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by Bill Ness on April 6th, 20121 Comment

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Retirement planning can be easier than ever with help from valuable online calculators and articles.

According to Money Magazine, an adult who wants to retire in their 50s or early 60s would need 10 to 16 times their salary saved by the time they stop working. Of course, suggestions like this are only a rule of thumb and not a strict guideline for a successful retirement. Plans for your own retirement will vary widely depending on the specifics of your situation.

When planning your retirement, there are many factors to consider. You have to look at your savings, your expected retirement expenses and your potential retirement income. Will you be drawing from a pension or retirement savings plan? When will you begin receiving Social Security benefits? Do you expect to have major expenses, such as travel plans, a vacation home or your children’s college tuition?

Looking at your current income may be a good place to start, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect how much money you will need to live comfortably during your retirement years. You may be able to live on much less if you plan to downsize your home or move to a more affordable area. When figuring out your retirement goals, don’t forget to include expenses like travel or other hobbies. You should also pad in savings toward accidents and unexpected medical expenses.

There are online calculators you can use to help you decide how much money you will need to save before you can retire. Here is one online calculator from Money Magazine designed to answer the question: How much you will need for retirement? This calculator primarily looks at your current age and income, your retirement goals and your life expectancy.

That last item, life expectancy, is one of the most difficult aspects of planning for your retirement. Most people do not like to think about how long they will live, but it is an important part of your plans if you don’t want to outlive your retirement savings.

The Social Security Administration has a Life Expectancy Calculator to help you estimate your years in retirement. Other online life expectancy calculators (like this one from the University of Pennsylvania) add general health and medical history questions to try to give you a more accurate answer. However, these will always be estimates, and it’s best to plan to live longer than you expect.

If you estimate your retirement goals and find that you don’t have enough money saved to retire, you can also use online calculators to help you reach your goals. Money Magazine has two useful calculators to try called What you need to save and How fast will your savings grow?

Like the life expectancy calculators, these retirement calculators make projections based on estimates. They can be helpful in planning, but they don’t offer any guarantees. Another option which may help you get a more specific understanding of your own situation is to meet with a professional financial consultant.

It’s never too early to begin planning your retirement. Online calculators can help you understand the factors which affect your savings, and a professional financial consultant can give you personalized advice toward meeting your retirement goals.

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