Retirement Planning And Inflation
Inflation is the rising cost of consumer goods and services. In Canada it’s calculated using the consumer price index . TheCPI tracks how the price of more than 600 consumer goods and services purchased by Canadians changes over time.
In recent years, the average rate of inflation in Canada has been 2% per year. This means the cost of goods and services has been rising by 2% every year.
A More Aggressive Formula
Another, more aggressive formula holds that you should save 25% of your gross salary each year, starting in your 20s. The 25% savings figure may sound daunting. But don’t forget that it includes not only 401 holdings and matching contributions from your employer, but also other types of retirement savings.
If you follow this formula, it should allow you to accumulate your full annual salary by age 30. Continuing at the same average savings rate should yield the following:
- Age 35two times annual salary
- Age 40three times annual salary
- Age 45four times annual salary
- Age 50five times annual salary
- Age 55six times annual salary
- Age 60seven times annual salary
- Age 65eight times annual salary
Whether or not you try to follow the 15% or the 25% savings guideline, chances are your actual ability to save will be affected by life events such as the job loss many experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Save Enough To Support Your Best Choices
As you look forward to retirement, the money you’ve spent a lifetime saving will fund your vision for what the coming years bring. You still have time to save more, adjust your plans and cultivate new opportunities. As you go, don’t overlook the value of good credit. Retirement isn’t a great time to spend wildly or take on excess debt. But having access to the flexibility of credit cards, low-interest home and auto loans, good scores for rental applicationsthe list goes onwill expand your choices as you age. Check your credit report and score or that will help you track your credit into the future.
At 60, you have many choices ahead. With good stewardship and planning, they can be some of the best choices of your life.
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Impact Of Inflation On The Cost Of Goods And Services
When saving for retirement, keep in mind that goods and services will cost more in the future. You can predict how much more goods and services may cost by looking at rates of inflation in past years.
Figure 1: How much a $100 item increases in cost over time because of inflation
Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator. The average rate of inflation in Canada between the year 2000 and 2014 was 2.00%.
Rule : Desired Annual Retirement Income X 25
This rule follows the 4% withdrawal rate rule. They are pretty much the same, but this is easier to calculate for those who would rather not dabble in fractional math. It infers that in order to meet your income needs in retirement, you want to have at least 25 x your desired annual retirement income.
For example, say you estimate that your expenses per year in retirement are $40,000. You would be expected to save up a minimum of $1 million in retirement savings.
â $40,000 x 25 = $1,000,000
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The Four Percent Rule And Economic Crises
Actually, the Four Percent Rule may be a little on the conservative side. According to Michael Kitces, an investment planner, it was developed to take into account the worst economic situations, such as 1929, and has held up well for those who retired during the two most recent financial crises. Kitces points out:
The 2000 retiree is merely “in line” with the 1929 retiree, and doing better than the rest. And the 2008 retireeeven having started with the global financial crisis out of the gateis already doing far better than any of these historical scenarios! In other words, while the tech crash and especially the global financial crisis were scary, they still havent been the kind of scenarios that spell outright doom for the Four Percent Rule.
This is, of course, not a reason to go beyond it. Safety is a key element for retirees, even if following it may leave those who retire in calmer economic times “with a huge amount of money left over,” Kitces notes, adding that “in general, a 4% withdrawal rate is really quite modest relative to the long-term historical average return of almost 8% on a balanced portfolio!”
How Much Money Do You Need To Retire Comfortably At Age 65
Granted, perhaps you do not intend to retire, but even if thats the case, its better to have a plan in just case you change your mind along the way, or you simply have to due to some unforeseen circumstance.
Well, it depends on four main factors. Your lifestyle goals, your current income, savings and investments, and your health.
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Understanding The Four Percent Rule
The Four Percent Rule helps financial planners and retirees set a portfolio’s withdrawal rate. Life expectancy plays an important role in determining if this rate will be sustainable, as retirees who live longer need their portfolios to last longer, and medical costs and other expenses can increase as retirees age.
Saving For Retirement Is Different For Everyone
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to saving for retirement. Everyone’s needs will be different, and so will their approach to saving, including when they start and how much they can set aside each year. Consulting with a certified financial planner or other retirement expert is really the best way to understand your unique needs.
“Planning ahead and checking in on your efforts” is key to saving enough for the retirement years, Ludwick says.”It’s dangerous when you’re 75 and realize you’re running out of money and you have to move in with a younger sibling or something.”
