Estimating Retirement Benefits Before Retirement

Written by: Mike Valles

In order to have a secure retirement, you will need to have a sufficient amount of money and be prepared for contingencies. The only way you can be sure that you have enough is to be able to rather accurately calculate your expected retirement benefits. Seeing what can be expected at the rate which you are currently saving money may be a real eye opener, and it could help you adjust your savings to adequately prepare for a better retirement.

Accuracy of Retirement Calculators

Calculating retirement benefits is not an exact science, but it will be more or less accurate with some aspects of it, such as Social Security. A number of factors that are often assumed, such as cost of living, being able to continue making an income, or estimating how long you expect to live, may change at some point and throw the accuracy to the wind.

Other factors that could easily change are the amount of interest your money will earn, and whether or not your investment sustains any losses. Both of these could seriously affect your ability to have a sufficient amount of money for retirement at a specific age.

Specialized Retirement Benefit Calculators

If you have worked within a specific field, it is quite possible that your agency may have its own retirement benefits calculator. This kind of calculator would give you a more precise answer than one would that were more generic. Teachers, railroad employees, union members and government employees would all have their own agencies’ calculators.

The AARP Retirement Calculator

One calculator that will give you an overview of your retirement benefits is the AARP Retirement Calculator. It enables you to enter a number of factors which will help you get a more accurate picture of what you can expect when you retire at a particular age. It also takes into consideration your spouse’s age and when he/she will retire.

The Social Security Calculator

The Social Security Administration has its own calculators to help you understand more accurately what your income will be from them. There are several calculators available, and this includes ones that reveal the benefits for survivors and disability benefits, a quick calculator (provides a rough estimate), the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and more. If necessary, you can also get your Social Security Statement online. A Detailed Calculator is also available which provides more accurate results. It must be downloaded first and will run on your computer.

Calculate All Retirement Benefits for an Accurate Estimate

In order to know exactly how much retirement income you will have, you will need to add all sources of income together. Generally, this includes your employment retirement income, Social Security benefits, and your personal savings.

No matter which calculator you use, there is a basic formula that you should follow to provide enough for your retirement. It is generally suggested by financial advisors that you have 70 to 80 percent of your income for a safe retirement figure. This is for a two income household. A single income household should work toward 90 percent.


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Estimating Retirement Benefits Before Retirement

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