You know it’s important to save for retirement. You dutifully put money in a 401k or an IRA or some other retirement savings account, you budget your income, and you try to be as financially savvy as possible. Still–how do you know if you are on the right track? How much money should you really save for retirement?
It can be difficult to calculate an exact number, and there’s certainly a wide range of acceptable amounts depending on your location, lifestyle, health needs, and other specifics. However, there are some ways to figure out generally if you are in the ballpark of saving enough money to get you through your retirement years.
1. Use Your Salary As a Guideline
While you can’t necessarily predict a specific number for your retirement money amount, Fidelity offers a guide based on your annual income and your age to help you get a sense of where you should be in your savings activity. According to Fidelity, it is a good idea to have 1x of your salary in some form of savings account (including investments) by the time you are 30, 3x your salary at age 40, 6x at age 50, 8x at age 60, and 10x at age 67. This means you likely need to have a healthy amount of your savings in investment accounts, as well as participate in an employer matching program.
Other experts suggest you save 25% of your gross income every year, which sounds daunting but, again, includes employee matching and investment accounts. Working with a financial advisor will help you allocate your money wisely so that you can make the most of it each year and stay on track for robust financial health when you retire.
2. Evaluate Your Current Lifestyle
One of the best ways to determine how much money you will need when you retire is to analyze how much money you need now. Of course, your life will look different when you retire–your healthcare bills may grow but your grocery bills may shrink. You may not have to spend money on clothing for your children, but you may want to spend money on your grandchildren. Look at each aspect of your life and think about how much money you currently need to live on. Chances are, you will be able to live comfortably in retirement with about 80% of your last salary that you earn before you retire. However, each person is different and has different lifestyle needs, so it’s important to use this information as a guideline, not a rule, when you save for retirement.
3. Social Security
When you work, a percentage of your income gets taken out of your paycheck and goes into social security. This is a government program that provides money to people when they retire. When you retire, you will get some amount in social security money, too. While it likely won’t be enough to give you the lifestyle you want during retirement, it should help your monthly “income” significantly once you are no longer earning a paycheck. This “income” is largely made up of your retirement savings, and you need to be smart about how much of that savings you allocate per month so that you don’t blow through it too quickly.
Retirement is an exciting time where you can embark on a new phase of your life, but it’s also a time that requires significant financial preparation. At DeSantis, Kiefer, Shall, and Sarcone, our expert financial advisors can help you build your savings and investment portfolio and advise you on how to best prepare yourself and save for retirement. Once you are retired, we can work with you to keep you on track with managing your money so you can enjoy these golden years in comfort and living the lifestyle you desire.