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Ask Guido: Common Cents: How much money should I save for retirement?

Published on: April 6, 2016

Parrish resident; director  of The Evan Guido Group

Evan Guido

Evan Guido

How much money should you save for retirement? Generally speaking, as much as possible. You need to build a fund that you’ll be able to draw on for much of your retirement income. Believe it or not, this may be possible if you start early and make smart choices.

Contribute as much as you can to tax-advantaged savings vehicles:  401(k)s, IRAs and annuities. Then round out your retirement portfolio with other investments: stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

As you’re planning and saving, keep in mind that you may have 30 or more years of retirement to fund. So you probably need an even bigger nest egg than you think.

Before investing in a mutual fund, carefully consider its investment objectives, risks, fees and expenses, which are contained in the prospectus available from the fund. Review the prospectus carefully, including the discussion of fund classes and fees and how they apply to you.

Your particular circumstances will determine how much money you should save for retirement. Maybe you have a pension plan, or your Social Security benefits will be large enough to tide you over. If so, you may not need to save as much as other people. But other personal factors will enter the picture, too. If you plan to retire early (e.g., age 50 or 55), you’ll have even more retirement years to fund and will need larger assets than someone who plans to work until age 65 or 70. Conversely, you may require fewer assets if you plan on working part-time during retirement.

Your projected expenses during retirement will also help determine how much money you’ll need and how much you need to save to get there. Certain costs —  food, utilities and insurance — will be shared by almost all retirees. But you may still be saddled with retirement expenses that many retirees no longer have (e.g., mortgage payments or a child’s tuition).

Expenses will also depend on the type of retirement lifestyle you want. How many nights a week will you dine out? How much traveling will you do? These kinds of questions will give you a better idea of how much money you’ll be spending once you retire. In general, the greater your anticipated retirement expenses, the more you need to save each year to meet those expenses.

Evan Guido heads an investment management team in Sarasota focused on retirement planning. Guido entered the investment business in 2002. Guido was born in St. Petersburg, attended the University of Alaska Anchorage, and lives in Parrish with his wife and three children. Call 941-906-2829 or visit