Google recently unveiled a list of the 10 questions Americans ask most about retirement, according to search data. FOX Business got answers to the top three questions on the list from money and financial planning experts.
No. 1: How much do I need to retire?
To be financially ready to retire by age 67, you should aim to have 10 times your final salary saved at retirement, says Meghan Murphy, vice president of Fidelity Investments.
This rule of thumb, which Fidelity developed, takes into account all sorts of variables (from savings rate, wage growth, volatility and more) and is applicable for investors with a broad range of income.
Sound overwhelming? It can be done, according to Murphy.
“Start saving as soon as possible -— that’s where the most valuable dollars come from, due to compounding interest,” says Murphy. “It’s harder to attain that 10x income without working your way up to it.”
Murphy suggests setting goals, aiming to have the following multiples of your current salary saved at each of your milestone birthdays:
Age 30: 1x current salary
Age 40: 3x current salary
Age 50: 6x current salary
Age 60: 8x current salary
To make these goals more attainable, take advantage of any 401(k) employer match, and increase by 1 percent or 2 percent annually, says Murphy.
“A lot of employers allow you to do this automatically,” she says.
No. 2: How to retire early?
Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president at Charles Schwab and president of Charles Schwab Foundation, suggests a few ways to get there: avoid unnecessary debt, live below your means, and build financial security and wealth through long-term investing.
“These are just a few rules to help you get there, regardless of your age or goals,” Schwab-Pomerantz says.
Dara Luber, senior manager of retirement at TDAmeritrade, agrees.
"We did a ‘Super Savers’ survey to find out what these ‘Super Savers’ are doing to achieve financial independence and/or early retirement and they’re very strategic and savvy when it comes to managing money,” says Luber. “They’re prioritizing so that they can live not only their best life now, but also in retirement.”
Among the highlights from TD Ameritrade’s ‘Super Saver’ survey:
- 65 percent avoid high-interest debt
- 60 percent stick to budget
- 58 percent invest in the stock market
- 55 percent max out retirement savings
No. 3: When can I retire?
Janet Bodnar, editor-at-large at Kiplinger’s magazine, and its “Rethinking Retirement” columnist, has the answer.
“One of my readers told me that ‘You know you’re ready to retire when you have enough and have had enough,’” Bodnar says.
In other words: if you’re all set, financially, and are ready - emotionally and otherwise - to leave your job.
“This may happen at different times for different people, but if things come together at the same time, then you know you’re in a good place to make retirement happen,” says Bodnar.
To know for sure, Bodnar suggests asking yourself the following questions:
Do I have enough money to cover my basics and anything additional?
Do I want to leave my job and what will I do with my time?
What does my spouse want to do? Are we in sync?
Of course, even the best-laid plans can go awry, says Bodnar. So always plan to be flexible.
“There may be unexpected events, like an unplanned job loss or even an illness that puts you in a caretaker position,” says Bodnar.
Vera Gibbons is the Founder of nonpoliticalnews.com which produces “NoPo” - a free daily newsletter that covers and curates non-political news only within Consumer/Personal Finance; Health & Wellness; Fashion/Beauty; Fitness/Diet.