How Does Your Retirement Planning Stack Up?

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If you're dreaming of a financially comfortable retirement – one that allows you to travel, pursue hobbies and enjoy life without worrying about running out of money – you may want to count on having enough money to replace 90% to 100% of your pre-retirement income.

As an educator, your retirement income foundation will be your CalSTRS or CalPERS pension, but neither will replace 100% of your pre-retirement income. So, you should look to your 403(b) and/or 457 plan to supplement your retirement income.

If you're wondering how much money others are saving, take a look at the statistics here. But remember – you need to plan for the retirement lifestyle you want.

The Projected Retirement Expense Calculator can help you estimate the amount of money you'll need. Once you figure out what you need, you can adjust your 403(b) or 457 plan contributions accordingly.

A Look at the "Average Joe"

Saving or not. According to the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey, 66% of workers report having saved for retirement; 58% are currently saving.* Participation rates in 403(b) plans are generally quoted at 30% for all K-12 eligible employees.

Estimating retirement needs.* As a busy educator, you may feel you don't have time to figure out how much money you'll need for retirement. Less than half (44%) of all workers have tried to calculate how much money they will need to save for retirement. However, those who have done a retirement needs calculation are more likely than those who have not to say they are very confident about having a comfortable retirement (19% vs. 9%). Use the Projected Retirement Expense calculator to help estimate your needs.

Account balances.* More than half of workers report that the total value of their household's savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit (pension) plans, is less than $25,000.

Plans to work in retirement. If you're considering a second career after retiring from your school district, keep in mind that school district layoffs, health problems, disability or having to care for a family member may affect when you retire and what you can do after retirement.

Time for Self-Evaluation

Ask yourself how your retirement planning is stacking up. Have you:

  • Done an estimate of your CalSTRS or CalPERS pension benefit?
  • Used the Projected Retirement Expenses Calculator to figure out how much income you'll need in retirement?
  • Used the How Much Can I Save? calculator to figure out how much you need to save to meet your goals?
  • Signed up for your 403(b) and/or 457 plan?
  • Chosen investments in your plan that are appropriate to your goals, your timeline and your risk tolerance?

* Source: "2012 Retirement Confidence Survey," Employee Benefit Research Institute,