Everyone knows a person needs to save for retirement. Maybe you’ve even enrolled in your company’s retirement program. And maybe you have a portion withheld from each paycheck into your retirement account. But do you know how much you need to save for retirement?
Several things must be considered to determine how much you will need in retirement. First, remember many retirees will receive some Social Security and Medicare benefits. If you haven’t prepared, this can be a portion of your retirement income. It can ease the burden of saving throughout your career, but it should not take all the pressure off needing to save yourself for retirement. Social Security is designed to be a safety net, not the primary source of retirement income. Remember to consider all potential sources of income for your retirement: retirement savings plans, Social Security, personal savings, annuity contracts, maybe even passive income from a “side gig” you helped start.
However, you must also consider the other side of the equation—expenditures. For most retirees, the largest drain on their financial resources comes from medical expenses. This is where years of contributions to Medicare really help, as Medicare benefits are a huge source of relief on the financial strain of medical expenses. Retirees also need to consider their monthly living
expenses, and any debt load they still carry from working years. Taking a European cruise, serving a non- profit in Africa, or leaving legacy or inheritance gifts after their passing—all are valid goals and concerns to be weighed.
The last area to consider, and one becoming an increasing concern, is longevity. With life expectancy increasing in developed countries, many retirees simply live longer than expected and so outlive their financial resources.
These considerations quickly become individualized, so there’s not one specific number that will work for everyone. The retirement industry provides some general guides regarding how much you should plan to have saved, such as annually saving 15% of your income for retirement and planning to have enough saved so your annual retirement income will replace 70-80% of your work life income. But guides are all these are.
Everyone’s situation is unique and so are the retirement needs. Each person must consider his or her personal situation and retirement goals, remembering to consider all potential sources of income and the myriad areas of expenditures. The more you do during your working years to prepare for your retirement—paying off all debts, maintaining health insurance coverage, living a healthy lifestyle, and saving—will help ease the financial strain of your retirement years. No one ever complains he or she has saved too much for retirement.
One must consider many things to plan properly for retirement. Let our office serve you and your fellow church members. The Board of Retirement has resources available to map out a plan for your retirement needs, from the retirement fund calculator on our website, individualized education, and other planning resources. Visit our website at boardofretirement.com.