Estimate Your Retirement Income

3+ Years Before Retirement


Will you have enough money in retirement? It’s good to answer this question before you retire.

Step 1: Understand Your Future Retirement Income

In retirement, you’ll need income to live off of to replace the income you were earning by working. Retirement income falls into 3 categories—pensions, Social Security, and savings/investments. In order to maintain a similar standard of living to what you enjoyed prior to retirement, you will need to have an income that is at least 70%-80% of what you were earning while you were working.

Social Security
+  Savings & Investments
= 70 to 80% of Salary



Step 2: Get Some Estimates

ACERA and Other Pensions

Get an ACERA pension estimate using the Benefit Estimator in your online account. Also make sure to get estimates for any other pensions you have by visiting their websites.

Social Security

If you’ve paid into Social Security for at least 10 full time or equivalent years (see qualifications), you will be eligible to collect a monthly payment from Social Security starting between ages 62 and 67 and continuing for the rest of your life. 

Your 457(b) Account and/or Other Savings

Check the balance of all retirement savings accounts you might have like your 457(b), 403(b), 401(k), or IRA. Also consider the value of any other investments you have. If Empower is your 457(b) administrator, log in here to check your balance:

Empower 457(b) Account Login

Step 3: Calculate Whether You Will Have Enough Income Replacement

Option 1

Add together your annual pension and annual social security income along with 4% of your savings. (The 4% amount is a generalization that assumes you will use 4% of your savings per year in retirement; read more details about it here and here). Compare this with your current annual income. Does it replace 70-80% of your current income? If so, you may be ready to retire.

Annual Pension Income
Annual Social Security Income
+  4% of Savings & Investments
= 70 to 80% of Salary?

Option 2

Use a retirement savings calculator to determine whether you’ll have enough retirement income to replace your working income. Try this one from AARP.

Extra Credit: Calculate Your Expenses in Retirement

Rather than using 70-80% of your pre-retirement income as an estimate of your expenses in retirement, you could actually do a calculation of your estimated expenses. Try this retirement budget worksheet from TIAA.

TIAA Retirement Budget Worksheet