How Much Money Do I Need to Retire (Infographic)
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How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? (Infographic)

by Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD

Planning for retirement can be really intimidating. There are so many different retirement plans and variables to think about which can influence your lifestyle after you retire. Actually putting enough money aside and saving for retirement is even more challenging.

We at conducted thorough research to answer for you a deceivingly simple question: “How much money do I need to retire?” But that is just one of the questions we’ve answered in this post, others include:

  • How long can you expect to enjoy retirement?
  • How much money do you really need to retire?
  • Will a million dollars last long enough?
  • What are the new retirement savings targets experts recommend?
  • How much money should you have saved by the time you turn 30, 40, 50, 60, and on the day you retire?
  • What is the “multiply by 25 rule” and the “4% retirement rule?”
  • What percentage of your salary should you set aside?
  • How does the American nest egg reality compare to the recommendations?
  • What are the actual retirement savings balances and contribution rates?
  • What are the differences between 401(k), Roth 401(k), IRA, and Roth IRA retirement plans?
  • What are the best places to retire in the US and overseas?

Yes, we’ve digested all of the above information and presented it in an easy-to-understand visual format – a stunning infographic that features 77 key retirement stats & facts. Let’s uncover some of the most important retirement statistics you need to know, starting with the average retirement age in the USA.

Take a good look at the infographic and then join us in the discussion below!

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire (Infographic)

What Is the Average Retirement Age in America?

The average American retires at around 60 years of age (59.88). Currently, there are about 60 million retirees in the US. 54.74% of them are women, while men make up 45.26% of them.

If we take a look at the most common age to retire, the numbers suggest that most people retire at the age of 62. Additionally, the most recent statistics show that roughly two-thirds of retirees stopped working between the ages of 57 and 66.

What Is the Full Retirement Age?

The full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which a person becomes eligible to get the full amount of their social security benefits. However, the FRA isn’t the same for everyone, as it depends on your year of birth. It also varies from country to country.

In America, the minimum age for becoming eligible to receive social security benefits currently sits at 62 years of age. The statistics also show that most Americans—90% of them—retire at the age of 66, which currently is the minimum FRA.

When Can I Retire?

Providing you’ve worked for at least 10 years, you become eligible for social security. In this case, the earliest you’ll start receiving benefits is at 62 years of age. However, to get the benefits, you must collect 40 work credits. You get credits by paying social security taxes, and the maximum number of credits you can get per year is 4.

According to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) standards, if you retire before 62, you’ll get less money than you would had you retired at the FRA. Taking this into account, think carefully about when to retire. The goal isn’t just to retire but to retire comfortably when you’re eligible for the full retirement benefits.

How the SSA Calculates Benefits

Your monthly payment depends on three factors:

  • Your average earnings during your work years,
  • How long you’ve worked, and
  • When you started collecting benefits.

You can begin receiving them before, at, or after reaching your FRA. All of these factors should be taken into consideration before retirement.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire Comfortably?

For a long time, $1 million was considered the amount required to retire comfortably. However, depending on the state you live in, that amount can last for anywhere between 11 and 25 years.

If you live and work in Mississippi, we have some excellent news for you. According to the latest data, in the Magnolia State, this sum will last for 25 years, 11 months, and 30 days. Apart from Mississippi, other states where your dollar will last for at least 24 years are Oklahoma, Michigan, Arkansas, and Alabama.

In contrast to a million’s longevity in these five states, the numbers are quite different in Hawaii, even though three Hawaiian islands are considered among the best places to retire. On average, your dollar will last 11 years, 8 months, and 20 days in Hawaii.

So, What Are the New Retirement Savings Goals?

Taking how long your dollar will last in different states out of the equation, we have some other retirement savings targets.

According to Fortune, you’ll need 60% of your pre-tax income. Sources such as Nerdwallet and CNBC claim that you’ll need 70% of your pre-tax income, whereas the Motley Fool further increases retirement savings targets to 80% of your pre-tax income.

When it comes to actual sums, both AARP and the Retirement Living Information Center put the retirement savings target between $1 million and $1.5 million. Furthermore, AARP suggests that your savings goal can also be equal to 10 to 12 times your current pay.

Money estimates that the amount you’ll need to retire is 11 times higher than your final pay. Fidelity Investments has an even more detailed estimate, suggesting you’ll need 10 times your final pay at the age of 67.

If you want to discover the exact numbers you’ll need to retire comfortably, use a retirement savings calculator. This tool will help you learn how much money you’ll have once you retire based on various factors. Some of these factors are your annual savings, at what age you plan on retiring, etc.

