From Thrift Savings Plan Highlights, July 2004:
How much do you need for retirement?
If you are looking forward to a long, busy retirement, doing the things that give you pleasure, do you know how much money you will need to make your plan a reality? Many people don't take the time to figure this out until mid-career, or even later. Consequently, at retirement, they find they have to change their expectations because they haven't saved enough. Don't let this happen to you.
Consider, Calculate, Review and Revise.
CONSIDER the factors that may affect your financial plan. For example:
CALCULATE your anticipated expenses in retirement and your estimated savings. This is a crucial step if you are to make informed decisions about your future. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you through this process, including:
First, you should determine your anticipated expenses and calculate the percentage of your current income that you will need in retirement.
Next, review your current savings and other assets to see where you are now and, with your retirement date in mind, calculate the growth of your assets, including your TSP account.
Project the amount of your Federal pension, other pensions, and your Social Security payments (if you're eligible). Then calculate the amount of monthly income you can expect. The TSP withdrawal calculators can help you estimate payments from your TSP account.
Then determine the amount of additional savings you will need to accumulate in order to make up the difference in your monthly income.
When you put all the pieces together, you should be able to determine whether you will have enough money to last for your retirement years. If you need more help, consider using the services of a financial planner.
REVIEW and REVISE your retirement plan at least annually. If the numbers are not what you want them to be, what can you do to make up for a shortfall?
What else can you do? Lean more about planning for retirement. Visit your public library, surf the Internet, and check out the mid-career and preretirement seminars offered by your agency.
Remember, it's better to end up with too much than too little!
(For employees of USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs and the Merit Systems Protection Board)