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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 many different 403b calculators today, but they work in pretty much the same manner and require pretty much the same information to be used for 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

On your 403b calculator, this is where you key in the amount you have in that 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. 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)

Majority of employers will match employee contributions to provide them benefits, and to encourage them to participate in the company’s program. If your employer does this, key in that percentage here. If not, then simply 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 applying to their match, then that amount should be entered 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 rise in your 403b fund increase over time as you become older year after year. This series of numbers, which is affected by employee-employer matching and your inputted growth rate, and limits your contributions to what the law (2015) currently 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 estimated salary upon reaching the retirement age you’ve earlier specified.

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.