Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream From Cleveland Monday. Learn more


Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free

Contests and

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation!

Hawaii, the Grand Canyon or an Alaskan Cruise! No purchase necessary. Ends May 31. See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation
Happy African American couple

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


Ask the Experts

Doing the Math for Retirement

Planning is crucial to feeling financially secure after you stop working

Retirement planning offers peace of mind. — WIN-Images/Corbis

Q. I've heard all kinds of numbers thrown around when it comes to how much a couple needs in retirement. What's the truth?

See also: AARP retirement calculator.

A. It's different for everyone. You've got to sit down in advance and estimate as best as you can how much you'll need to live comfortably in retirement, taking into account your age when you stop working, costs of the lifestyle you foresee, your Social Security benefit and other factors. You can do this on your own or with guidance from a financial planning professional.

To get started, visit a website that offers retirement planning resources. Such sites include the Choose to Save Ballpark E$timator, AARP's Retirement Nest Egg Calculator and the Social Security Administration's planning page.

Ken McDonnell, director of the American Savings Education Council, says people who've done a retirement savings calculation tend to have higher savings goals than people who haven't.

And doing the math can be good for peace of mind, says the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. People who've made a calculation are more likely than those who haven't to say they're very confident they'll have enough money for a comfortable retirement (26 percent vs. 11 percent).

To raise awareness about the need to look ahead, the nonprofit National Retirement Planning Coalition, composed of more than a dozen retirement-oriented groups, has designated April 11-15 as "National Retirement Planning Week."

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Credit safeguards with AARP® Identity Theft Protection from TrustedID®.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Man using cell phone outdoors

Members save on monthly service & usage fees and get free activation with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.