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Understanding Your 403b Calculator and Defining Terms

A 403b calculator allows you to estimate the amount you can save in your 403b plan when you retire. There are several types of 403b calculators these days, but they work in generally the same manner and call for generally the same information to be used in the calculation.

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 that you plan to retire.

Life Expectancy in Years

This is your life expectancy once you have reached your expected 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 how much you intend to contribute, or are contributing at present, to your 403b plan expressed as a percentage of your salary. If you increase or decrease your annual contribution percentage, you will see the impact of such action on your 403b fund balance as you retire.

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, then enter zero.

Employer Maximum (Percentage of Salary)

Employers will sometimes only match up to a certain percentage of the salary of their employees. If your employer has a maximum that applies to their match, that amount goes here. Employer matches are currently limited at 6%.

Expected Annual Return on 403b Fund (Percentage)

This is your anticipated annual rate of return, which you intend to realize on your 403b fund from now to your retirement age.

403b Fund Growth Over Time (in US Dollars)

This is the computed rise in your 403b fund increase over time as you become older year after year. This series of figures, which are affected by your inputted growth rate and employer-employee matching, restricts your contributions to the present maximums by the law (2015) allows.

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 expected salary when you come to the retirement age you’ve previously indicated.

Annual Income from 403b (US Dollars / Year)

This is the retirement income you can expect your 403b account to give you annually. 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. All retirement income sources need to replace 70% to 80% of your final pay as a rule of thumb. A 403b calculator certainly comes in handy for this and all other related calculations.