Using A Retirement Savings Calculator

The idea is that a retirement savings calculator will tell you how much money you need to save for your retirement. The problem is that no one knows for sure what will happen in the future.

a retiring couple uses an online retirement savings calculatorMy father earned $300/month when I was a child and he provided a comfortable life. I earn more than 200X that much to maintain a similar lifestyle. What will that lifestyle cost thirty years from now? According to statistics, I could easily live thirty years beyond retirement.

So what about those retirement savings calculators that help you to set up a retirement savings plan? Should you just ignore them?

No! Far too many people in the western world are ignoring their retirement income needs.

By all means, use a retirement savings calculator. Just be aware of its limitations. And of course, be aware of the motives of whoever provides the particular calculator you use. My best advice is to use at least three different calculators and aim for something that makes sense.

Retirement Savings Calculators You Can Use

Some calculators use spreadsheet software. The most common is Excel. If you haven't used it, but you have it as part of Microsoft Office, don't worry. Whoever created the calculator will have put in the formulas. All you have to do is fill numbers into the proper boxes.

Other calculators let you type the numbers into a form on a Web site. Some will give you results at the click of a button. Others will ask for your email address to send you results.

Information You Need To Use
A Retirement Savings Calculator

Whether you download a spreadsheet or fill in an online form you will need some or all of the information below.
  • Your current age
  • Age at which you expect to retire
  • How much you think you will need annually in retirement: This one is difficult to calculate. Some bank calculators make a stab at guessing your needs based on current currency values. Do NOT underestimate here!
  • Your current assets: Include savings, investments, equity in your home, the value of any significant goods, and anything else you could draw on.
  • Your debts
  • Anticipated pension income: List both employment and government pensions as well as any tax sheltered savings meant to supplement your pension.
  • Get Saving!

    Very few people complete a retirement savings calculation with a satisfied smile. If you do, well done! Take a trip somewhere special.

    Most of us need to pay down debt and start saving like mad. That means cuts to expenses NOW.

    What If It's Too Late?

    Sadly, for some, it is truly too late to save enough to live comfortably through a long retirement. The best options are to continue working, or to start a business in retirement.

    I did, and this site is just part of it.

    If you have any tips for those about to retire on how to improve the financial situation, please share.

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