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How Important Is Social Security? Calculator

How will losing your Social Security benefits affect your retirement? Use this calculator to determine how losing this important retirement asset could affect you. Click the report button to see your retirement savings with and without Social Security benefits.

How Important Is Social Security? Calculator Definitions

Social Security income
**SS_DEFINITION**
Current age
Your current age.
Age at retirement
Age at which you plan to retire. This calculator assumes that the year you retire, you do not make any contributions to your retirement savings. So if you retire at age 65, your last contribution occurs when you are actually age 64. This calculator also assumes that you make your entire contribution at the end of each year.
Household income
Your total household income. If you are married, this should include your spouse's income.
Current retirement savings
Total amount that you currently have saved toward your retirement. Include all sources of retirement savings such as 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities.
Percent of income to save
The percentage of your annual income you will save for your retirement goals.
Pre-retirement income desired in retirement
The percentage of your pre-retirement household income you think you will need in retirement. This amount is based on the household income earned during the year immediately before your retirement. You can change this amount to be as low as 40% and as high as 160%. The percentage should reflect an after-tax amount if the majority of your retirement savings is not in a tax-deferred savings account such as a 401(k), IRA or other tax-deferred account.
Expected salary increase
Annual percent increase you expect in your household income.
Years of retirement income
Total number of years you expect to use your retirement income.
Rate of return before retirement
This is the annual rate of return you expect from your retirement savings and investments before taxes. The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the types of investments you select. The Standard & Poor's 500® (S&P 500®) for the 10 years ending December 31st 2018, had an annual compounded rate of return of 12.1%, including reinvestment of dividends. From January 1, 1970 to December 31st 2018, the average annual compounded rate of return for the S&P 500®, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.2% (source: www.standardandpoors.com). Since 1970, the highest 12-month return was 61% (June 1982 through June 1983). The lowest 12-month return was -43% (March 2008 to March 2009). Savings accounts at a financial institution may pay as little as 0.25% or less but carry significantly lower risk of loss of principal balances.

It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are generally subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect sales charges and other fees that investment funds and/or investment companies may charge.

Rate of return during retirement
This is the annual rate of return you expect from your investments during retirement. It is often lower than the return earned before retirement due to more conservative investment choices to help insure a steady flow of income. The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the types of investments you select. The Standard & Poor's 500® (S&P 500®) for the 10 years ending December 31st 2018, had an annual compounded rate of return of 12.1%, including reinvestment of dividends. From January 1, 1970 to December 31st 2018, the average annual compounded rate of return for the S&P 500®, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.2% (source: www.standardandpoors.com). Since 1970, the highest 12-month return was 61% (June 1982 through June 1983). The lowest 12-month return was -43% (March 2008 to March 2009). Savings accounts at a financial institution may pay as little as 0.25% or less but carry significantly lower risk of loss of principal balances.

It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are generally subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect sales charges and other fees that investment funds and/or investment companies may charge.

Expected rate of inflation
This is what you expect for the average long-term inflation rate. A common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). From 1925 through 2018 the CPI has a long-term average of 2.9% annually. Over the last 40 years highest CPI recorded was 13.5% in 1980. For 2018, the last full year available, the CPI was 2.2% annually as reported by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. This is used to calculate increases in your retirement expenses and increases in Social Security.
If you are married checkbox
Check this box if you are married. Married couples have a higher maximum Social Security benefit than single wage earners.