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Financial Literacy - Planning for your heirs
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Estate planning tool kit
Calculators, work sheets and resources for getting your estate in order.
Planning for your heirs

Retirement shortfall calculator
   Retirement Shortfall

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Definitions
Current retirement savings: This is your current retirement savings. You should include any savings or investments that are specifically for your retirement. Be careful not to include amounts ear marked for other purposes, such as your children's education.
Monthly contributions: The amount you will contribute each month to your retirement savings. This calculator assumes that you make your contribution at the beginning of each month. We also assume that this amount remains constant until you retire. Your contributions should be the total you save toward your retirement each month. This should include any 403(b), 401(k), or 457(b) plans and your employer contributions to these plans. It should also include any other retirement accounts such as an IRA or a Roth IRA and any retirement savings in non-retirement accounts.
Years before you retire: The number of years you have to save before your retirement. If you are planning on retiring immediately, you should enter a zero.
Number of years in retirement: The number of years you expect to spend in retirement. If this retirement savings plan is intended to support you and your spouse, make sure this is long enough years to account for your spouse's potentially longer lifespan.
Annual retirement expenses: Your after tax retirement expenses. Since this calculator assumes that you will be paying income taxes on interest as it is earned, your expenses should be entered on an after tax basis. Your retirement expenses are increased each year by your expected inflation rate if the "Increase expenses with inflation" box is checked.
Expected inflation rate: What you expect for the average long-term inflation rate. A common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has a long-term average of 3.1% annually, from 1925 through 2007. The CPI for 2007 was 2.4%, as reported by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.
Rate of return before retirement: This is the annually compounded rate of return you expect from your investments before taxes. The actual rate of return is largely dependant on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2007, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 11.4% per year (source: www.standardandpoors.com). During this period, the highest 12-month return was 61%, and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank pay as little as 1% or less.
It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect additional sales charges and fees that funds may charge.
Rate of return during retirement: This is the annual rate of return you expect from your investments during retirement. It is often lower than the return earned before retirement due to more conservative investment choices to help insure a steady flow of income. The actual rate of return is largely dependant on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2007, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 11.4% per year (source: www.standardandpoors.com). During this period, the highest 12-month return was 61%, and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank pay as little as 1% or less.
It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect additional sales charges and fees that funds may charge.
Federal tax rate: Your marginal federal tax rate.
State tax rate: Your marginal state tax rate.

Information and interactive calculators are made available to you as self-help tools for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment advice. We can not and do not guarantee their applicability or accuracy in regard to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues.


-- Posted: Nov. 19, 2007
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