts for Amazon Kindle e-books to free doughnuts from Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Also featuring retirement calculators, news stories, health, aging and, of course, retirement.
Recent features included Saving for the future: Will you have enough money to live the life you want; The ins and outs of online banking; Tidy up your finances, Downsizing: Ditch these 12 Items and Time management for the caregiver.
- Social Security (www.socialsecurity.gov). This is the official site of the Social Security Administration. It is a site for everyone, not just Baby Boomers. First and foremost it helps guide you through the complicated process of applying for Social Security. Make sure you click the my Social Security tab, which lets you check your salary history, manage benefits and change information, such as home address.
Why it makes the list. So many people are intimidated by Social Security. This site has everything you might need to know about benefits, and may help you with your decisions. It also offers a retirement estimator and frequently asked questions. There are online forms and a benefit planner. And look for news that affects your benefits.
- Kiplinger Retirement (www.kiplinger.com). Go to the Kiplinger.com site and click the retirement tab. Most people know Kiplinger as a very good personal finance magazine. This site uses resources from the magazine, but also has a dedicated staff. The retirement stories are especially good and detailed, with content is from both financial journalists and financial experts.
Why it makes the list. It’s a top-notch site and super informative. It covers every retirement topic you can think of, with a slant towards the financial aspects. Recent features include a special report on Social Security, including video and a Social Security quiz; the surprising costs of downsizing your home; 5 costly retirement surprises; and Variable annuities: guaranteed income with a catch.
- Where to Retire, the authority on retirement relocation. (www.wheretoretire.com). This site is brought to you by the people who publish Where to Retire Magazine, a very good glossy magazine that does in depth features giving readers information to help them make a decision on where they will spend their golden years.
Why it makes the list. The magazine is an incredible resource for couples looking to retire to someplace new and interesting. The writing is top-notch and the art and photography are also excellent. Look for their book (offered for sale) on The 100 best places to retire. Also, check out the tab for free retirement relocation information.
- Encore (www.encore.org). This site helps guide you through your “encore” or second-act career. Though the site, and the organization, are heavily focused on connecting people to non-profit organizations, that’s not the only focus. It also helps connects people looking for second-act careers to small businesses that need the help.
Why it makes the list. In an era when there is so much turmoil in the workforce, especially for Baby Boomers who are being forced, in many cases, to retire before they are ready, this site offers valuable alternatives. Encore also offers fellowships to match skilled, seasoned professionals with social purpose organizations. Both organizations seeking help and professionals seeking a purpose can apply for those fellowships. There is also news and resource guides to help people make that transition. Check it out.
These websites are owned and managed by third parties and the information is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed by RHQ.
Rodney Brooks (@perfiguy on Twitter) is the former personal finance editor and columnist for USA TODAY.