As 2018 draws to a close and you look at retirement savings goals for 2019, I want to offer some thoughts on your nest egg beyond just “Save, Save, Save!” into those 401(k) and IRA accounts.
#1: Understand how long you might live: The difference between living to age 80 vs. 90 makes a big difference in how much you need to save for retirement. You can take a comparative look at the older generations of your family to get a good guess on life expectancy. Here are two websites you might also find useful:
Longevity Illustrator — useful for single or couple, shows combined life expectancies of one or both for a couple.
Living to 100 — this site does require you to create a login, but it goes into much greater detail about your life factors.
#2: Know how much to save: A survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed half of workers over age 55 have not yet attempted to calculate how much they will need to retire and enjoy their current lifestyle. Vanguard has a quick tool to help you with this. If you would like to do a more detailed analysis, check out New Retirement. I have subscribed to this site for quite some time and have found they send only a useful monthly newsletter and do not sell your info in a way that generates spam.
#3: Realize the benefits of postponing Social Security: While we all worry about the fate of Social Security, it still represents a significant portion of retirement income for most households. Almost two-thirds of people do not know they can add an extra 6% to 8% each year they delay claiming benefits between ages 62 and 70. Claiming too early can be a costly mistake. There is no rule-of-thumb that fits every situation, so I encourage you to know your numbers by regularly checking your Social Security benefits estimate and the Social Security Retirement Planner. For couples, keep in mind that the lower-earning spouse can either claim his or her own benefit, or half the benefit of the higher-earning spouse. Same applies to anyone who was married for ten years and subsequently divorced (with a few stipulations).
Stay tuned for more end-of-year thoughts and tips!