His advice? “If you want to stay independent, do your homework ahead of time. Think about all those things that could possibly happen. If they don’t happen, you’re lucky and your kids and grandkids can have a nice gift that you leave behind.”
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Finding Your Social Security Full Retirement Age
Before 1983, the full retirement age was 65, but it has since changed. Congress raised it because people were living longer and getting healthier as they age.
If you were born in 1960 or later, the retirement age is 67 years old. However, if you were born before 1960, use this tool from the Social Security Administration to find out when you can celebrate and start cashing out.
Calculate What Your Savings Will Cover When You’re Retired
Understanding what you expect retirement to look like will help determine how much you’ll need in order to fund that lifestyle. If you plan to travel the world in luxury, your budget will be a bit different than someone who just wants to birdwatch from the backyard each morning.
In retirement, your savings will cover many of the same expenses that you had prior to retirement. These include, to name a few:
If you don’t plan for any of these categories to change much from pre- to post-retirement, then you should have a good idea of your budget. However, if you have big plans for your retirement years, it’ll be important to determine how much your new standard of living will cost.
Quick tip: More and more seniors are going into retirement with lingering home mortgage expenses. If your home will not be paid off by retirement, be sure to account for this monthly expense in your savings.
Also be sure to account for unexpected expenses that could come up, such as medical care for you and your spouse, or even helping a child or grandchild financially.
Next, consider where you plan to live. You may want to downsize, or you might plan to buy your dream retirement home. Either way, be sure to factor in all those costs.
Note: The average age of retirement has risen steadily in recent years, from 62 to 64 for men and from 60 to 62 for women.
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Saving For Retirement In Your 60s
Retirement is around the corner in your 60s, and the times almost come to enjoy the money youve worked so hard to save. Consider shifting to capital preservation and income-generating investment strategies. These fixed income investments tend to be stable bonds or fixed annuities aimed to keep the money youve saved over the years safe.
As youll most likely be entering the last of your full-time working years, youll want to keep saving as aggressively as you can.
Emergency fund: Consider upping your cash savings to one years worth of living expenses, so you have more cash on hand for things like medical expenses.
Additional savings: Review your risk tolerance and investment strategy with an eye toward capital preservation. Financial advisors may be particularly helpful now in helping you figure out how to handle the asset allocation of your retirement funds.
Educational savings: If you have children still in college or grandchildren whose college youd like to help out with, you can continue contributions to 529 accounts.
Retirement savings: Make sure youre contributing as much as you can before you retire. By the time you turn 67, you should have 10 times your annual salary in retirement savings.
Catch-up tips: Even after retirement, there are always part-time jobs that can supplement your income as you adjust to living on your savings and Social Security income.
% Retirement Savings Rate
Lets assume that Beth, a 30-year-old, makes $40,000 a year and expects 3.8% raises until retirement at age 67. Further, with a diversified portfolio of stock and bond mutual funds, Beth expects a return of 6% annually on her retirement contributions.
With a 5% savings rate throughout her working life, Beth will have saved $423,754 by age 67. If she needs 85% of her pre-retirement income to live on and also receives Social Security, then her 5% retirement savings are significantly short of the mark.
To match 85% of her pre-retirement income in retirement, Beth needs $1.3 million at age 67. A 5% savings rate doesn’t place her savings at even 50% of the funds she’ll need. Clearly, a 5% retirement savings rate isnt enough.
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How To Get Retirement Ready
Open a retirement account. If you have access to a GRSP, you should at the very least contribute the amount of money your employer is willing to match. You should also open a RRSP if you don’t already have one. A RRSP is one of the most popular ways to save for retirement in Canada and it comes with nice tax benefits. Learn more about RRSPs and GRSPs.
Avoid paying high fees. Fees are like savings termites they’ll chew right through your savings. When you invest with Wealthsimple, we charge a 0.5% management fees when you invest up to $100,000 and 0.4% when you deposit more than $100,000. That’s significantly less than the 2% fees paid by traditional mutual fund investors in Canada.
Make smart moves. Begin saving for retirement as early as you can and take advantage of the power of compounding. Create a budget that includes retirement savings, learn how investing works, discover smart retirement strategies and understand what it takes to retire early.
Four: Allow For Depreciation
Some big-ticket expenses only show up once in a blue moon. They can too easily be overlooked in the steps above.
Hopefully your retirement will last for decades, so your income needs to account for replacing items like the car, boiler, TV, and white goods.
Theres house maintenance, too.
You can estimate an annual allowance to cover these costs. Applying depreciation to the stuff you own is one way to do it.
