Many experts say you should aim to replace between 70% and 85% of your pre-retirement income. In other words, your goal should be to create enough savings that you would be able to live on 7 million shillings to 8.5 million shillings per year if you earn 10 million per year. People live an average of 20 years after retirement in Kenya.
Basing Your Needs on Current Income
Using current income to forecast retirement needs isn’t helpful for people who are in the early stages of their careers. You’re likely earning an entry- or mid-level income in your field if you’re in your twenties or thirties. Your income might drop for a while if you make a career change, and that would affect your savings formula. It becomes hard to project the amount you’ll need during your senior years if you’re unsure what your pre-retirement income will be over the years.
What if You’re a Saver?
Another problem with the “replace your income” rule of thumb is that it assumes that you spend most of your income. It implies that you spend somewhere from 70% to 85% of your income if you save 10% to 15% for retirement, and perhaps another 10% to 15% for other non-retirement types of savings.
People do not always spend the bulk of what they earn. In fact, some spend more than what they earn, ending up in debt, while others spend much less than the amount they earn. That is another reason why basing your retirement projections on your former income (rather than your future expenses) is not the best framework for planning.
Focus on Spending, Not Income
It’s wise to base your retirement projections on your level of spending, not on your income.
our spending in retirement will most likely not be the same as your spending today. You might not have a mortgage payment at that point in time. Your children may be grown and living on their own, so you’ll no longer have to support them. Costs related to your work, such as childcare, business attire, and commuting costs, will also go away.
But you’ll incur other costs that you may not have to support today. Out-of-pocket prescription and medical costs might become a bigger concern. You may also want to outsource home-related tasks that you currently do yourself, such as cleaning gutters, raking leaves, or shoveling snow. You may choose to travel more or use your retirement to explore hobbies that you couldn’t pursue during your working years.
Income isn’t a perfect basis for determining how much money you should have in retirement savings. Expenses aren’t a great option either. But expenses may be the best benchmark for how much you should aim to save. Some of your current expenses will decline, but others will grow, so it makes sense to project that what you spend now will be at least close to what you spend during your retirement years.
Multiply Current Annual Spending by 25
Here’s a broad rule of thumb that you can use to figure out how much money you’ll need when you retire: Multiply your current annual spending by 25. That’s what your savings will have to be in retirement to allow you to safely withdraw 4% of that amount every year to live on.
You’ll need an investment portfolio that’s 25 times 4 million a year—100 million at the start of your retirement—if you spend 4 million per year now. This sum allows you to withdraw 4% in your first year of retirement, and that same 4% is adjusted for inflation every year going forward. You’ll maintain a decent chance that you won’t outlive your money.
If You Got a Late Start With Saving
Don’t despair if you start saving later in life. The best way to make up for getting a late start is to save harder.
The older you are, the more you should be saving and diversifying for retirement each month. Don’t over-allocate a portion of your savings to stocks with the thought that you need riskier investments to make up for lost decades of savings. Risk cuts both ways. You won’t have as much time to bounce back if your investments suffer.
Use index funds. Look for low-fee funds. Spread your money between a mix of stocks and bonds. Keep doing that through the rest of your working career, with the goal of saving 25 times your current level of spending by the day you retire.
Use a retirement calculator to make sure you’re on track. Ignore scary headlines in the financial news. You’re playing a long-term game. Getting caught up in the daily ups and downs of the market will only curb your progress.
People are working later in life for many reasons. Consider a few options before you “officially” retire if you got a late start and need to earn more to make up the difference between what you need and what you have.
It could make sense to remain employed and take advantage of employer-matching contributions along with catch-up contributions to your retirement account if you love your job. You’ll get to keep your other benefits a little longer as well.
You could your decades of experience to work part-time as a consultant for a few years while your money continues to grow, or start a second career in an area you’ve always been passionate about. Embark on a new journey in a new field for a few more years if taking a pay cut lets you stay on track to meet your savings needs.
Redefine Your Lifestyle
Maybe you didn’t get a late start with saving, but you just can’t spare the extra money to build a portfolio that reflects your current level of spending. You might have to redefine what kind of lifestyle you want to live in retirement. There are plenty of ways to cut costs and maintain an active lifestyle.
It may make sense to downsize. Retire to a state with no income tax instead of keeping the home you own now. You could take it a step further and retire somewhere overseas where there’s a lower cost of living.
There are plenty of ways to make retirement work. You just have to play with the numbers to see what makes the best sense for you. Save what you can, even if you don’t foresee a 100 million retirement portfolio, and then adjust the habits that define your lifestyle.
Retirement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much money does the average person need to retire?
When thinking about how much you need to retire, it’s important to remember the 80% rule. The 80% rule states that you’ll need to replace 80% of your pre-retirement income. If you were making 10 million shillings a year pre-retirement, you need to be able to have about 8 million shillings coming in annually during retirement.
What percentage of my income should I put into my retirement savings?
It is suggested that you put at least 15% of your pre-tax income into your retirement savings account. The percentage you set aside for retirement can change due to your particular circumstances, including how much you’ll need during retirement and how much you can afford to set aside each month.
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