It’s Not About Money It’s About Income
One important point when it comes to determining your retirement“number” is that it isn’t about deciding on a certain amount of savings. For example, the most common retirement goal among Americans is a $1 million nest egg. But this is faulty logic.
The most important factor in determining how much you need to retire is whether you’ll have enough money to create the income you need to support your desired quality of life after you retire.
Will a $1 million savings balance allow you to create enough income forever? Maybe, but maybe not. That’s what we’re going to determine in this article.
How To Calculate Retirement Savings
In addition to using the above methods to determine what you should have saved and by what age, online calculators can be a useful tool to help you reach your retirement savings goals. For example, they can help you understand how changing savings and withdrawal rates can impact your retirement nest egg.
Although there are many online retirement savings calculators to choose from, some are much better than others. The T. Rowe Price Retirement Income Calculator and MaxiFi ESPlanner are two worth trying.
How Can I Save More For Retirement
When it comes to saving for retirement, the first step is picking the best retirement account. If youre already saving in a retirement account, make sure youre contributing enough to get your employers full matching contribution and then put your contributions on autopilot.
These strategies have been proven to help people save more for retirement, but dont stop there. Make a plan to gradually boost the amount you contribute each year, preferably each time you receive a raise. For more, see our guide on how to save for retirement.
Also Check: How Much To Retire In San Diego
Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most how to save for retirement, understanding the types of accounts, how to choose investments and more so you can feel confident when planning for your future.
Retirement Savings In Your 40s
At age 40, you should have saved three times your annual salary, and this increases to 4× your income just about the time you hit that age that defines mid-life or midlife crisis.
Not to scare you, but if you are not yet saving at this point, you will need to double up. Investment timeframe is no longer your friend.
Continue to invest. Ensure you are not paying too much in investment fees. If you have a self-managed portfolio, ensure it is rebalanced at least 1-2 times each year.
A robo-advisor like Wealthsimple can save you the hassle of rebalancing and it offers free financial advice at a low cost.
You can compare robo-advisors in Canada.
Keep tabs on your emergency fund. It should hold 3-6 months worth of expenses and will need revisiting as your circumstances change.
Your 40s is a good time to increase your savings rate. Consider putting aside salary increases, bonuses, etc.
Recommended Reading: Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement
How To Start Saving For Retirement
Start a habit of saving a portion of your pay from every paycheque if you can afford it. The earlier you start saving, the longer your money can earn interest and grow.
To reach your savings goals, learn about:
Using automatic payments and deposits can be a good way to save money. Contact your financial institution to have a set amount of your pay automatically deposited into a savings account. Consider increasing the amount of the automatic payments or deposits as your pay increases.
Consider Common Rules Of Thumb
According to the 2021 Employee Benefit Research Institutes retirement confidence survey, 7 in 10 workers are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, but 1 in 3 workers say the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their ability to save for retirement. If you need to adjust your retirement plan because of a job loss or other financial burden, it may be a good idea to keep some financial rules of thumb in mind.
The one used most often is the 80% rule, which says you should aim to replace 80% of your preretirement income. This is a loose rule: Some people suggest skewing toward 70% some think its better to aim for a more conservative 90%.
To figure out where you land, consider what percentage of your income youre saving for retirement. Youll no longer have to do that once you cross the hypothetical finish line, which means if youre saving 15% now, you could easily live on 85% of your income without adjusting expenses. Add in Social Security, cut payroll taxes which eat 7.65% of your income while youre working and you can probably adjust that income down even further.
» Learn more: Everything you need to know about how to save for retirement
The best way to use a rule of thumb like this is as a gut check against the more tailored approach of taking a deep dive into your expenses. Are you way off the standard advice or pretty close? But it can also be used as a starting point of its own, from where you can wiggle the numbers.
Also Check: Loans For Retired Federal Employees
What To Consider When Saving For Retirement
Not to worry, if you don’t have enough retirement savings for your age group, there are steps you can take to start saving now. Guidelines can be convenient for planning purposes, but the reality of saving for retirement will change substantially from person to person.
