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 that you plan 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 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, put 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 applying to their match, then that amount should be entered here. Employer matches are currently limited at 6%.
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 403b fund increase over time as you become 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 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 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. The rule of thumb is, all retirement income sources must replace 70% to 80% of your final pay. A 403b calculator sure comes in handy for this and all other related computations.