March 17, 2018

What Do You Want For Retirement


As a rule of thumb, the more you are willing to give up early on, the faster you will reach the goal.

How Much Cash Do You Want In Retirement?

Ever tried to calculate how much money you would like to have to live on in the way you want to in retirement? Fifty thousand a year? $150,000? Maybe $500,000?

If you want to try to figure it out, subtract out income you currently have from your job and any other income sources. Divide the figure by .04 to see what assets it would take to support that level of annual income. Many financial planners use the .04 figure based on experience that says you could withdraw 4 percent of your money each year and put it into an account that would generate enough, over time, to maintain its value after calculating for inflation.

For example, if you think you would need to make $80,000 per year to live as you like. In fact, you only work part-time and make $20,000 per year. You assume that you can expect about $15,000 per year in Social Security. Take the $80,000 and subtract $35,000 and you’ll have $45,000. Divide that by the .04 and you’ll have a figure of $1,125,000. That’s the amount you would need to earn the other $65,000 from your investments if you want never to run out of money.

The next factor you need to decide on is when you will be wanting the money. If you are 30 and want to retire at 65, you have 35 years to get the money lined up. Use an online calculator such as calculators online, to figure it out how much in monthly savings you will need to reach the goal. Such a calculator also can guide you in different scenarios, showing how long it will take to reach your goals under different savings and investing plans.

Assuming an 8 percent return on your investments, you’d have to set aside $754.85 per month until retirement. (If you had started at age 25, the amount would be only $322.26 per month. If you had begun at 18, the monthly cost would have been $181.09. That’s the power of compounding.)

If you aren’t expecting to leave anything to family or friends, a charitable remainder trust could be a great choice. The savings figure would be much lower because this model assumes that you would maintain the $1,125,000 fund in perpetuity.

Many financial planners will estimate your lifespan and create a program that will see your money run out at your 85th birthday, or longer.

You can expedite your goal by saving more each month. Say $300 per month extra could help you arrive at the goal much, much earlier, possibly decades. That may take some sacrifice – a used vehicle instead of new, fewer meals out, less expensive clothing, etc. Your priorities are your own and no one can make this decision except you. But as a rule of thumb, the more you are willing to give up early on, the fast your will reach the goal. Avoiding unnecessary debt is one of the objectives you should set early and stick with.

Try to look ahead as much as you can. If your part of the country appears to be headed for depressed conditions, move to a place where the economic picture is more rosy. If that seems drastic, consider: If you are not willing to be inconvenienced for the chance of a better life, then you must be content to live in poverty.

Making a good beginning toward your retirement goals is wise. Passing up car ownership into your 20s may save you the costs of upkeep, fuel and insurance. Instant gratification can be costly.

About Twila Van Leer

Journalist/writer for more than 50 years. Pulitzer Prize nominee, 1983 for coverage of the first permanent artificial heart. More than 50 national, regional, local awards for news writing. Main writer for a memorial book for Deseret News' 150 th anniversary and for a book recounting the 1997 re-enactment of the pioneer trek from Omaha to Salt Lake City. Co-writer and editor of "True Valor," a book on the history of the artificial heart. Author of the book, Life Is Just A Bowl Of Kumquats, a wonderful story of a house wife and her trials with raising a large family.