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Understanding Your 403b Calculator and Terms

A 403b calculator allows you to estimate the amount you can save in your 403b plan when you retire. 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

If you have a 403b fund at present, then this is where you enter the amount in that account on your 403b calculator. If you have not yet started funding your 403b plan, then 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. By raising or lowering your annual contribution percentage, you can see the effect on your 403b fund balance upon retirement.

Employer Match (Percentage of Contribution)

Employers will typically match employee contributions in order to provide employee benefits, and to make them participate in the company’s program. If your employer does this, enter the percentage here. If not, then simply 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. Six percent is the current limit on employer matches.

Expected Annual Return on 403b Fund (Percentage)

This is your expected annual rate of return, which you plan to realize on your 403b fund between today and your retirement.

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 how much you will have in your 403b fund when you retire, provided if you make annual contributions and achieve your target rate of return, and your employer consistently matches funds at the rate you’ve given.

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 yearly retirement income your 403b account may be expected to provide you. Note that 403b withdrawals are taxable, and inflation will weaken the buying power of these dollars in the future.

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.

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