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Calculate Your Retirement Savings

401 (k) statement

Many of us dream about retirement, but less than half of Americans have calculated how much they’ll need. Everyone's retirement will be different. Your target number for retirement savings will depend on your finances, lifestyle and health.

Ask yourself the following questions:

How much have you saved today? Your current savings and its growth rate, plus how much you plan to contribute in the years leading up to retirement, will determine how much you’ll need to earn once you retire.

How much will you need to live? This amount is generally 80 percent of your pre-retirement salary, but it depends on what you’d like to do when you retire. Will you travel or move? Use this calculator to estimate your retirement income needs.

How many years will you work? Depending on how much you’re able to save, you can decide whether you will take full, phased, or early retirement.

How long are you likely to live? Calculate your life expectancy based on data from the Social Security Administration using this calculator.

How will you pay for health care in retirement? You may be healthy now, but health care tends to get more expensive as we age. Visit for information on health options such as long-term care and Medicaid.

What additional income sources will you receive in retirement? Will you have a pension? Have you been contributing to a 401(k) plan at work? Learn more about how retirement plans will affect your finances later on.

When will you start collecting Social Security? Visit and create your online account to better understand your benefits.Study your annual Social Security statement and take SAM's free My Retirement Plan course to explore further.

How to Prepare

Start saving as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more you'll have to save each month to meet your retirement goals.

  • As a general guide try to save about 10 percent of your income annually during your early years (20s to 40s) and double that amount during your later years (50s and 60s).
  • Analyze your savings methods. The higher the growth rate, the less you need to save annually due to compounding interest.
  • Enroll in your company’s retirement plan. Allocate to the plan the maximum contribution you can afford, especially if your employer matches your contributions. Invest windfalls, such as raises, bonuses and tax refunds in your retirement savings account.
  • Consider opening an additional tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA.

Get Help

For help with your retirement investments meet with a fee-only investment advisor, who is paid only for his or her time, not for selling you any products. He or she can help you determine your long and short-term retirement goals and the best way to allocate, diversify and safeguard your retirement investments.

[Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by National Endowment for Financial Education.]