Retirement Savings Factors

When calculating your retirement savings, it’s essential to adjust two values: the age at which you plan on retiring and the lifestyle you want to lead.

When it comes to your expected retirement age, you can set this value between 62 and 70 years of age. Providing you want to retire at 67, and you’re currently 30 years old, your savings should be equal to 10 times your salary at 67. In this instance, you should also opt for an average lifestyle, or the same lifestyle you’re currently leading.

You could also choose to spend around 15% less upon retirement than you’re currently spending. This change in lifestyle would decrease your retirement savings to 8 times your salary at 67. Why not be smart and take every opportunity you can to save.

In contrast, choosing an “above the average” lifestyle—i.e., spending 15% more than you’re currently spending—your average retirement savings by age increases. This increase would translate to 12 times your salary at 67 years of age.

The Multiply by 25 Rule

Another way to find out how much money you’ll need in retirement is to multiply your desired annual income by 25.

Let’s say you wanted your annual income to be $70,000. If you multiply that by 25, you’ll get $1.75 million, which is how much money you’ll need to retire.

The 4% Rule

Apart from the Multiply by 25 rule, there’s also something called the 4% rule. This rule doesn’t focus on how much to save for retirement. Instead, it gives you an estimate of how much money you should withdraw from your retirement savings fund.

As you might have guessed, according to this rule, you should withdraw 4% of your retirement savings in the first year of retirement. After that, your withdrawals should stay at 4%, but they should be inflation-adjusted.

If we take the same example, where you’d gather $1.75 million with an annual income of $70,000, during your first year of retirement you should withdraw $70,000. According to the 4% rule, you should be able to withdraw $70,000 plus the rate of inflation for 25 years.

The Multiply by 25 and 4% rules give a rough answer to the question “how much money do you need to retire?” Additionally, they help you determine how much money you should withdraw each year. However, these rules exclude social security benefits and any other retirement savings. Plus, these rules have been tested, and they work in most situations, but not always.

Life Expectancy

When talking about retirement, it’s impossible to leave out time, i.e., how long your retirement savings should last. If we look at US workers only, the average life expectancy is 79.3 years. So when calculating average retirement savings, retirees should adjust their savings based on the average life expectancy.

Life Expectancy by State

Hawaii leads the race with the highest life expectancy at 81.3 years. Trailing behind Hawaii is Minnesota (81.1 years). Connecticut ranks third with an average lifetime of 80.8 years. Other states that found a place at the top of the list include California, Massachusetts, and New York.

The conclusion we can draw from these numbers is that the answer to the question “how much should I save for retirement?” varies from state to state. For example, Mississippi has the shortest life expectancy at 75 years, while Hawaii’s residents live 6 years longer on average.

Life Expectancy Worldwide

The average lifespan worldwide is currently 71.5 years. Women live 4 years and 4 months longer than men, at an average of 72 years and 8 months.

Japan ranks first when it comes to longevity worldwide. Japanese people typically live for 83.7 years. Spain, which also happens to be one of the best places to retire in the world, has a life expectancy just a touch lower, at 82.8 years.

In sharp contrast, Sierra Leone has the shortest life span of 50.1 years. Ironically, the national retirement age in Sierra Leone is 60 years.

What You Need to Know About Retirement Plans

The 401(k) is the most popular retirement plan among Americans. As much as 78% of US workers have chosen it as their main savings method. According to 401(k) guidelines, you should set aside at least 10% of your gross earnings into your retirement fund. Ideally, however, you should reserve 15% or more of your gross earnings.

To simplify things and get a rough estimate, you can use a 401(k) retirement calculator to see how your savings will increase based on your monthly contribution, the age of retirement, rate of return, and so on.

What Do the Real-Life Numbers Say?

If you can set aside 15% or more of your gross income, that’s excellent news. However, alarming statistics show that 50% of Americans have less than $10,000 in their retirement savings. Furthermore, a third of them don’t have any savings for their retirement, while 50% of Americans start saving for retirement at 36 years of age or later.

What Is the Average 401(k) Balance in the US?

How much money do I need to retire early? This is one of the most common questions among US workers. However, the question real question should be whether retiring early is even a possibility.

The average 401(k) balance in the US is $102,900, and the average contribution is 6.2%. What happens when we compare these numbers to the recommended savings, i.e., 15% or more of your gross income? Well, it becomes clear that there’s an imbalance in what you should do and what’s financially possible.

Average 401(k) Contributions in America by Age

When it comes to retirement savings by age, those in the 20–29 age range have both the lowest 401(k) balance and the lowest contribution rates. The average savings in this age group stand at $11,500, with an average contribution rate of 6.8%.

