Retirement Planning Calculator

This calculator helps you to determine what sort of lifestyle you can expect to have during retirement, by showing you your 401(k) account balance both before and during retirement. The goal is to let you experiment with different savings amounts so that you can see what effect they will have during your years in retirement.

If you look at this table and see the retirement account value going negative at some point, it means you either need to:

  • Increase the contribution to your 401(k) account
  • Plan to work longer before retiring
  • Scale back your desired retirement income
Salary
Enter your current annual salary or annual wages here. If you are married, enter the sum of both of your salaries.
Contribution percentage
Enter a percentage between 1% and 15% that represents the percentage of your income that you wish to withhold into your 401(k) account. The withholding may not exceed 15%. Also, a person cannot contribute more than $11,000 to a 401(k) account (2002 limit) in any year, so adjust this percentage to make sure that the total annual withholding does not exceed $11,000. If you are married, you can both save up to $11,000 for a potential total of $22,000.
Match percentage
If your company matches your contributions, enter the matching percentage it uses (for example, if your company matches 3% of your salary, enter 3 here). If your company does not match, enter 0.
Pre-retirement interest rate
Enter the interest rate you expect to earn on your 401(k) account prior to retirement. To give you two ideas, current CD rates run between 5% and 6%, while the stock market has returned an average of 10% or so for many years. For 6%, enter 6 in the entry field. Typically, you would invest more aggressively prior to retirement and then move the money to less-risky investments after retiring.
Post-retirement interest rate
Enter the interest rate you expect to earn once you retire. See the previous field for an explanation. You might enter 10 in the previous field and 6 here, for example.
Inflation rate
Enter the expected inflation rate during the coming years. 4% is a good average number for the past 10 years and would work well here. If you are more pessimistic, choose a higher number.
Salary increase rate
Presumably, your salary will rise over the years. It should, at a minimum, rise with the inflation rate in the form of cost-of-living increases. It may rise faster than that depending on the job you hold. Enter the rate at which you expect your salary or wages to increase. If you are unsure, enter the inflation rate from the previous field here.
Current 401(k) value
Enter the current value of any 401(k) accounts you have now.
Current age
Expected retirement age
Enter the age at which you plan to retire. 65 is normal, but you might want to consider early retirement options.
Desired retirement income
Enter the amount of money you would like to be able to spend each year during retirement -- in today's dollars. For example, if you look at yourself and say, "If I were to retire today, I would feel comfortable if I had $30,000 per year to spend," then enter $30,000 here. Remember that you will have to pay taxes on that amount just like you do today, so take that fact into account. A good ballpark figure recommended by many financial experts is 80% of what you currently make per year.
Click the button to see your retirement outlook.
401(k) contribution
This field shows how much money you are contributing to your 401(k) account per year given the contribution percentage you entered above. If this value exceeds $11,000, adjust the percentage you entered.
Matching contribution
This field shows how much money your employer is contributing to your 401(k) account based on the matching percentage you entered above.
401(k) account value at retirement
This will be the total value of your 401(k) account when you retire.
Years in Retirement Value
At the end of 1 year
At the end of 2 years
At the end of 3 years
At the end of 4 years
At the end of 5 years
At the end of 10 years
At the end of 15 years
At the end of 20 years
At the end of 30 years
At the end of 40 years

If you look at this table and see the retirement account value going negative at some point, it means you either need to:

  • Increase the contribution to your 401(k) account
  • Plan to work longer before retiring
  • Scale back your desired retirement income

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