How Much Should You Save for Retirement?

Retirement planning can seem like a daunting task, but breaking it down into manageable steps can make the process more straightforward and less intimidating. Experts generally recommend saving 10% to 15% of your income each year, but everyone’s retirement needs are different. To help you calculate a more personalized goal, here are four simple steps to follow: estimating your retirement income needs, considering common rules of thumb, using a retirement calculator, and revisiting your plan regularly.

1. Estimate Retirement Income Needs

The first step in determining how much to save for retirement is to estimate your future income needs. Start by considering your current expenses and how they might change in retirement. Think about:

  • Housing: Will your mortgage be paid off, or will you still have housing costs?
  • Healthcare: Consider potential increases in healthcare expenses as you age.
  • Daily Living: Include groceries, utilities, transportation, and other daily expenses.
  • Leisure and Travel: Factor in activities you plan to enjoy during retirement.
  • Inflation: Costs generally rise over time, so it's important to account for inflation, typically around 2-3% annually.

Add these estimates to get a rough idea of your annual expenses in retirement. This figure will serve as a foundation for calculating your savings goal.

2. Consider Common Rules of Thumb

There are several rules of thumb that can help simplify retirement planning:

  • The 10-15% Rule: As mentioned, many financial experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of your income each year for retirement. Starting early and consistently contributing within this range can significantly boost your retirement savings.
  • The 80% Rule: This rule suggests you’ll need about 80% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your current standard of living. If you earn $60,000 annually before retirement, aim to have $48,000 per year during retirement.
  • The Rule of 25: Multiply your estimated annual retirement expenses by 25 to get a target savings amount. For example, if you expect to need $40,000 per year, you should aim to save $1,000,000 ($40,000 x 25).

While these rules provide a useful starting point, they should be adjusted based on your individual circumstances and retirement goals.

3. Use a Retirement Calculator

Retirement calculators are powerful tools that can provide a more personalized savings goal. These calculators typically consider factors such as your current age, income, savings rate, investment returns, and desired retirement age. Many online calculators also allow you to input specific details like expected Social Security benefits, pensions, and other income sources.

Try the Savvly retirement calculator to find out if you're on track to have enough! It will provide an estimate of how much you'll have and how much you'll need. The best part? Savvly is the world's first market-driven pension that is designed to help you get more money when you need it most, without needing to increase your saving contributions.

4. Revisit Regularly

Retirement planning isn’t a one-time task; it requires ongoing attention. Life events, market conditions, and changes in your financial situation can all impact your retirement plan. Aim to revisit your retirement savings strategy at least once a year or after significant life changes, such as marriage, the birth of a child, a job change, or a major purchase.

During these reviews, update your estimates for expenses, income, and savings, and adjust your plan as needed. Staying proactive and flexible will help you stay on track to meet your retirement goals.

The bottom line

Calculating how much to save for retirement doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By estimating your retirement income needs, considering common rules of thumb, using a retirement calculator, and revisiting your plan regularly, you can create a personalized and realistic retirement savings strategy. Starting early and saving consistently can make a significant difference, helping you achieve financial security and peace of mind in your golden years. Happy saving!