An Exercise in Retirement Savings
If you are approaching retirement or just beginning to plan for it, you might be interested to learn that you may need 60% to 80% of your current annual income to maintain your current lifestyle in retirement. If that surprises you, youíre certainly not alone. Many variables can affect your retirement savings goals, including where you want to live and the activities you plan to pursue. So, how do you determine the amount you may need for retirement and the amount you need to save each year in order to reach that goal? The worksheet below, which is based on calculations developed by the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) and can help you crunch the numbers.
Consider the hypothetical case of Henry. At age 50, Henry earns $50,000 per year. He estimates that during retirement heíll need 70% of his income ($35,000 per year) to maintain his current standard of living. While he does not have a traditional employer-sponsored pension, he does expect to earn $5,000 annually as a part-time writer. He also estimates that heíll receive $14,500 annually from Social Security. Now, letís take a look at your situation:
1. Required Income. How much money will you need per year in order to maintain your current lifestyle? Enter 70% of your current annual income as a minimum.
2. Social Security. Project the amount you expect to receive from Social Security. You can calculate an estimate of your future benefits online at www.ssa.gov, the Social Security Administrationís website. If you are married and earn less than your spouse, enter the greater of either your own benefit or 50% of your spouseís benefit.
3. Traditional Employer Pension. Enter the amount you expect to receive from your employer-sponsored pension plan.
4. Earned Income. Enter your estimated annual part-time income.
5. Retirement Shortfall. Subtract lines 2, 3, and 4 from line 1. This is an estimate of the amount of money youíll need each year to supplement the above sources of income.
Now that youíve determined an estimate of what youíll need in retirement, as well as your shortfall, itís time to figure out how much youíll need to save to close the gap. Assuming a 3% constant real rate of return after inflation, a life expectancy of age 87, and Social Security benefits beginning at age 65, the following calculations can help you estimate the total amount youíll need for retirement. Note: These calculations do not represent the performance of any particular savings vehicle, and they are for illustrative purposes only.
For comparison purposes, letís return to Henry. He plans to retire in 15 years, at age 65, and has managed to save $45,000. Based on his income requirements and his financial resources, Henry will need to save an additional $254,200 by retirement, or $9,474.40 per year.
6. To estimate how much you need to save, multiply line 5 (the amount of your retirement shortfall) by the appropriate factor:*
Anticipated retirement age: 55 Multiply by: 21.0
7. Enter the current total of your savings, including any funds in retirement plans such as a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
8. Multiply line 7 by the appropriate factor:*
Retiring in: 10 years Multiply by: 1.3
9. Subtract line 8 from line 6 to find the estimated amount of savings needed at retirement.
10. To estimate the amount you need to save each year, multiply line 9 by the appropriate factor:*
Retiring in: 10 years Multiply by: .085
This worksheet is intended to be used as a starting point to estimate what you will need to save for retirement. For specific guidance, consult a financial professional.
Your retirement may be years away or right around the corner, but either way, even small steps can bring you closer to your goals. Determining the amount you need to save each year in order to reach them is an important step in retirement planning.
Your Figures Henryís Figures
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