The investor education Fund, a non-profit organization set up by the Ontario Securities Commission to educate investors, has launched two new calculators to help bring the sometimes stratospherically complex notion of saving for retirement down to earth.

The RRSP savings calculator ( and the sheltered investment calculator ( are designed to give financial consumers a better handle on the practical outcome of their savings efforts. Both include sample numbers, along with the opportunity for clients to input their own.

The RRSP savings calculator is designed to help investors plan how much they need to put aside today to reach a desired retirement income tomorrow. Its value, says Investor Education Fund president Terri Williams, is that it offers real-life results. For example, the sample scenario projects that an investor who is 30 years from retirement, who expects to be retired for 25 years, who already has $40,000 in RRSP accounts and who adds another $3,500 a year, will retire with $326,033.18. Specifically, that will translate to almost $21,000 in annual income.

This extension is critical, says Williams, because it’s often confusing for investors to wrap their minds around the big numbers that are bandied about when discussing retirement figures.

“We’re always hearing that we need $1 million at retirement,” she says. “But that’s just too hard for the consumer to understand. People work on a ‘how much per year’ basis. It’s much better to know, if you have $500,000 at retirement, what kind of annual income that will provide. That’s real life.”

The sheltered investment calculator is designed to demonstrate how much a contribution will grow inside an RRSP vs outside. It spells out the tax implications of saving through an RRSP and the additional growth that could be generated if the resulting tax refund was also invested.

Do clients a favour

Both calculators, says Williams, are educational tools designed to raise awareness among investors that their present-day financial decisions have a significant impact on their future. Investment advisors, she says, would do their clients a favour if they introduce them to these new interactive tools.

“We’ve been trying, over the past couple of years, to let financial advisors know that we are available as an educational source for their clients,” she says. “Advisors can use these calculators to show and educate clients about the impact of decisions made now.”

This pair of newly launched calculators joins the existing ranks of Investor Education Fund calculators: a mutual fund fee impact calculator and a “getting back on track” calculator.

“These would be of interest to a lot of people out there,” says Ed Rachynski, a registered financial planner with Dundee Securities Corp. in Calgary, who has long been a fan of financial calculators.

“A lot of people do not want to talk to a financial advisor. They’re skeptical because of the amount of personal information they might have to give. They hear too many horror stories and they worry about trust,” he says. “The calculators allow clients the opportunity not to give out too much information and to do the calculations themselves.” IE