Actor Kirk Douglas, of “Champion” and “Lust for Life” fame, recently turned 100 years old. If you’re likely to surpass the average American’s life expectancy of 79 years old and live to be 100 like Douglas, you’ll need to prepare for it.
One retirement planning rule of thumb is that you need about 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your lifestyle in retirement. If you made the average national wage of $46,120, according to the Social Security Administration, that means you need to bring in about $37,000 per year, or at least $1.3 million total for retirement costs.
The Social Security Administration considers full retirement age to be 66, but our calculations start at age 65 for 35 years of expenditures. Read on to find out just how much money you’ll need in retirement if you live to 100.
Retirement Costs for Food
Budgeting for food for a 35-year period can be daunting, so it helps to work within a reasonable range of estimates. Men age 71 and up spend between $169 and $340 per month on food, according to the latest food plan data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Women in the same age group spend slightly less, at $157 to $297 per month. On average, men and women age 71 and up spend $240.75 per month on food, or $2,889 per year.
Another figure, from the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) consumer expenditure survey, estimated that food spending for that age group is closer to $6,214 per year. The BLS data included costs for food eaten outside of the home.
Based on the average of the USDA and BLS estimates, which is $4,552 per year, 35 years of food could cost you $159,320.
Retirement Costs for Healthcare
Your healthcare is another expense you need to plan for in retirement. For starters, the standard Medicare premium in 2017 is $134 per month, according to Medicare.gov. Your premium can vary based on your income and Social Security benefits. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project that healthcare expenditures will increase by 5.9 percent each year, so expect your premium to go up.
Medicare only covers so much, so the total annual healthcare spending, including insurance premiums and other related costs, is $5,756 for people over the age of 65, the BLS estimated.
Based on the $5,756-per-year figure, 35 years of health care will cost at least $201,460. To be safe, plan for higher healthcare costs.
Retirement Costs for Housing
In retirement, your housing expenses will depend on whether you live at home or in a facility. Living in your own home can be fairly inexpensive, especially if you have paid off your mortgage, said Brad Hunter, chief economist for HomeAdvisor, a home improvement resource website. The BLS expenditure survey found that housing costs are $15,530 per year on average for people over 65.
“The best strategy is to put in place home modifications to allow yourself to stay in your own home, living independently, for as long as possible,” Hunter said. This can entail preparing your home by adding things like ramps, grab bars, lever doorknobs, nonslip flooring, wider doorways and the like.
Meanwhile, the national median costs for an assisted living facility are $3,628 per month, or $43,536 per year, and a private room in a nursing home can cost $7,698 per month, or $92,376 per year, according to a 2016 Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance survey.
Based on the estimate of $15,530 per year, 35 years of housing will cost $543,550 — if you stay in your home. But it’s important to plan for the higher cost of long-term care.
Retirement Costs for Discretionary Spending
We don’t live on food, housing and healthcare alone. There are incidentals, like taxes, life insurance, home insurance and general necessities. And of course, we hope to actually enjoy life, meaning that we are traveling, seeing friends and family and doing other things we enjoy.
Those things cost money. The BLS consumer expenditure survey found that between transportation, entertainment, apparel, furnishings and other expenses, we need to allow for $15,486 per year.
Fortunately, some of our expenditures can decrease or be eliminated when we retire. One such expenditure is life insurance.
“Life insurance is designed to protect your loved ones from the loss of your income,” said Hank Coleman, publisher of the personal finance website Money Q&A. “If there is no income to protect thanks to retirement, then there probably isn’t a very compelling need for life insurance, either.”
Based on the estimate of $15,486 per year, 35 years of incidentals will cost $542,010.
Income in Retirement
A Social Security benefits calculator revealed that someone who made the national average wage of $46,120, and who chooses to retire at age 65 in 2017, can expect to receive about $22,760 per year in Social Security benefits. It can be challenging to retire on Social Security benefits alone.
Over 35 years, that’s $796,600, which means you need to supplement your income with about $500,000 in savings to meet the $1.3 million savings benchmark. Or, if you’re on track to spend alongside the average expenses listed above, which total just under $1.45 million, you’ll need to have about $650,000 set aside.
Hopefully, you’ve been contributing to a 401k or IRA all these years, which can fill in the gaps. You might also consider taking on a part-time job in the early years of your retirement if you’re able to.
“The combination of part-time work, Social Security and pensions make that number far less scary than it seems,” said Brian Stoffel, a columnist at The Motley Fool. “Plus, you have a lot more control over your spending than you think.”
Planning for Retirement
As retirement approaches, there are things you can do to ensure a more secure future. One is saving — and saving well.
Jean Chatzky, personal finance expert and co-author of “AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip,” said that many people are not saving enough to afford the cost of retirement. It’s important to try to save 15 percent of your income, but that can be challenging.
“Human beings have shown we’re not good at delaying gratification. We’d rather buy something today than stash funds in our retirement accounts for tomorrow,” said Chatzky. “That’s why set-it-and-forget-it strategies are so helpful. You automate transfers into your retirement accounts, college savings accounts, HSAs and the money just goes.”
If retirement is still far in the future for you, getting on an automated saving and investing plan can give you a major boost in retirement. For people who are much closer to retirement but falling short on funds, consider finding ways to boost your income now, pay off your debts, take advantage of increased retirement savings allowances and find ways to significantly cut your costs.
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