Retirement Calculator: How Much Do I Need to Retire?

retirement calculator

How Much Should You Save for Retirement?


What if we told you that 33% of Americans don’t have any retirement savings? We hope that this would come as a shock to you. Many Americans ask the question, “how much do I need to retire?” If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn what you should know about retirement.

How Much Do I Need to Retire?

The short answer is that a lot is needed. However, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by saving and planning for retirement.  If you’re feeling unsure, just remember that many people have done this before you. You are not the first, and you do have plenty of resources to help you. That includes us.  Before you start saving, you have to know how much you need. Let’s break down what you need to know about the amount you should have to retire.
What Do I Need To Know Before I Start Saving?
As you probably expected, the amount that you should save is entirely dependent on your plans. If you don’t have any retirement goals, you should start thinking about them now.

  • You should think about when you want to retire.
    • Are you looking to retire when you’re 65 or 50?
  • You should know how you want retired life to be.
    • Will you travel to exotic places or live your days out in a cabin? Will you have additional income streams other than your retirement account?
  • You should know when you’re going to start saving.
    • Are you starting when you’re 20 or 40? It’s always better to start saving early.
    • Even if you are older, it is never too late. Even just a few years of savings could help you in the long-run.

How Much Should I Save For Retirement?

If you’re young, we recommend that you save at least 15% of your paycheck every year. Some people prefer to take 15% of each paycheck, while others prefer to take a considerable chunk out at the end of the year.  We highly recommend that you take some amount from each paycheck. There are two advantages to this:

  • You won’t feel the money leave your account.
    • If it’s a small amount from each paycheck, you may not even notice that it is leaving. It can be disheartening to take a large chunk of money out of your account at once.
  • You’ll have more money in your retirement savings account for longer.
    • Even just a few more months in a savings account can mean significant savings over time.

If you put your money into your savings account as you earn it, most of your payment will have already been gaining interest for a few months by the end of the year. If you wait to put your money in your savings account, you’re losing months of precious gains.  If you’re older, you will need to save even more every year. You should make sure that you have enough in your retirement account to cover at least 55% of your preretirement income. Making this amount of more can help you maintain your preretirement lifestyle.

When Should I Start Saving For Retirement?

The sooner you start, the more effortless saving for retirement will be. As we explained, you want your money to be in a savings account for as long as you can.
The longer the money is in a savings account, the more interest you earn on it.  Most experts recommend that you start saving when you’re about 25 years old. However, you may want to start some sort of retirement savings account the second that you have income.

Even if you’re 20, you can start a retirement savings account. You could save $200 a month to start. Even a small addition when you’re younger can turn into a significant return as the years go on. For example, a 25-year-old saving 15% per year equates to a 35-year-old saving 23% per year.

So, if you’re an adult who has an income, you should start saving for retirement right now.

Do I Have Enough For Retirement?

If you have already saved some money for retirement, you may be wondering if you have enough saved. This requires some math, but it is entirely doable.  We recommend that you stick with the 15% per year rule. Remember that this rule applies if you start saving at the age of 25 years. With these in mind, you should take these steps.

  • Know your yearly salary before tax as well as how old you are.
    • We hope that the second one is easy. You should also know how much you have already saved up for retirement.
  • Multiply your yearly salary by 0.15. This will give you 15% of your annual income before taxes.
    • Now, take your age and subtract 25 from it. (If you’re younger than 25, you probably shouldn’t worry about if you have enough in your retirement account. Although, we do encourage you to follow the 15% rule.)
  • Take the number that you got from step three and multiply it by the number you got from step 2.

If the number that you calculated in step four is smaller than the amount that you currently have saved for retirement, you’re in good shape. If the number from step four is larger than the amount that you have saved, you have some catching up to do.

For example, let’s say that you make $45,000 a year at 35 years old. You have $65,000 in your savings for retirement in this example, too.

  • Your yearly salary before tax is $45,000 per year. Your age is 35 years. You have $65,000 saved up for retirement.
  • $45,000 x 0.15 = $6,750
  • 35 years – 25 years = 10 years
  • 10 x $6,750 = $67,500
  • $65,000 < $67,500

In this example, you would need to save more in your retirement account. If you increase your savings rate, you can catch up to the suggested 15% of savings.  We should also note that some people decide to save 20% or even 25% of their income to get ahead financially.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn the basics of retirement savings

What is the average retirement age?

The average retirement age in the United States is rising as worries over Social Security spread. The average age of retirement for men is 65 years, while women’s average age is 62 years.  Some people may think that this is early, while others may think it’s late. You shouldn’t hold your personal goals to this standard, but this can help you understand where the average falls.  The age of retirement may continue to rise as Social Security payments become smaller, and the cost of living will increase.

How do I save money for retirement?

We can tell you to save 15% of your paycheck, but that is easier said than done. You need to know how to go about saving this money.  You need to understand how you can invest in your retirement fund and save money over time. Keep reading to learn about the logistics behind saving for retirement.

Where do I invest for retirement?

There are so many places to look into. Many companies offer free options for saving for retirement.  For example, one option is Vanguard. If you make an account with them, you can invest your money in a plethora of different stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Your money can accumulate interest over time, and you can feel better about the amount of money that you have over time.

Many retirement accounts are vested in the stock market. If this is true, you will want to learn more about stock market changes and ensure that your portfolio is diverse. You don’t want to leave all of your money in one stock and lose it on a bad day.

Some retirement accounts place your money into what is referred to as a money market account. You’ll want to look into the best money market rates to get the best return on your investment.
Once you’ve decided to begin making an effort to save for retirement, you should do some research on different places to save for retirement. You may prefer a paid service with assistance from financial advisors.  With so many services available, you need to find what service works best for you.

If you’re looking to opening other savings accounts for future needs, you should check out our list of the best online savings accounts. With any investment, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best return. This doesn’t just apply to retirement savings.

Is retirement taxable?

There are many types of retirement accounts, and many of them are taxable. You should understand taxes as they have to do with your retirement account.  Pension plans, 401(k) plans, and traditional IRAs are taxable. Some Social Security benefits are also subject to taxation.   Two popular types of retirement accounts are great examples of how retirement money is taxed in different ways. These two accounts are the Traditional IRA and the Roth IRA.

The money that you save in a Traditional IRA is taxed when you take it out, while the money that you save in a Roth IRA is taxed when you put it in. Either way, your money is taxed.

However, some people do have a preference. Some prefer Traditional IRAs because they can defer taxes. Others prefer Roth IRAs because they can get the taxes over with when they invest in the account.  No matter what retirement accounts you choose to have, you need to know when your money will be taxed and how much it’s going to be taxed by.

Which states tax your retirement income?

Every state has different rules and policies when it comes to retirement accounts. This includes different practices when it comes to Social Security payments.  If you’re looking for the most tax-friendly state, it may not be what you expect. Financial experts have found that Wyoming is the friendliest state in terms of tax breaks. This list of the most tax-friendly states also includes Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi.