Asset Accumulation/Retirement Mileposts

Asset Accumulation/Retirement Mileposts:

It is clear that retirement investment is a long-term endeavor that greatly benefits from starting early and using the power of compounding.  It is helpful to get some general guidelines to get a sense of where you are.  Listed below are a couple of indicators to help you see your portfolio level in relation to potential future values.  These are only indicators, but they give you a sense of what Fidelity, JP Morgan and T. Rowe Price say regarding mileposts on your financial journey.  The Fidelity table is the simplest indicator, and Fidelity has a more sophisticated calculator on the Fidelity website.  The JP Morgan table provides different income levels, and the JP Morgan link has an excellent retirement section.  There is also a link for a Cornerstone retirement calculator that allows for more customization.  You can contact Jeff Johnson for help using this calculator.  Finally the ESPlanner calculator gives the most comprehensive analysis, but it takes considerable inputs.

T. Rowe Price:

The T. Rowe Price mutual fund manager also has an excellent site.  Their calculator uses Monte Carlo scenarios that examine multiple potential outcomes and then provides an indication of the range of potential retirement outcomes.  The T. Rowe Price retirement calculator as listed below:  T Rowe Price Calculator 

Social Security-Status and Strategies:

The Social Security Trust Fund is on track to be depleted by 2034.  After that time, Social Security would be able to continue to pay out approximately 75% of scheduled benefits from annual tax income.  There are numerous options to improve the Social Security system, but this is a particularly divisive political issue.

Full Retirement Age Table:

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 67

Multiply your Full Retirement Age benefit by 75% when taking Social Security at age 62.

Multiply your Full Retirement Age benefit by 132% when taking Social Security at age 70.

In general, it is most prudent to delay taking social security until age 70.  If you die in your 70s, you would not get a good return compared to waiting until age 70, but presumably you would not have depleted other retirement assets.  Meanwhile, if you live well into your 80s or even 90s, then the higher social security payments will improve your cash flow at a time when other retirement assets may be deleted.  Thus, starting social security at a later age is a way to mitigate longevity risk.

According to Morningstar analysis, age 78 is the “money ahead age” when filing for social security at age 62 compared to waiting for the Full Retirement Age of 66.  In other words, you are better off filing at age 66 rather than 62 if you live past age 78.  The age of 82.5 is the “money ahead age” when filing at age 70 instead of filing at 66.  This analysis is very basic because it does not take inflation into account.  It also does not take spousal strategies into account.  Nevertheless, it is a helpful starting point for considering each individual’s personal situation.


ESPlanner is an excellent (and free) product:

Finally, the best retirement calculator that we have seen is called ESPlanner Basic.  This is a free financial planning tool that was developed by Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics at Boston University.  It should be noted that more advanced planning software is available at a cost.  Nevertheless, the free basic level is sufficient for most individuals.  The link is as follows:


The JP Morgan website provides excellent overall retirement advice: