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Use these worksheets to help you manage your financial life and begin your savings fitness plan. Take your time.
If you are logged into your account you have the option of working on a worksheet and then saving and resuming later on.
You may want to fill out one or two sections and then spend some time gathering the information you need for the rest. Don’t get stuck on the details.
Guessing is okay and you can always come back later with more accurate or up-to-date numbers and information.
If you are married, remember to include your spouse’s information when filling out the worksheets.
The information you enter will be saved for this session only. However, if you want to save it for longer, you can register and create an account.
That way, it'll all be here when you come back another day, for up to a year.
If you update the worksheets regularly you can track your progress and plan next year’s budget to help you reach your goals.
If you are using a shared or public computer, after you are done going through the
worksheets and have saved or printed out your results, close the Internet browser to be sure all your data is removed from the worksheets.
Use this balance sheet to calculate your net worth, which is the total value
of what you own (assets) minus what you owe (liabilities). Your goal is to have a
positive net worth that grows each year.
First, add up the approximate value of your assets, including your checking and savings accounts,
investments, and property, such as your home if you own it. Then add up your liabilities
(debts), including any amounts you currently owe on a home mortgage, auto or student loans,
credit card debt, and other outstanding amounts owed. Finally, subtract your liabilities
from your assets to get your net worth.
Worksheet 4 can help you figure out how much you need to save each year towards your goal of a secure retirement. It estimates how much you should save as a percentage of your current salary to give you a savings goal. You can save through a retirement savings plan at work, on your own, or both. While the worksheet does not take into account your unique circumstances, it will give you an idea of how much to save each year and a clearer picture of your retirement goals. The sooner you start saving, the longer your savings have to grow.
As you fill out the worksheet, think about your plans including when you might retire, what savings you have, and how many years you hope to enjoy in retirement. Of course, your plans and circumstances may change, so update this worksheet periodically to reflect any changes.
Start by entering the number of years until you expect to retire. On the second line, enter your current annual salary – this is your total pay before taxes or other deductions. You can probably get this from your pay statement.
Next, enter the number of years you expect to live in retirement. People are living longer on average which means you could need retirement income for 30 years or more. Planning to live well into your 90s can help you have a secure retirement and avoid outliving your income.
Finally, if you have already started saving for retirement, enter the amount of your current retirement savings. The result is your target saving rate, or the percentage of your salary to save to reach your goal.
If you want a better estimate based on your own situation, in addition to the information you entered above, entering one or both amounts
below will refine your target savings rate:
For example, if you expect to retire in 35 years, live for about 30 years in retirement, currently earn $50,000 a year, and have $2,000 saved for retirement, your target saving rate is 9.5%.
A 7 percent rate of return is used to keep it simple: remember investing involves risk, so investment returns, even assuming a diversified mix of stocks and bonds, go up and down and cannot be guaranteed. The worksheet, which uses a 3 percent inflation rate, increases your salary 3 percent each year but does not include any other increases.
The worksheet estimates how much savings you will need in addition to Social Security. On average, people need to replace about 80 percent of pre-retirement income for living in retirement. According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security retirement benefits replace about 40 percent of an average wage earner’s income after retiring. This leaves approximately 40 percent to be replaced by retirement savings.
In retirement, while your investments will continue to grow, the cost of retirement likely will go up every year due to inflation – that is, today’s dollars will buy less each year because the cost of living usually rises. The worksheet estimates how much savings you will need, taking into account the growth of your investments and inflation through your retirement, which could be 30 years or more. It also takes into account how much your current retirement savings will grow by the time you plan to retire. Keep in mind that this is an estimate and you may need more or less depending on your individual circumstances.
The worksheet estimates your “target saving rate” or how much to save each year as a percentage of your salary. Saving this amount will help you reach your retirement goals.
The target rate includes any contributions your employer makes to a retirement savings plan for you, such as an employer matching contribution. If, for example, you are in a 401(k) plan in which you contribute 4 percent of your salary and your employer also contributes 4 percent, your saving rate would be 8 percent of your salary.
