Understanding Your 403b Calculator and Defining Terms
A 403b calculator enables you to determine how much cash you can save in your 403b plan upon retirement. There are lots of 403b calculators nowadays, but they work in a rather similar manner and require rather similar pieces of information to be used in the computation.
General 403b calculator Definitions
Current Age in Years
This is your present age in years.
Anticipated Retirement Age in Years
This is the age in years you intend to retire.
Life Expectancy in Years
This is your life expectancy upon reaching your anticipated retirement age.
Current Amount in 403b Fund in US Dollars
On your 403b calculator, this is where you enter the amount in your account. If you have not started your 403b funding yet, you can just enter zero.
Annual Contribution to 403b (Percentage of Your Salary)
This is the amount you’d like to contribute, or are currently contributing, to your 403b plan in terms of a certain percentage of your salary. The effect of decreasing or increasing your yearly contribution percentage will be seen on your 403b fund balance on your retirement.
Employer Match (Percentage of Contribution)
Employers will usually match employee contributions to provide employees benefits, as well as to encourage their participation in the company’s program. If your employer does this, key in that percentage here. Otherwise, just enter zero.
Employer Maximum (Percentage of Salary)
There are employers that only match up to a specific percentage of their employee’s salary. If your employer has a maximum that applies to their match, that amount goes here. The present limit on employer matches is 6%.
Expected Annual Return on 403b Fund (Percentage)
This is your predicted annual rate of return, which you are expecting to realize on your 403b fund beginning now and when your retirement comes.
403b Fund Growth Over Time (in US Dollars)
This is the computed increase in your 403b fund as you grow older. This series of values is influenced by your inputted growth rate and employee-employer matching, and confines your contributions to the present maximums the law (2015) permits.
403b Fund Balance at Retirement (in US Dollars)
This is the amount you will have in your 403b fund upon retirement, if you make contributions annually, you achieve your projected rate of return, and your employer keeps matching funds at the rate you’ve indicated.
Salary at Retirement Age (US Dollars/ Year)
This is your predicted salary as you reach the retirement age you’ve specified previously.
Annual Income from 403b (US Dollars / Year)
This is the retirement income per year you can expect to get from your 403b account. Remember that withdrawals from 403b funds are taxable, and inflation will reduce the buying power of such future dollars.
Percentage of Final Pay
This is the portion of your salary as you reach retirement age that could be replaced by your 403b funds. As a rule of thumb, all sources of retirement income have to replace 70% to 80% of your final pay. A 403b calculator certainly comes in handy for this and all other related calculations.