For younger workers, retirement may seem like a distant event that doesn’t bear a great deal of consideration. Most of us realize that we should be putting some money away, but comparatively few actually do so. And those who do may not be saving enough.
Too many workers continue to rely on Social Security and pensions as their main source of retirement income, and see savings as a way to have extra money. But these days, that kind of thinking is seriously flawed. It’s entirely possible that Social Security may not exist in a few short decades, and even if it does, it could pay less than it does now when accounting for inflation. Pensions are also becoming a thing of the past. So it’s up to us to make sure we have enough retirement savings to live on.
How Much Money Do I Need to Save?
There are many different ideas regarding how much money we need after retirement. Some advocate saving up a few million dollars so that one can live off the interest. Others reason that if you pay off your debts by the time you reach retirement age, you won’t need anywhere near that much.
But most experts suggest that one should save enough to have 70 to 90 percent of one’s annual pre-retirement income each year after retirement for 20 years. These numbers should take inflation into account, which is generally estimated at 3% per year, as well as investment returns before and after retirement. The final figure will vary for each individual, but as you can see, this will add up to a substantial amount of money.
Once you’ve figured out how much you’ll need altogether, you need to calculate how much you must save each month to reach that goal. To do this, count the number of years until you plan to retire, multiply by 12, and divide your total by that number. If math is not your strong suit, you can find retirement calculators online that will run the numbers for you.
The Best Time to Start Saving Is Now
Even if it seems like retirement is eons away, it’s important to start saving as early as possible. Ideally, we should start saving for retirement from the time we start our first jobs and continue to do so consistently for the remainder of our working lives. But in practice, it rarely works that way.
Just remember that the earlier you start saving for retirement, the more painless it will be. For each year you postpone saving, you’ll have to save a little more each month to reach your goal. If you keep procrastinating for years and years, you’ll eventually have to put a significant portion of your income toward retirement. So there’s no time like the present to start planning for your golden years.