25 August 2008

Retirement Planning: A Deficit Model

If you are feeling deficit right about now, that's probably because the conventional wisdom maintains that boomers haven't earned enough, saved enough, or planned enough for retirement. That's a common trend for humans: assume the worst. And the trend is actually a good survival instinct.

The pragmatics of retirement planning are correct: advisers plan for extremes because no one can predict the future. So, the standard assumptions are for high medical costs over a long life span with a need for 80% of your pre-retirement income. Hence, the dire calculator results of You may run out of money at age 78... or 89... or 94.

In order to moderate these predictions, resist the standard expectation that you will need 80% of your income in retirement. (Granted, health costs may be dramatic in the future but even in those terms, don't awfulize.) Instead, try building your retirement budget from the ground up.

My favorite retirement calculator is at Bloomberg.com because I can try out multiple scenarios, including setting "percent of income at retirement" at anywhere between 50% and 150% of current household income. Boomer women should also play with the checkboxes for "If you are married" and "To include Social Security."

On a personal note: Using the Bloomberg calculator, I like to play with predictions of pre-retirement household income that are below my current salary. I also check on what will happen if I make no more contributions to retirement savings...and no salary increases. ~ Lida

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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