A retirement calculator can help you face the future with peace of mind. Plans change as life moves on — you will acquire new assets, new resources, new debts and new dependents. Retirement calculators are great tools to help you check your progress through all these changes.
Try this calculator as a place to start. All you need to do is fill in your age, your pre-tax income and your current savings to know how much money you will have versus how much you will need to retire. Here are some things to keep in mind when assessing those two numbers:
Consider Your Lifestyle
For a secure retirement, you should consider two things: the type of lifestyle you expect and the how long you want to maintain that lifestyle. Think about how much money it may take to keep the lifestyle you need — will somebody be your dependent? How many years do you expect to live past retirement? Will you scale back your expenses or maintain your current level of spending? Consider supporting your retirement savings with other financial tools to meet these needs.
The 80% Rule
It helps to think of your retirement as a replacement for your income instead of a fixed dollar amount. You should aim to replace 80% of your pre-retirement income. This replacement is a combination of your savings, investments and Social Security. This calculator from the Social Security Administration can help you estimate your benefits.
Living gets more expensive over time. To account for this increase, you should factor in an assumed 3% annual rate of inflation as you plan your savings — yet another reason not to focus on a fixed dollar amount.
Aim to Be Debt-Free
To reduce pressure on your retirement savings, plan to be debt-free when you leave the working world behind. Every dollar stretches further without the worry of mortgages, car payments, credit card debt or student loans. Create a plan with your financial advisor to be debt-free before retirement to lessen the burden on your retirement accounts.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Remember to be flexible in your plans. Take potential accidents into account: if you face a chronic or critical condition during your retirement, you may not have the funds to cope with medical bills and keep up your standard of living. Disability can limit your mobility and require long-term care that gets expensive quickly.
Saving can be stressful, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Protecting your retirement investment means preparing for the unexpected. Check in on your savings often by using a retirement calculator.
Consider additional financial tools to supplement your income stream, like cash value life insurance or annuities. There are a lot of innovative products out there to meet your needs. For more information about these options, discuss your future with your financial advisor.