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How to use Credit Karma’s retirement calculator
Figuring out how much you can save for retirement doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Our retirement calculator can help you estimate how much money you may be able to save by the time you’re ready to stop working. Plus, it can help you see how your nest egg could grow over time, and how much money you may have for your expenses in retirement.
Keep in mind that the results of this calculator are only an estimate and are based on the information you provide. The calculator doesn’t consider certain factors that can influence your retirement savings, such as other forms of income like Social Security, pensions or other investment income. And it doesn’t factor in things that could impact your income, such as inflation, a change in career or job loss.
To use the calculator, you’ll need to answer a few questions, like …
- How old are you?
- At what age do you want to retire?
- Annual income
- Estimated annual salary increase
- How much will you contribute?
- Current retirement savings
- How long will you use your retirement savings as income?
- Estimated annual rate of return
How old are you?
Start by entering your current age.
At what age do you want to retire?
Enter the age you’d like to stop working.
Put in your gross yearly salary, before taxes.
Estimated annual salary increase
Provide an estimate of how much — as a percentage — you expect your salary to increase through your last working year before retirement.
How much will you contribute?
Enter the percentage of your salary you currently contribute to your retirement plan, or the percentage that you expect to contribute.
Current retirement savings
Put in your current balance of assets saved for retirement. This may include your 401k, IRA or other traditional retirement investment account. But it shouldn’t include any pensions or expected Social Security income.
How long will you use your retirement savings as income?
This can be tricky to estimate — think about how many years you’ll need to live off your retirement savings alone. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 77 years, according to the CDC, but if you’re already 40 years old or older, you can expect to live into your 80s. This could mean you may need to rely on your retirement savings for 20 to 30 years.
Estimated annual rate of return
This is the percentage change in value you expect to see on your investments each year. Over the last 140 years, the average 10-year return in the stock market is 9.2%, according to Goldman Sachs — but actual returns can vary widely.
Using the calculator to plan for retirement
Our retirement calculator can help you see if you’re on the right track to saving for your retirement goals. Based on the information you enter, the calculator can help you estimate …
- Your retirement savings. This is an estimate of cash you could have on hand when you reach your desired retirement age. If you’re not happy with your results, you can play around with the amount you plan to contribute.
- Years to save for retirement. The longer you have until retirement, the more time you have to set money aside. Try out different scenarios to see what works best for your financial goals.
- Your retirement income per year. The calculator can also tell you how your retirement savings may translate into yearly income — money you may be able to live on when you retire.
As you use the calculator, you may want to play around with some of the inputs to create different scenarios to see how your results change. For example, increasing how much you contribute — by even a little — could have a dramatic impact on your retirement savings.
Let’s say you’re 35 with zero retirement savings and plan to stop working at age 67, you’ll likely have 31 years to put money aside. With a current salary of $60,000 and an expected income increase of 2%, if you contribute 10% of your income to retirement savings and have an 8% annual rate of return, you’d be able to save $902,008. This works out to an annual retirement income of $45,100 that you can live on for 20 years.
How much money do I need to retire?
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have at least 70% of your pre-retirement income in order to maintain your standard of living and lifestyle in retirement. While Social Security benefits can help offset some of the difference between your savings and projected retirement spending, you may still have a significant gap to fill.
That’s why retirement savings are so important. And the earlier you can begin setting money aside, the better. Your money can grow over time, so it’s great to start sooner than later — even if you can only afford to put a little cash aside at first.
If your employer offers a retirement plan, such as a 401k, it may be a good idea participate and contribute the maximum you can comfortably afford — especially if your employer matches contributions. That’s essentially free money that you can use to help boost your retirement savings.
Retirement savings options
When it comes to saving up for retirement, you may have options.Let’s take a closer look at some retirement income options that could help you prepare for the future.
- Social Security — This is a federal program that offers monthly Social Security benefits to people in retirement. The amount you’ll be eligible to receive is based on your income during your career.
- Pension — A pension is a retirement plan that some employers offer that provides a certain amount of monthly income during retirement. The amount you qualify for is typically based on how long you’ve worked for the employer and your salary while employed.
- 401k — A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows you to set aside a percentage of your pretax salary. The money typically gets invested in options like mutual funds.
- 403(b) — This type of retirement plan is similar to a 401k but is for people that work for public schools and certain charities.
- 457(b) — A 457(b) is another type of employer-sponsored retirement account that may be available to state and local government employees, plus workers at some nongovernmental organizations.
- Thrift savings plan — This is the version of a 401k that’s available to federal government employees.
- IRAs — Individual retirement arrangements, or IRAs, are not sponsored by an employer, but they give you the ability to save for retirement with tax advantages. A traditional IRA allows you to set aside money and deduct your contributions on your taxes. A Roth IRA is funded with dollars you can’t deduct on your taxes, but the withdrawals are tax-free when you retire.
- Other investments — You may choose to invest money in real estate, stocks, bonds or other securities with a goal of saving for retirement. Generally, you don’t have contribution limits with these alternatives, but you could miss out on some tax advantages.
Consider a financial adviser
Want some extra help planning for retirement? A financial adviser may be able to help you organize your retirement savings plan, determine how much you can comfortably save and make investment decisions. As you approach retirement age, your financial planner can help you set a budget and make recommendations based on the income you can expect in retirement.