Am I saving enough for retirement?

Making the decision to retire has huge financial implications. With the rising cost of living, increased medical costs and longer life expectancy, it is not surprising that outliving their retirement savings is second only to out-of-pocket medical expenses as the biggest financial concern of retirees. Proper planning can help you stay on track with your retirement savings.

To determine whether you will have enough income to last throughout your retirement, you need to review your potential income sources, anticipated expenses and life expectancy.

Your potential retirement income sources can come from several places including Social Security, pensions, investment accounts and employer-sponsored savings plans, to name a few. Remember the day and age you choose to retire could play a role in how much income you can receive each month. For example, if you were born after 1938 and choose to receive Social Security benefits at age 62 rather than wait until your full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced to compensate for the expected longer period in which you will receive benefits. However, if you wait, the benefit could increase.

Once you know your income sources, you will need to estimate your potential retirement expenses might be. Remember to include both fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses come from purchases like cars or homes that are the same amount each month. Variable expenses include things like utilities that fluctuate each month. You also need to consider whether your average monthly expenses are going to increase or decrease based on the retirement lifestyle you want to have. For example, if you plan to stay home more in retirement, your fuel expenses will likely decrease because you will no longer be driving to work each day. However, if you plan to travel a lot, your fuel costs may stay the same or even increase.

Life expectancies continue to increase, which means you likely will need to stretch your retirement income over a longer period than your parents or grandparents. The U.S. Social Security Administration has a life expectancy calculator available online at https://www.ssa.gov/oact/population/longevity.html.

eXtension offers a Ballpark E$timate, a two-page workshop and interactive form online that can help you determine how much savings you will need to live comfortably in retirement. You can view this tool at https://articles.extension.org/pages/12960/ballpark-etimate. You also can receive more information on family financial management at the Bell County Office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Rebecca Miller is the Bell County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Kelly May, senior extension associate