How Long Will My Money Last? Calculate Your Savings

Want to know how long your money will last? Use our free calculator to estimate how far your money will take you in retirement.

Matthew Jones Matthew Jones Writer and Editor
Jeff Hoyt Jeff Hoyt Editor in Chief

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Why the Lifespan of Your Savings Matters

Accounting for both men and women, roughly 48.5% of adults between the ages of 55 and 65 have no retirement savings. Even among those who do have savings, only one in four adults have $100,000 or more in retirement assets.1 While many seniors plan to depend heavily on Social Security to pay bills and Medicare or Medicaid to reduce the cost of healthcare, many Americans nearing retirement are financially unprepared.

If you do have savings set aside for retirement, give yourself a pat on the back! But the amount you have in savings matters, because you never know exactly how long your retirement will last. While average life expectancies among Americans have dropped a little in recent years,2 they have trended upward for decades, thanks in large part to advancements in medicine and technology.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Check out our senior finance guide for more financial resources!

Let’s say that you plan to retire at 70 to max out your Social Security payments, and you have $300,000 in retirement savings. Even if you only take out $20,000 per year in systematic withdrawals, your savings would only last you until your 85th birthday. While this would be sufficient for many people, $30,000 per year (plus Social Security) may not be enough to support your lifestyle, and you could live well beyond your 85th birthday. This is why it is extremely important to understand the real lifespan of your retirement savings, and calculate how long your money will last with systematic withdrawals.

How to Use Our Calculator

Our “how long will my money last” calculator is easy to use and interpret. Keep in mind that, while some of the information you input should be easily accessible, other pieces of information will require you to make assumptions about your savings and their growth potential.

What You Know

  • Current savings balance
  • Anticipated monthly withdrawal amount

What You Assume

  • Annual withdrawal increases
  • Annual return on savings (pre-tax)
  • Federal marginal tax bracket

The easiest input to determine will be your account balance. After that, things will vary based on several factors. You may not know exactly how much you want to withdraw from your account right now, but if you have an idea of how much you need to make ends meet, you can use your current budget to set a withdrawal amount. Additionally, many people subscribe to the 4% rule, where you take out 4% of your total retirement savings each year.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? You could save on your senior housing and health care costs by acquiring long-term care insurance.

Annual withdrawal increases are typically linked to inflation. Over the last 40 years, the average annual inflation rate in the U.S. has been 3.43%.3 Setting an annual withdrawal increase between 3% and 5% could help you compensate for inflation and cost-of-living increases.

Annual return on savings will depend on the type of savings and investment portfolio you have. Some people prefer a more aggressive approach that is riskier but usually yields higher returns. Most older adults, however, often move their assets into more conservative investment vehicles that are inherently less risky but also yield lower returns. If you invest heavily in broad market indexes, you can typically anticipate annual returns between 5% and 8%.

Lastly, your marginal tax rate in retirement is calculated the same as it was during your working years. Treat your withdrawals from tax-deferred accounts and any other sources of income you have (like Social Security), as taxable income. Your total annual income will help you find your tax bracket and marginal tax rate.

FAQs

  • Can I live off the interest of $500,000?

    Yes, you could live off of $500,000 if it is left in a high-yield savings account or investment portfolio. If you began with withdrawals of $30,000 per year (with a 3% annual withdrawal increase), your savings could last as long as 20 years.

  • What is a good monthly retirement income?

    The right monthly retirement income for you will depend on your expenses and lifestyle. That said, many seniors live comfortably with at least 70% of their working income during retirement. If you make $84,000 per year before you retire, this means you would want to have at least $4,900 in monthly retirement income.

  • What is the average Social Security check?

    As of 2023, the average Social Security check for retired Americans is $1,793.51.4

Citations
  1. United States Census Bureau. (2022). Women More Likely Than Men to Have No Retirement Savings.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Life Expectancy in the U.S. Dropped for the Second Year in a Row in 2021.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023). CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

  4. Social Security Administration. (2023). Monthly Statistical Snapshot, September 2023.

Written By:
Matthew Jones
Writer and Editor
Matthew is a freelance writer who has written on a wide range of topics, from personal finance to nutrition. Over the past three years, Matthew has worked extensively on articles and guides for seniors related to Medicare, insurance, and finance…. Learn More About Matthew Jones
Reviewed By:
Jeff Hoyt
Editor in Chief
As Editor-in-Chief of the personal finance site MoneyTips.com, Jeff produced hundreds of articles on the subject of retirement, including preventing identity theft, minimizing taxes, investing successfully, preparing for retirement medical costs, protecting your credit score, and making your money last… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt
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