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Spending From Your Assets
To close the gap between the income you need and the income you have, youll need to spend from your assets.
Live Off the Earnings?
Some people imagine retirement as a time when they live off the income from their savings. But for most people, thats not a reality. Especially if you plan to retire with $500k in assets, you , will probably need to spend down your assets. Thats because interest rates are relatively low, and most retirees prefer to avoid taking major risks with their life savings.
To save enough to avoid spending from your principal, you might need to continue working longerwhich isnt always an option. The other option is to save so much of your income that its hard to enjoy yourself and make memories during your working years. Thats probably not very appealing, either.
A Safe Withdrawal Rate?
Its critical to make your money last. You dont want to run out of savings before you die, as youd need to make unwelcome sacrifices at a time in life when youre vulnerable. So, how much is safe to spend? One rule of thumb suggests that you can spend 4% of your savings per year. The success of that strategy depends on several factors , and the topic is constantly debated. Still, the 4% rule can be helpful as a starting point for learning where you stand.
Tip: If you want to be safe, use a lower number, such as 3%. Recent studies suggested a 3.3% rate might be appropriate when interest rates are low and markets are near all-time highs.
How Much You Should Save By Age 60
Just how much should you have saved by 60? The answer is completely personaland a source of some anxiety for many non-retirees in their 60s. In a 2020 Federal Reserve Board of Governors survey released in May 2021, 87% of non-retirees in their 60s had at least some retirement savings, but only 48% felt as though those savings were on track.
According to guidelines created by investment firm Fidelity, at age 60 you should have saved roughly eight times your annual salary if you plan to retire at age 67, the age at which people born after 1960 can collect full Social Security benefits. To better understand how this estimate plays out in real dollars, let’s consider a hypothetical example.
To keep the math simple, let’s say your current salary is $100,000 a year. According to Fidelity guidelines, you should have $800,000 saved up now and $1 million by 67. How do you get from $800,000 to $1 million?
- If you set aside 15% of your income, you’ll save $105,000 in seven years for a total of $905,000. A good start, but this doesn’t get you to your goal.
- Invest your money with an average return of 4% and no additional contributions, and you’ll have just over $1.05 million at 67.
- Contribute 15% and earn a conservative 1.5% annually: You’ll reach $999,000+ in seven years.
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What Happens If The Numbers Dont Seem Achievable
If you do the calculations and find that the savings number seems unreachable, you should review your alternatives. Figuring out how to save more or work longer are two obvious options. But you should also review retirement spending goals. Many people think they need to spend more in retirement than they really do. That, in turn, can cause them to work longer than they might like. In many cases, however, you can make a moderate savings goal work at a younger retirement age by being creative and flexible in coming up with a still-fulfilling retirement lifestyle on a more moderate budget.
David Aston, CFA, CPA, MA, is the author of the Sleep-Easy Retirement Guide, which is available online and in bookstores across Canada. This column is an edited excerpt from the book. Further details are explained in the book.
How Much Savings Will You Need To Retire
Now let’s determine how much savings you’ll need to retire. After you’ve figured out how much income you’ll need to generate from your savings, the next step is to calculate how large your retirement nest egg needs to be in order to be able to produce this much income in perpetuity.
A retirement calculator is one option, or you can use the “4% rule.” While the 4% rule admittedly has its flaws, it’s a good starting point for determining a safe annual withdrawal amount.
The 4% rule says that, in your first year of retirement, you can withdraw 4% of your retirement savings. So, if you have $1 million saved, you would take $40,000 out during your first retired year either in a lump sum or as a series of payments. In subsequent years of retirement, you would adjust this amount upward to keep up with cost-of-living increases.
The most important consideration in deciding 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.
The idea is that, if you follow this rule, you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of money in retirement. Specifically, the 4% rule is designed to make sure your money has a high probability of lasting for a minimum of 30 years.
To calculate a retirement savings target based on the 4% rule, you use the following formula:
Retirement savings target = Annual income required x 25
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How Long Should I Expect My Retirement To Last
Its not a question anyone likes to address, but thinking about how long your retirement will last is another crucial factor towards hitting your goal. Did your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents all live to be over 90 years old? Then you might want to plan on a little longer retirement if youre in good health.
Its also important to understand the role that Social Security plays as part of your post-retirement income. If youre interested in seeing what you can expect to draw when you retire, the Social Security Administration has a number of calculators to help you figure out your potential benefits.
While knowing the exact amount of years youll need to fund during your retirement is impossible, you can make a fairly good educated guess with a little research. Here is what popular investment firms and resources suggest.