Whether you’re 20 years from retirement or two years, you need to plan how much to save for retirement. By calculating how much your retirement savings will grow, you can adjust your plan for your savings and investments.
Whether you have a 401(k) plan, deposits like retirement money market accounts, an individual retirement account (IRA), a diversified investment portfolio, or other funds, you can determine the average retirement savings you will need to build per year before you reach retirement age so you get to your desired level of retirement income.
Retirement Savings Calculator Instructions
There are three sections in this calculator, which is designed to give you an accurate view of where you are now and where you need to be by the time you retire.
Step 1: Input How Much You Currently Have
Put in the amount that you currently hold in all your taxable retirement accounts. If you’re unsure, you can check your online or paper statements to find those amounts.
Step 2: Input How Much You’ll Save
Include how much you’re putting into your accounts monthly or yearly. A ballpark figure is fine if you’re not sure.
Step 3: Input Your Federal Tax Rate
Federal tax rates change from year to year depending on many factors, but you can check directly with the IRS to see where your tax bracket lies for the current year.
Step 4: Input Your State Tax Rate
If you live in one of the states where there is no income tax, you won’t need to worry about this part and can input 0. If you do pay state income tax, check with your state tax board to find your state tax rate.
Step 5: Enter How Much You Currently Have
These accounts include 401(k) accounts and IRAs. You can input the amount you’ve saved so far. Check your statement or online accounts to find that amount.
Step 6: Enter How Much You’ll Save
How much will you save? You can plug in a conservative or aggressive number to get an idea of what it will take to get you to your retirement savings goal.
Projected Rate of Return/Time Frame
Step 7: Add the Number of Years You Will Save
How many years until you retire? Whether it’s 30 years or 5 years, plug that number into the calculator.
Step 8: Add Your Average Annual Gain
You can find this number in your account information either online or through the statement you receive in the mail.
Step 9: Click “Calculate”
You will see two numbers. You’ll see the total amount you’ll have at retirement and the inflation-adjusted number. This number shouldn’t be too different if retirement is only a few years away, but if you’re looking decades into the future, there will be a bigger difference between these two numbers.
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How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement?
To see how much your retirement savings will be worth after your set number of years to save, you’ll need to know:
- how much you’ve already saved (in taxable and tax-deferred accounts)
- how much you plan to save per month or per year
- your tax rate
- how many years you will save
- your expected annual gain
When you click “recalculate,” the retirement savings calculator provides the amount to which your current savings will grow given the parameters you selected. It will also tell you the inflation-adjusted amount you will have in the future so you can see if you’re actually saving enough as you’re planning for retirement.
Use the retirement savings calculator below to find out how your savings will grow.
What to Do with This Information
If your results show that you will have a shortfall during retirement, you may want to use the retirement savings calculator to explore different assumptions so you can see how various decisions could affect the outcome.
Perhaps you could reconsider your budget and find room to save more per month. You may want to think about saving for more years or moving to a state with a lower tax rate. Play with the parameters and then notice how the results differ. It may show you a better route to reaching the level of retirement income you decide will be comfortable in retirement.
How to Save More for Retirement
Saving more for retirement is a wise financial goal, and there are several strategies you can employ to increase your retirement savings.
Here are some tips to help you save more for retirement.
The power of compounding interest can make a significant difference in your retirement savings. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Even small contributions can add up over time.
Set Clear Goals
Determine how much money you’ll need in retirement. This will give you a target to aim for and help you create a savings plan. You can use a retirement lifestyle calculator to see how much you’ll need to save to keep up with your lifestyle once you retire.
Contribute to Retirement Accounts
If your employer offers a 401(k), 403(b), or similar retirement plan, contribute to it, especially if your employer offers a matching contribution. Contribute enough to take full advantage of the match.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Contribute to a Traditional or Roth IRA. These accounts offer tax advantages, and you can contribute to them even if you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan.
Increase Contributions Over Time
As your income grows or your financial situation improves, consider increasing your contributions to retirement accounts. Gradually raising your savings rate can make a big difference in the long run.
Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions
If you’re 50 or older, you can make additional catch-up contributions to retirement accounts. For example, in 2022, you can make an extra $6,500 catch-up contribution to a 401(k) and an extra $1,000 to an IRA.
Automate Your Savings
Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your retirement account. This ensures that you consistently save without having to think about it.
Choose appropriate investments based on your risk tolerance and time horizon. Diversify your portfolio to spread risk. Consider low-cost index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as they often have lower fees.
Cut unnecessary expenses to free up more money for retirement savings. Review your budget and look for areas where you can save, such as dining out less, reducing subscription services, and shopping more mindfully.
Consider Delaying Retirement
Working a few years longer can allow you to continue saving and let your retirement savings grow while reducing the years you’ll need to rely on your savings.
Maximize Social Security Benefits
Delaying your Social Security benefits can increase your monthly payments. Consider the best strategy for claiming benefits based on your individual circumstances.
Create Additional Income Streams
Explore opportunities to generate additional income in retirement, such as part-time work, freelancing, or turning a hobby into a side business. This can help supplement your retirement savings.
Get Professional Advice
Consult with a financial advisor or retirement planner to help create a personalized retirement savings plan and investment strategy.
Remember that saving for retirement is a long-term endeavor, and it’s essential to stay disciplined and regularly review and adjust your savings plan as your life circumstances change. By implementing these strategies and consistently saving for retirement, you can increase your financial security during your post-working years.