For example, if your spouse is 10 years older than you are, you may stop working full time sooner so you can join them in retirement. If your spouse doesn’t earn income from work, you may need to save more to ensure a comfortable retirement for both of you. You may be in good health and enjoy working, which could mean you’ll retire later than the typical retirement age of 67. Or you may plan to substantially reduce or increase your standard of living in retirement, which affects the amount you should save now.
Many factors, including your health, the strength of the economy and your employment situation, are largely out of your control. That means you can do your best to save and still feel behind compared with where you’d prefer to be. However, it’s possible to increase your savings rate if necessary, and to get help from experts if you need it, such as a financial planner or a nonprofit credit counselor.
How Much Do You Need To Retire
No matter how young you are, its important to plan for your future – youll be glad that you did.
Its hard to know exactly how much youll need in later life because everyone has different circumstances and different expectations.
But by planning how much youll need, and working out how best to build up your pension pot, you’ll be in a great position to live your best life in later life.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Dental Insurance For Retirees
Just Getting Started Save What You Can
If retirement is decades away, setting a specific goal amount is probably unnecessary. For now, focus on:
Average retirement savings by age
Source: Vanguard, How America Saves 2018. This study examined employer retirement plans managed by Vanguard. Amounts reflect the average balance per account.
Consider How Inflation Will Affect Your Savings
Inflation is the rising cost of consumer goods and services. It’s measured by the Consumer Price Index . The CPI measures changes in the price of about 600 consumer goods and services over time.
You can look at the impact of inflation in two ways:
- it will increase the cost of goods and services you buy
- it will reduce the buying power of your savings over time
For example, a $100 purchase in the year 2006 costs approximately $118 is 2016.
You May Like: Retired At 62 How Much Can I Earn
Calculate The Cost Of Your Retirement
Most people will need 60% to 80% of their current income to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Someone with an income of $55,000 will therefore have to rely on around $38,500, since they will have fewer expenses and will pay less in tax and contributions. However, their annual expenses will vary during retirement, while activities and travel in the early years will gradually give way to expenses for comfort and health care.
Save Enough To Cover 80 Percent Of Your Pre
Another common rule of thumb for retirement savings is to aim to save enough to cover about 80 percent of your pre-retirement annual income.
That means if you earn $100,000, you should aim to save $80,000 for each year of your retirement. If you plan to retire at age 70 and are planning for 20 years of retirement, youll need to save $1.6 million by then. Social Security can be included in this total though, too. So, lets say you expect to be paid $14,000 each year during retirement. That will total $288,000 over 20 years. So the total youd need to reach through saving and investing is reduced to $1.31 million.
These rules of thumb can offer general guidance, but its helpful to consider your personal circumstances and goals. You can use an online retirement savings calculator to determine how much you should aim to set aside annually to reach the retirement savings target you want.
Also Check: Sun City Retirement Community Florida
Percentage Of Your Salary
To begin to figure out how much you need to accumulate at various stages of your life, it can be useful to think in terms of saving a percentage of your salary.
Fidelity Investments suggests saving 15% of your gross salary starting in your 20s and lasting throughout the course of your working life. This includes savings across different retirement accounts and any employer contributions if you have access to a 401 or another employer-sponsored plan.
Use A Retirement Calculator
As you can see, how much money you need for retirement can be tough to assess. Use Bankrates retirement calculator to include your individual circumstances so that you can better understand how your savings looks now and what you can do to improve your chances of a comfortable retirement. Be smart about your savings strategy so that when you stop working, you can really start living.
Lets Start With Retirement
A comfortable, secure retirement is the biggest financial challenge most of us will ever face, so its smart to put it at the top of your priorities.
The following guidelines are not absolute, but they can give you a reasonable estimate of what it takes to prepare for retirement. As you can see, the earlier you start, the smaller the bite:
- If you’re getting started in your 20s, save 10-15 percent of your pre-tax income.
- If youre getting started in your 30s, save 15-20 percent of your pre-tax income.
- If you’re starting to save in your early 40s, save 25-35 percent of your pre-tax incomea pretty meaningful chunk of your income.
- If you start later, the percentages add up quickly. So save as much as possible, and consider other strategies, such as retiring later, to manage retirement.
