Last Updated Jul 20, 2009 4:41 PM EDT
How much income will I need in retirement?
During an average retirement you'll need 70-80 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain the standard of living you enjoy while working, according to most estimates. You don't need to reproduce your full paycheck, according to this thinking, because you'll no longer have work-related expenses like commuting costs and Social Security taxes.
But who plans on having an average retirement? To protect against unpleasant surprises, you should sit down and estimate your expenses yourself. Take your current spending and adjust it based on the ways your expenses are likely to change after you retire. You'll have lower commuting costs, but your medical costs are likely to rise. You may not have a mortgage, but you may spend more on travel and recreation.
The following links offer tools for building a retirement budget and estimating retirement health care costs, as well as tips for uncovering your own retirement income rules of thumb.
MoneyWatch's Jill Schlesinger does the math for you -- and explains how you can protect against unpleasant surprises.
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Whether you're working for a company or self-employed, these tax-favored savings plans can help you get your retirement account growing again.
Come up with a monthly spending plan using this tool, which compares income with expenses to see what needs to be adjusted.
Calculate the likelihood of your savings lasting through retirement, and devise alternatives in case of a shortfall.
Health care costs are on the rise, and individuals must shoulder more of the burden. Use this guide to plan for the expense of long-term health care.
Guidelines to figuring out how much income you'll need to live on.