Remember that the worksheet only gives you a rough idea, a savings goal. Some may face higher expenses in retirement because of personal circumstances and choose to save more. Some may have other sources of income in retirement such as a defined benefit traditional pension or money from selling a home that would lower the target rate.
You can compare your results with what you are currently saving after you complete Worksheet 5.
If you are currently saving less, don’t be discouraged. The important thing is to start saving, even a small amount, and increase that amount when you can. Come back and update this worksheet from time to time to reflect changes and track your progress.
Continuing the example above,
if you expect your post-retirement expenses to be low so that you will only need to replace 75 percent of your pre-retirement income,
and the amount on Your Social Security Statement is $1,870, then your target savings rate would be 7.1% instead of 9.5% as shown in the example above.
The worksheet estimates how much retirement income you will need in addition to Social Security.
On average, people need to replace about 80 percent of pre-retirement income for living in retirement.
Initially, the worksheet used this 80 percent total value to get your target savings rate. However,
if you expect to have an unusually large or small amount of expenses in retirement, you may wish to
estimate your own rate. One way to do so is to fill out a copy of the expenses section of Worksheet 5
with your expected expenses after retirement (in today’s dollars). Total the expenses and divide by
your current annual salary to get a total replacement rate. Enter this percentage in the box;
however, the worksheet will only accept values from 70 to 95 percent.
The worksheet estimates how much Social Security retirement income you will receive. On average,
people receive about 40 percent of their pre-retirement income from Social Security. Initially,
the worksheet used this 40 percent value to estimate your Social Security benefit. For an average
80 percent total replacement rate, this leaves approximately 40 percent to be replaced by
retirement savings. However, you may wish to use a better estimate of your Social Security benefit.
You may obtain the amount of your monthly Social Security payment at full retirement age from the
upper right corner of the first page of Your Social Security Statement. You may view Your Social
Security Statement online anytime in your my Social Security account at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.
(Note that registration is required at this SSA web site). Enter this monthly amount in the box.
Use the first two columns of Worksheet 5 to create a budget, sometimes called a cash flow spending plan or a guide for how you expect to spend your money.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the information. You can make a guess now and fill in more specific information later.
Start with your monthly income. If you know your annual gross income, enter it and the worksheet will calculate the monthly amount.
Most pay statements or pay stubs list your total (or gross) income and your deductions, along with your net take-home pay.
You can find your net take-home pay by subtracting your deductions from your gross income. List all taxes, including federal, state,
and local income taxes, plus Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Next, enter all of your monthly expenses. You can find an average for expenses that are different or don't occur each month,
such as heating or car insurance, by adding up the bills for the year and dividing by 12. Once you enter your monthly income and expenses,
the worksheet will calculate your annual cash flow spending plan or budget. If you are spending more than you earn, page 10 of the publication
has ideas on how to cut expenses, increase income, or both.
Return to this worksheet at the end of the year to see how you did in following your budget.
Use the last two columns to track your actual spending and click the calculate button to see how it is different from what you planned to spend.
If what you spent is more than you planned, you will see a plus sign and if it was less, a minus sign.
This will make it easier for you to add up the differences for the year and find ways to spend less, if you need to.
Each year you can review your cash flow plan and make changes for the next year’s budget to help you reach your financial goals.
Add up your total retirement savings, both at work and on your own.
If your employer also contributes money to your retirement savings plan, in a 401(k) plan for example,
enter that amount in the row labeled employer match and add it to your retirement savings to get the total retirement savings.
The worksheet will divide the total retirement savings by gross income (the first line in the worksheet) to get your current retirement savings rate.
You can compare it to the results from Worksheet 4, which is your target saving rate.
This worksheet will help you organize your debt so that you can plan how you will pay down each debt and track your progress. Money that goes to pay interest, late fees, and old bills could be saved and invested to earn more for retirement and other goals.
In Worksheet 6, list your home mortgage first, if you have one. Then list your auto loans, student loans, any credit card debts, or other money that you owe. In the final column, write down which debts you will pay off first, second, and so on. Generally, you may want to pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first. However, if you have a debt with a small balance, you may want to pay it off to get it off your list. The Resources section provides websites and publications on how to get a copy of your credit report, repair your credit, calculate how long it will take to pay off credit card debt, and other information.