If you had to pick one question that keeps you up at night, would it be â€œhow much money do I need for retirement?â€ If it is, youâ€™re certainly not alone. Figuring out how much money you need in retirement is not easy, and that question plagues a lot of people nearing retirement age.
One common approach to figuring out a retirement savings is to calculate a percentage of your current income. The most popular number is 70%. If that seems too simple, its because it is. Coming up with a retirement savings amount is much more complicated than just one percentage, and, when the amount is calculated correctly, itâ€™s a lot higher than you might think.
So how do you correctly figure out how much you need to save for retirement? You need to think about the specific, tiny details of your life. While big things like housing make a difference, itâ€™s the little expenditures that add up. Think about your spending in these 7 categories:
- Eating Out â€“ Do you love cooking or eating out? How often do you go out to dinner now? How often do you want to go out in retirement? When youâ€™re out, do you splurge on fancy wine or dessert?
- Digital Spending â€“ All those subscriptions can add up. What digital services do you have now? Consider cable, video games, apps, and online courses. Which will you continue into retirement?
- Pampering â€“ Do you like to treat yourself to things? Think about how often you picture yourself getting a massage, haircut, or nail treatment. Do you belong to a country club now, or do you want to once you retire?
- Travel â€“How big of a role will traveling be in your retirement? How much do you spend on traveling now, from flights and hotels to activities? What kind of traveling do you like to do?
- Recreation and Entertainment â€“ How will you entertain yourself in retirement? Do you enjoy going to the theater or movies? Donâ€™t forget about classes, sports events, museums and other similar activities.
- Shopping â€“ Are you a big shopper? What types of things do you shop for? How much can you see yourself spending on clothing, home goods, electronics or other shopping expenses in retirement?
- Basic Needs â€“ How much do you spend now on housing, utilities, health care and other necessities? Do you expect this number to go up or down in retirement?
These may seem like minor expenses or items, but miscalculating the above 7 things can change youâ€™re retirement saving needs by around $20,000 each year.
Once you have more of an idea of your spending needs, youâ€™ll be able to calculate an accurate amount you need to save. If you need help organizing your data, use online spreadsheets like this one. You can also always get a professional to give you some extra guidance. Find a trustworthy financial advisor on sites like NAPFA.org.
Coming up with a retirement plan doesnâ€™t have to be hard or stressful if you think about it critically and completely.
Can you think of an important retirement expense we may have missed? Comment below. Please check out our other articles for more helpful tips.