The Vanguard Group
is rolling out its retirement income planning service to customers through its Website. The service, on which the 401kWire.com first reported in May, is seen as a shot back at a similar service unveiled by Fidelity last year.
Many fund firms with prominent retirement businesses see helping customers manage the drawdown of their assets through their retirement years as a last frontier for growth. By becoming the advisor to those investors, the firm would theoretically be able to exercise control over the investor's entire asset base and retain the assets it has garnered from the client.
Vanguard insiders had been hoping to roll out the complete product in 2006.
The service announced today includes a number of tools available through Vanguard.com that assist near-retirees and retirees with their end stage retirement planning. Vanguard CIO Tim Buckley said that the tools are intended to address withdrawal strategies, plan distribution options, Social Security, and health care.
"The new tools and content on our website address these key issues," said Buckley. "They'll guide retirees and near-retirees with important financial decisions regarding their retirement years."
The four tools include a required minimum distributions calculator, a calculator that shows how investment costs affect retirement spending, and a calculator that helps investors determine how much they can withdraw from their accounts without jeopardizing their retirement income. Vanguard also is offering a tool that helps investors select a withdrawal method from their IRA or DC plan account.
Vanguard is also publishing brochures that explain issues that retirees may face concerning Social Security, health care, retirement plan distribution, and income annuities.
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