Financial advisers use different metrics to calculate retirement needs. Many suggest that clients accumulate enough savings during their working life to replace 70-85% of their pre-retirement income. Some even recommend 100% or more to generate the capital needed to pursue a hobby or travel. These common approaches may be out of date, given the explosion of baby boomers who remain in the workforce after age 65 or 66, often accepting pay cuts instead of sitting at home in their rocking chairs.

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Fidelity Investments recommends saving at least 1 times your pre-retirement income at age 30, 3 times at 40, 7 times at 55, and 10 times at 67. If you think you will need $ 100,000 per year after you retire, you should have $ 100,000 in savings at age 30, $ 300,000 at age 40, and so on. These recommendations assume that clients will save 15% of their annual income each year starting at age 25, with more than 50% of those savings allocated to stocks. Realistically, many young people don't have that level of disposable income at age 25 due to student loan commitments or internships, meaning that a higher annual commitment will be required at a later start date.

It can be difficult for young people to focus on retirement planning, but it's relatively easy to visualize the post-work years with a self-exam that considers their expected lifestyle and how they might want to spend their entire life savings. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) facilitates that introspective task with its Mail and Consumption Activity Survey (CAMS), which describes how older Americans spend their money and how those allowances change throughout the senior years.

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Housing costs exceeded all other categories by a wide margin, remaining firmly above 40% between the ages of 50 and 85. Not surprisingly, health care costs start out relatively small (8% at age 50) and more than double to 19% at age 85. together, they are expected to eventually spend more than 60% of their retirement dollars simply to stay alive and keep a roof over their heads. Now imagine how difficult it is to meet those simple needs if income is limited to a monthly Social Security check. Unfortunately, millions of Americans now face that life-threatening challenge because they failed to set or address their investment goals earlier in life.

The gender gap makes it harder for women to reach retirement goals than men, according to research firm Aon Hewitt. Their 2016 study found that 83% of American women weren't saving enough for retirement, compared to 74% of men. They estimate that a woman will need 11.5 times her final income to meet her retirement needs, compared to 10.6 times for a man. Aon Hewitt also projects that women need to work one more year, up to age 69, to make up the shortfall. The longer life expectancy of women intensifies this retirement gap, and their savings are needed for more years.

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These figures are especially concerning because, as the study points out, men and women participate in 401 (k) plans at the same 79%, but women reserve an average of 7.5% of their salary while men assign an average of 8.7% , a deficit. made worse by the lower average purchasing power of women. In 2015, 401 (k) balances for women were just 59% of the total for men: $ 71,060 vs. $ 119,150. While the authors suggest changes to plans to encourage higher savings rates, this disparity is likely to continue as long as the gender pay gap in the workplace remains.