Retirement Planner Overview
Planning for retirement is not a straightforward process. You can't just add up how much you're setting aside each month and figure out how much you'll have available when you retire. You need to make good estimates of how your investments will perform, what the rate of inflation will be, how much income you'll need each year once you stop working and a host of other factors.
One of the big changes is to plan for uncertainty – how changes in any of your underlying assumptions will affect your retirement finances. You need to be able to explore what affect variations in inflation or rates of return will affect your financial status in retirement, for example. This calculator makes it easy to do that by adjusting those figures and seeing how those changes affect the overall picture.
You can also use it to explore the effects of other changes as well, such as delaying or hastening retirement, earning more or less during your working years, or altering your spending levels during retirement.
This calculator is designed to show you how long your retirement savings can be expected to last, given the inputs you provide. These are displayed on a graph, so you can see how the rate you can expect your assets to decline over time, assuming you're spending them down. Persons who are well-funded or particularly conservative in their spending may even see their assets increase over time.
Using the Retirement Planner
As noted above, this calculator is designed to let you see how long you can expect your retirement savings to last. It can also help you explore what sort of changes you might make to allow your savings to last longer.
To use this tool, enter your information in the boxes given. Most of these should be self-apparent but others may require additional explanation, as follows:
- Annual household income: Use adjusted gross income.
- Annual retirement savings: Include employer contributions as well as your own. Enter percentage of your income going into all retirement savings accounts, including 401(k)s, IRAs, etc.
- Current retirements: Total of everything you have saved toward retirement in all accounts, including all investments.
- Rate of return before retirement: Annual rate of after-tax earnings you expect from your investments.
- Rate of return during retirement: See above
- Income required during retirement: Percentage of annual pre-retirement income you expect to need each year.
For more information, click on the title of each field.
This planner will take all of this information into consideration and create a projection of what your current savings strategy will be able to create. It will also tell you if you will need to save more money in order to meet your retirement goals.
Use the "View Report" button to obtain a summary of your retirement finances, along with a chart showing the anticipated performance of your retirement accounts on a year-by-year basis going forward, including annual account balances, contributions, investment returns, Social Security income and withdrawals.