How To Plan For Retirement At Any Age
After spending the majority of our adult lives in the workforce, the average American will be retired for about 20 years. That's a significant amount of time to spend traveling, relaxing, and doing basically whatever you want. However, it takes some serious planning to afford that carefree lifestyle without any income―and not everyone thinks that far ahead.
Here's some information to help you start saving effectively now, so you'll have money in the bank as you enjoy your 20 years of hard-earned freedom.
30% of Americans aged 18-29 haven't started saving for retirement.
31% of all working Americans have no retirement savings.
28% of American workers have less than $1,000 saved.
How Much Money Do I Need?
It's a good rule of thumb to save the equivalent of 85% of your end-of-career salary for each year of retirement.
Let's say you'll earn $70,000/year at the end of your career. You'll probably need about $63,750/year to live on throughout your retirement—or a total of $1,275,000 in savings and investments for all 20 years.
85% Of End-Of-Career Salary For Each Year Of Retirement
If you made ... $70,000/year
You'll need ... $63,750/year after retirement
$1,275,000 in total
How To Get There
It's easier to put more money away if you start when you're younger and do it slowly. Still, even if retirement is already within your sights, you probably have enough time to save.
Here are some things to you can do to beef up your retirement savings ... whether you're just starting your career or already thinking about your life after the daily grind.
When You're Younger …
Save at least 7% of your salary for retirement:
In 2014, 20- to 30-year-old Americans earned an average annual salary of approximately $32,000.
7% of $32,000 equals about $2,240 in annual retirement savings.
That's $43 per week—which you may be able to save by walking, biking, or taking public transportation instead of using Uber.
Set up regular auto-deposits:
When your retirement savings comes directly out of your paycheck, you're less likely to ever miss that money.
When selecting your investment allocations, choose high-risk/high-yield options. Even if your money performs poorly in the short term, you still have plenty of time to recover financially before you retire.
When You're Older …
Save at least 10% of your salary for retirement:
On average, Americans between 35 and 54 years old earned annual salaries of about $46,000 in 2014
10% of that comes out to about $4,600 in annual retirement savings—less than $90 per week.
You may be able to save that amount by cooking dinner with your family more often, instead of going out to eat.
Invest in your retirement first:
3 million American parents are currently repaying $62 billion in outstanding Parent PLUS loans.
Before borrowing student loans for your kids' education, be sure you can afford to continue funding your retirement.
As your retirement gets closer, you'll have a relatively small amount of time to recover from a potential disaster. Select lower-risk investment options to keep your money safe.
At Any Age
Max out your 401(k) match:
If your company offers to match your 401(k) contributions, take advantage of this benefit by always contributing at least the amount that they'll match. It will basically double your retirement contributions at no additional cost to you.
Don't leave free money on the table!
Meet with your financial planner:
Your financial goals may shift over time, so check in with your financial planner at least once a year to make sure your money is on track to meet your needs.
As you get closer to retirement, meet with your planner more frequently, and be sure to examine whether your investments still reflect your current risk tolerance.
What About Social Security?
Social Security can play a huge role in your finances during your golden years. But, consider this if your plan is to rely solely on Social Security:
The average Social Security monthly retirement payment is only $1,334.21 per month—which comes out to just $16,010.52 per year.
American Student Assistance® (ASA) Internal Research: asa.org
Employee Benefit Research Institute: ebri.org
Money Crashers: moneycrashers.com
U.S. Department of Labor: dol.gov