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How can I benchmark my expected retirement income against others my age/ work income level?

I want to see how I fit into a retirement income comparison for others with a similar work income level/age.

May 28, 2014 by C from Foristell, MO in  |  Flag
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3 votes


But isn’t your financial situation unique? What if you learn that your projected retirement income is 50% above the average for your age but you don’t know your spending is 100% above? You may look at the 50% above benchmark and feel you have succeeded even when you are on a path to eating cat food under a bridge. Or what if you are 20% above and the average American worker you benchmark against is going to fail to meet their retirement goal? You won’t likely meet yours either and you will not feel any better about it even though you aren’t as bad off as the average.

Instead don’t worry about everyone else.
1) Identify how much monthly income you will need in retirement. 2) Subtract from this figure your guaranteed retirement income (Social Security and Pension) 3) If you income won’t cover your desired spending you have a gap.
4) Inflate the gap amount by 3% a year until retirement. 5) Multiply the answer by 12 and divide by 4.5%. This will tell you how much you need to have in retirement investments when you retire to be able to withdraw 4.5% the first year and inflate this amount annually by 3% with a decent probability of not outliving your money during your retirement. This assumes you will invest properly during retirement do that your investments outpace inflation (earn a real return). Save and invest to achieve the retirement balance total.

A better idea is to hire a financial planner and pay them to determine if you are on track to a dignified retirement or not. If not they can tell you what you have to do to achieve it.

I’m sorry I didn’t take your question seriously. I really am just trying to help. Forget benchmarking. Just set financial goals and work hard to reach them. That’s what will give you financial security.

1 Comment   |  Flag   |  May 28, 2014 from Woodbridge, VA

I think seeing others prepare and see how much the average retiree makes work (with the same numbers) can be a rich lesson. Benchmarking is an average to understand the climate of financial retirement.

Flag |  May 29, 2014 near Foristell, MO

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2 votes

What John says is true. When you are ready to get serious about retirement planning, it is time to move beyond simple one size fits all rules of thumb and start doing the math. Forget the 4% rule! and the 80% of pre retirement income guideline. These are fine as very rough guides, along with other rules of thumb like "save 10% every year" but they do not allow for individual circumstances, lifestyle choices, and goals. For instance, how could the same formula apply to the family with no debt who only spends 1/2 of their monthly paycheck as to the couple that only recently refinanced their home with a $500,000 30 year mortgage? Or the retiree whose kids are grown and independent, vs. the one who is still borrowing to put his kids through college? The one who will be selling his large home in a high tax state to move into a condo in a low tax state, vs. the one who wants to continue living in the large high maintenance home.

The point is everyone is unique, and sound financial planning means doing the math. Furthermore, the older and closer to retirement you get, the more important doing the math becomes.

1 Comment   |  Flag   |  May 29, 2014 from Bridgewater, NJ

Get serious about retirement planning - who isn't! I have run my numbers to the inth but believe seeing an overall average result for my age and income can be a good benchmark. Thanks for the feedback. I understand where you are coming from but would appreciate guidance on a benchmark.

Flag |  May 29, 2014 near Foristell, MO

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