BOSTON (CBS) – You cannot pick up a magazine or newspaper today without a reference to Boomers needing to postpone their retirement because of the economy. According to a ING survey (3/09)

  • Nearly half of all Americans (47%) have “no clue” how much money they need to retire
  • 65% of Americans have not adjusted their retirement investments to save more
  • One in five Americans is still banking on Social Security to be their main source of retirement income

Some experts believe you are going to need to have a million dollars for a comfortable retirement.

Experts also say you’ll need between 70-80% of your current income. But it is an old measure they’re using! You really need to try to project how much income you’ll need in retirement.

Most boomers have not saved a million dollars, and if you have you are golden. But the reality is that you can get by quite nicely on less. But no matter how much you have saved you need to do some planning.

You start by looking at your current expenses. The closer you are to retiring the more accurate this exercise will be. How much does it cost you annually to maintain your lifestyle?

You want to include your groceries, insurance, transportation, real estate taxes, excise taxes, gas and other expenses. That’s what it costs to maintain your lifestyle today. Now back out any expense you won’t have in retirement such as work clothes, your mortgage (for you would like to go into retirement with that paid off), your contributions to your retirement plans, maybe school loan payments you are helping the kids with.

Now add in any extra expenses you may anticipate in retirement such as traveling, hobbies and medical expenses. That will give you a number in today’s dollars. Now we just have to figure out what that number will look like in the future.

Checkout the various internet calculators to figure out how much you’ll need in the future and how much more you may need to save to reach your retirement goals. Your retirement plan provider has one you can access on line and the one I use most often is Choose to Save.

AARP also has some good material on their website as well as a retirement planning calculator.

The major mutual fund companies, Fidelity, Vanguard and T Rowe Price also have calculators as well as good information on their sites.

One more thing:  So often people get discouraged because after doing the calculations they realize that the dream of retiring early may be just that – a dream. So to make it a reality you may have to change your current lifestyle to save more now or plan to work part-time in retirement. Or both! Take the time to find out where you are in reaching your goal of a comfortable retirement.

Comments (2)
  1. Linder says:

    That is a good article. But what about the people who, for some reason, dont have enough money when they get to retirement. I hear all this talk, finacial adisers, articles and Suzie Orman screaming SAVE,SAVE and GET OUT OF DEBT!!! ,… but its now too late.

    My ex took care of the money and retirement funds. I trusted and believed when he said after 29 year marriage, that there was no retirement. I gave him the house and he gave me some stock,(half the price of the house). Just wanted it to be fair.

    He remarried and retired a couple years later to over 800,000 buy-out pkg from his work, not to mention her teachers retirement and social security for two and God knows what else he had hidden. I had no idea. I felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks. Nothng I can do now, but swim and smile. He travels all over the US in a new motor home and I live in trailer parlk with no money to do anything, but bide my time.

    I have asked, and asked and no one can tell me what happens to people like myself when your money is gone. All I can say is PLAN PLA N PLAN. Cant say enough about it people, especially the ladies,… be smart. Know what is going on with your money and keep on top of it. Find out the best way to protect your retirement money and do what you have to, to ensure that life.