How much do you need to save for retirement? This can be a difficult question to answer. It’s often an estimate based on a lot of unknowns. That doesn’t make it any less important. Where do you see yourself in retirement? Will your expenses be higher or lower than they are now? Are you planning to travel the world or downsize to the suburbs? There is no right or wrong vision, but you’ll want to have an idea of what that vision means for your savings.
Using the Numbers
Income Replacement. This approach focuses on the percent of your income you’ll need to replace as you live in retirement. Take a look at your current expenses and determine if they will stay the same, go up, go down, or disappear in retirement. Include additional expenses you anticipate in retirement (healthcare costs or hobbies like golf, travel, etc). Then add everything to get a total. That is how much income you’ll need to replace to meet those expenses in retirement. If that’s too much work, a good rule of thumb is to replace 80% of your current income. If you’re making $50,000 per year now, you may need $40,000 per year in retirement. You may need a higher or lower percentage based on your retirement vision.
Percent Contributions. Overwhelmed by income replacement or want a simpler method? Another math focused approach is the percent or pre-tax income you’re contributing to your retirement savings. Most experts recommend a savings goal of 15% of your pre-tax income (including employer contributions). This is a one-size-fits-most approach and is a good guide if you are in the early stages of your savings journey.
Not sure if you’re saving enough? Our Saving for Retirement planner is a simple, quick, tool to see if you’re on track to your retirement goal. The planner allows you to customize your information, add your spouse, and also include additional investments outside your Conrad Siegel account. Make adjustments to Your Retirement Bridge to see the impact small changes can make. Click here view these tools and other participant website capabilities.
Monitor Your Progress
Saving for retirement isn’t a set it and forget it part of life. Circumstances change and retirement needs to change with them – a new job, a baby, additional expenses, unexpected debt, new hobbies. Check your progress regularly and make changes so you can adjust as you go instead of struggling to catch up later.