You may think you have a good idea of how much money you need to save for retirement, but it is not an easy number to predict. Between age, interest rates, estimated government retirement payout and marital status, there are plenty of factors that affect how much savings you need – let alone what your personal goals might be (travel, recreation, etc.). Here are five reasons you need more savings than you may think to have a comfortable retirement.
1. Increased Life Expectancy
The average life expectancy has risen by more than 10 years in the past 60 years all the way to today’s U.S. expectancy of 79 years. It’s important not to forget about this life expectancy spike when planning for retirement or you may find yourself outliving your savings. The best advice to combat this is consider your family history, health and living conditions. Then save early and often so you ensure you have enough to last.
If you are thinking about how to fund your retirement, you probably want to know whether a Roth IRA or 401(k) is the better vehicle to focus on. The main difference between the two is taxes. With a 401(k), you contribute pre-tax dollars and pay income tax when you start pulling funds out for retirement. Roth IRAs allow you to pay taxes on contributions so you never owe on your gains. It’s a good idea to think about the effect deferred taxes will have on your current and likely future tax bracket. People who anticipate having a smaller income in retirement (this is likely the majority of people) may want to put off paying taxes until then.
3. Changing Social Security & Pension Systems
Government retirement income programs were never meant to serve as your full income in retirement, and they may not even provide as much in the future. Social Security full retirement age has been pushed back, meaning your lifetime benefits will likely be lower. Many private corporations are shifting from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans, putting more of the emphasis on you to save enough money, invest it, and provide your own income for life. It’s a good idea to pay attention to both the changes in your company retirement plans and the Social Security plans.
4. Rising Health Care Costs
The cost of medical care has gone up over the past few decades while deductibles have grown and the cost of insurance has increased. It’s difficult to predict all the medical needs you will have in retirement and what the cost breakdown will be in the future. It’s probably a good idea to err on the side of high medical costs in retirement to ensure you have enough.
5. More Freedom With Free Time
One of the best parts about retiring is the time you have to focus on interests and new activities or travels. The more money you have saved up, the more opportunities you can pursue.
Maybe not all of these reasons relate to your personal situation, but retirement has changed a lot from the previous generations. You don’t want to reach retirement age and be stuck wishing you saved more when you could have. It’s important not to overestimate your savings success so you can have the comfortable and best retirement your working years can earn you.
A Simple Way to Save More
It’s simple math — the more money you spend on interest charges, the less money you have in your budget to put towards your retirement savings. You can see just how much your debt is draining your savings potential using this nifty lifetime cost of debt calculator. If getting debt-free isn’t possible (after all, some debt can be used for investments like real estate), improving your credit score can also help you sock more money away in your savings since a better credit score can get you better interest rates on mortgages, car loans and more. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand and make a better-credit action plan.
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