The real beauty of these guidelines is that the percentages won’t change as you get older. If you’re 30 and can save 15-20 percent of your income for retirement, you probably won’t need to save more than 15-20 percent as you age. Starting early is a huge advantage, provided that you remain consistent throughout your working life.
Dont get me wrong. I understand that saving 15 percent of your pre-tax income when you’re 25, or 20 percent of your income when youre 30, is toughespecially when youre trying to pay off student loans or manage other financial obligations. But the numbers don’t lieretirement is a hugely expensive challenge, and the earlier you start preparing for it, the better.
Tips On Where To Save For Retirement
- A financial advisor can help you save for retirement. SmartAsset helps you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and we match you with up to three advisors in your area, all fully vetted and free of disclosures. You talk to each advisor before making a choice about how to go ahead.
- A 401 takes pre-tax dollars and allows them to grow tax-free. You can only contribute to a 410 through an employer and some employers will offer a match. Thats where your employer contributes a certain percentage to your account based on how much you contribute. There is usually a limit to how much your employer will match, but even an extra thousand dollars can really help you. This free 401 calculator will show you how money in a 401 can grow between now and when you retire.
- You can also save without going through an employer. Thats where an individual retirement account comes in. An IRA offers the same tax benefits as a 401 but you can open and maintain an account no matter where you work. Its important to keep in mind that IRA contribution limits are not as high as 401 limits.
Recommended Reading: Retired Federal Employee Health Insurance And Medicare
Retirement Savings In Your 30s
Based on Fidelitys rule of thumb, you should have at least your annual salary saved by age 30, and two times by age 35.
The reality is that your 30s are probably going to be one of the most challenging times in your life to save for retirement.
You may be thinking about buying a home, getting married, paying off debt, having children, and more. While you are busy catching up with life, beginning to invest for retirement is crucial at this stage.
The retirement clock is ticking and you cannot afford to squander the time you still have on your side. Max out employer pension plans and pay attention to TFSA and RRSP contributions.
If you dont have funds to contribute to both registered accounts, there may be merit to choosing one over the other.
Accelerate debt repayment and find ways to increase your income.
How Much To Save For Retirement
According to Fidelity, you should be saving at least 15% of your pre-tax salary for retirement. Fidelity isnt alone in this belief: Most financial advisors also recommend a similar pace for retirement savings, and this figure is backed by studies from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
For many people, however, saving for retirement isnt as simple as setting aside 15% of their salary.
The 15% rule of thumb takes a couple factors for grantednamely, that you begin saving pretty early in life. To retire comfortably by following the 15% rule, youd need to get started at age 25 if you wanted to retire by 62, or at age 35 if you wanted to retire by 65.
It also assumes that you need an annual income in retirement equivalent to 55% to 80% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably. Depending on your spending habits and medical expenses, more or less may be necessary. But 55% to 80% is a good estimate for many people.
Finally, the 15% rule wont provide you with a nest egg that supplies all of your retirement income. Youll most likely derive part of your retirement income from Social Security, for example. All in all, the 15% estimate should provide you with steady retirement income that lasts into your early 90s, at a rate of around 45% of your pre-retirement income.
Don’t Miss: Can You Use Life Insurance For Retirement
The Impact Of Time On Retirement Savings
Time is your most powerful ally for retirement savings. Small amounts invested early in your career can grow substantially larger than even big amounts invested later in life.
Lets face it, most Americans cant afford to set aside a full 15% of their income for retirement. But dont let that discourage you. Investing any amount for retirement positions you to benefit from compounding as soon as possible.
Consider two hypothetical investors. Investor A starts investing $100 a month at 25. By age 65, they would have a retirement balance greater than $640,000, assuming annual returns of 10%, which is the average return of the S& P 500 over the long term.
Meanwhile, Investor B waited until 35 to start saving, but invested $200 a month. Investor B would have almost $200,000 less in their retirement balance by age 65, despite contributing almost $25,000 more.
The difference between Investor A and Investor B illustrates the power of time and compounding when understanding investment returns. A difference of just 10 years can dramatically impact potential returns earned by your investments.
More importantly, it also shows that you can still achieve very significant returns even if you cant start investing quite as early in your life. In the second scenario, Investor B only contributed $72,000 of their own money, starting at age 35. From that, they earned almost $380,000 in investment returns.