The contribution rates in the 30–39 age group are slightly higher (7.6%). However, their 401(k) balance is nearly four times higher compared to those from the 20–29 group ($42,700). Nevertheless, the numbers show that it won’t be common for members of these groups to retire early.

Next, the average contribution rate for the 40–49 age group is 8.4%, while their 401(k) balance stands at $103,500.

Lastly, the highest retirement savings and contribution rates are recorded among those in the 50–59 and 60–69 age groups. Their contribution rates stand at 10% and 11.1% respectively. When it comes to retirement savings, workers from the 50–59 age group gathered $174,200 on average, while the 60–69 group has slightly higher savings at $198,200.

Types of Retirement Plans

There are four main types of retirement plans, including traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) plans, as well as traditional IRA and Roth IRA plans. If you diversify your savings portfolio, you might change your answer to the question: “how much money do I need to retire?” The fact is, you’re under no obligation to use a single savings plan, and you can have both a 401(k) and an IRA.

Here’s what you should know about each of these plans.

Traditional 401(k) vs. Roth 401(k) vs. Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA

Both traditional and Roth 401(k) plans are set up by an employer, while with IRA plans, an individual sets it up. With each of these plans, it’s handy to use a retirement income calculator to check your savings progress.

The contributions with Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA are post-tax. When it comes to traditional 401(K) plans, the contributions are pre-tax. Conversely, with a traditional IRA, your contributions are deductible and can be both pre-tax and post-tax.

The traditional version of 401(k) and IRA distributions are taxed as ordinary income. As far as Roth savings plans go, the distributions aren’t taxable.

The distribution age is the same for all four types of savings accounts—at 59.5 years or in the case of the account owner becoming disabled. Additionally, Roth plans have an extra clause: the account has to have been open for a minimum of 5 years.

While discussing the “how much do I need to retire?” topic, we can’t leave out the free money often available with a 401(k) plan. Namely, some employers offer to match your contributions. This is usually 50% and up to 100% of your contribution and can be as high as 6% of your annual gross salary.

In most cases, you need to stay with a company for several years until your employer’s match money becomes yours. In contrast, contributions aren’t possible with IRA plans. Still, if you’re trying to figure out how to retire early, take advantage of an employer match if you can. 

The contribution limits with traditional and Roth 401(k) plans go up to $19,000 for workers under 50, and up to $25,000 for those older than 50 years. With IRA plans, your contribution will be significantly lower, at $6,000 when you’re 49 or younger, and $7,000 after that.

Only a Roth IRA doesn’t have a forced distribution age. However, IRA plans don’t support loans, unlike 401(k) plans.

Choose a Plan That Works Best for You

As you can see, there are benefits and drawbacks to each of the four plans we’ve talked about. It doesn’t matter whether you want to retire early or just enjoy your retirement without financial worries. No matter what, you’ll want to explore each of these plans in detail to find out which of them will be of the greatest benefit to you. 

Final Tips

One of the first things you should do is to write down your retirement plan. Next, estimate your expenses, and calculate the minimum amount of money you’ll need once you retire. Don’t forget to include inflation in the final equation. If you aren’t satisfied with your retirement income, you should consider adding an additional source of income sooner rather than later.

Additionally, you can move to a state that has low taxes. Taking tax rates and healthcare costs as well as quality into account, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, stands out as the top place to retire in the US. 

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire at 40?

We’ll calculate this using the Multiply by 25 and 4% rules. Let’s say your desired retirement income is $50,000. Multiply that by 25, and you’ll get $1.25 million. This is the amount you need to retire, providing you can set aside $1.25 million by the age of 40. Your annual withdrawal rate should be 4% of the total sum (adjusted for inflation).

The same equation answers the question: “how much money do I need to retire at 65?” However, finding out how much you need for retirement is the easy part. The tricky part is actually saving that much money.

According to the latest retirement statistics, only 17% of Americans believe they have enough money for retirement. However, only 10% of them have a written financial plan, while nearly half of them don’t even have a retirement strategy.

These stats lead us to the conclusion that retirement preparation is essential. Based on the 401(k) statistics, 157,000 people had more than $1 million in their 401(k) accounts in the first quarter of 2018. The key factor here is that most people have been making contributions to their 401(k) plan for over 30 years.

So, How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?

As we’ve already established, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you shouldn’t only focus on the actual sum you need to retire, but on how to earn it. If you take a long-term approach toward retirement preparations, the chances are high you’ll meet your retirement income target.

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