Author: Eric Bayne
Do you know how much money you will need at retirement? Do you know if you will even have that much money? The best method to know for certain is for you to start putting together your retirement worksheet today. Before you begin your worksheet, however, you will need to answer the following 3 vital questions:About the Author:
How much do you want to make a year, in today's dollars, when you retire? Or, to put it another way, if you were to retire right now, what yearly salary would you require in order to keep you living in the fashion to which you have become accustomed. The majority of worksheets and calculators will have built into them projected appraisals for inflation and will be able to use this figure to calculate roughly the amount of annual income you will need at retirement.
How many years are there before you retire? This is critical because it is the number of years you have remaining in which to add funds to your financial portfolio. The spreadsheet will take the value of your current portfolio and add to it any expected contributions up to the retirement date. The calculation will show how much you can expect to have at retirement. If this amount is less than what you require, you will either have to add more money to your portfolio, change your investment strategy, or lower you expected standards of living at retirement.
What is the sum of all your sources of expected retirement income? This includes your expected Social Security income as well as any of the following investment plans - 401k, 403b, 457, Keoghs, SEP, IRA, and pension plans. It's important to get as concrete figures as you can and put them on paper. This helps to avoid the rose colored glasses scenario where you think you have more money than you actually do. A major cause of people getting to retirement and being shocked that they don't have enough money to live at their current lifestyle level is their failure at an earlier age to take a hard look at their financial situation when they had plenty of time to do something about it.
How many years will your retirement funds be expected to last? This is a sensitive question as it gets into life expectancy and mortality issues. Once you begin to collect Social Security, your income from it will be relatively constant. But Social Security will most likely cover less than half of your desired income. And in many cases, it will cover much less. This means that your remaining investments have to supply the rest of your income. In the best of circumstances, you will be able to live off of a combination of the interest and dividends from your investments and not have to touch the principal. If, however, you are forced to start drawing against the principal, your annual income from it will continually decrease until gone. Knowing how many years your retirement funds will be necessary will help you make the decision as to whether you should start to draw the principal down or accept a lowered standard of living.
How is your health? For many retired people, their medical bills are their biggest out of pocket expense when they retire. Even with Medicare, you may have deductibles to pay for. We can't look into the future and say for certain what our health will be at retirement. But if you already are taking medical treatments for a disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and so on - you can be almost certain that those bills will increase significantly as you reach retirement age. Many people when making their retirement plan, forget planning for future medical bills. But now, before your retirement, is the best time to do this.
Eric Bayne is writer and researcher for http://www.retirementplanhelper.com . Visit his site to find out where he'll answer questions such as what are 401k plans and other retirement related questions.
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