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How much retirement income will I need?
An easy rule of thumb is that you’ll need to replace 70 to 90 percent of your
pre-retirement income. If you’re making $50,000 a year (before taxes), you might
need $35,000 to $45,000 a year in retirement income to enjoy the same standard
of living you had before retirement.
Think of this as your annual “cost of retirement. The lower your income,
generally the higher the portion of it you will need to replace.
However, no rule of thumb fits everyone.
Expenses typically decline for retirees: taxes are smaller (though not always)
and work-related costs usually disappear. But overall expenses may not decline
much if you still have a home and college debts to pay off. Large medical bills
may keep your retirement costs high. Much will depend on the kind of retirement
you want to enjoy. Someone who plans to live a quiet, modest retirement in a
low-cost part of the country will need a lot less money than someone who plans
to be active, take expensive vacations, and live in an expensive region.
For younger people in the early stages of their working life, estimating income
needs that may be 30 to 40 years in the future is obviously difficult. At least
start with a rough estimate and begin saving something — 10 percent of your
gross income would be a good start. Then every 2 or 3 years review your
retirement plan and adjust your estimate of retirement income needs as your
annual earnings grow and your vision of retirement begins to come into focus.
How long will I live in retirement?
Based on current estimates, a male retiring at age 55 today can expect to live
approximately 23 years in retirement. A female retiring today at age 55 can
expect to live approximately 27 years. And the likelihood of living at least 20
years for someone retiring at 55 today is high — over 60 percent for a man and
about 75 percent for a woman.
These are average figures and how long you can expect to live will depend on
factors such as your general health and family history. But using today’s
average or past history may not give you a complete picture. People are living
longer today than they did in the past, and virtually all expert opinion expects
the trend toward living longer to continue.
What other sources of income will I have?
Since October 1999, Social Security has been mailing statements to workers age
25 and older showing all the wages reported and an estimate of retirement,
survivors and disability benefits. You can also request a statement by visiting
the Social Security Administration’s Web site at
Will You Have Other Sources of Income?
For instance, will you receive a pension that provides a specific amount of
retirement income each month? Is the pension adjusted for inflation?
What Savings Do I Already Have for Retirement?
You’ll need to build a nest egg sufficient to make up the gap between the total
amount of income you will need each year and the amount provided annually by
Social Security and any pension income. This nest egg will come from your
retirement plan accounts at work, IRAs, annuities, and personal savings.
Do you have Financial Planning questions? Please call 1-800-559-2900, or use
this form to contact Atlantic Financial:
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Financial Planning for Retirement