Retirement Planning Calculator

Updated 20th February 2024

Assumptions

We live in an uncertain world and are constantly faced with questions about how to position ourselves for the future. The further in the future we look, the greater the range of potential outcomes. Your retirement planning projection is built on a series of assumptions on various growth rates and tax rates projected into the future, to help assist you in making better decisions about your future, today.

This is a necessary part of any planning process and, although many assumptions may prove to be wrong in the future, having a sensible base case and starting point is key.

This also highlights the importance of regular financial reviews to ensure that you are on track and making adjustments to your plans where necessary.

Our default assumptions are as follows:

Inflation

The rational expectations theory is the dominant assumption model used for financial planning practices. Whilst inflation may have been higher in the recent past, it is prudent to use a much longer term average for longer term forward planning.

We therefore use the base inflation of 2.0% per annum, in line with the Governments and Bank of England’s target for inflation each year. 

We will also assume that earnings growth (wages) and state pension income growth will be flat in line with general inflation – meaning that wages and state pension at least keep pace with inflation, but are flat in real terms (after accounting for inflation). I.e. future purchasing power remains the same. 

Investment Growth

We have assumed a low, medium, and high investment return within the pension calculator, which is in line with our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority’s prescribed projections. This shows how important the return you achieve on your pensions is, when considering the potential income that may be available to you in retirement. 

These growth rates are reviewed on a regular basis. Assumed fund growth rates show a 2.5% spread between Low and Mid, and between Mid and High.

Other

Our other significant assumptions in this retirement calculator are age based assumptions.

Firstly, under current legislation, a large number of our users will be reaching State Pension Age at either 67 or 68. We have chosen 67 as the default retirement age, pegged to this earlier State Pension Age, purely for planning purposes. It is important to note that you can retire much earlier than this and in fact access your own personal pension pots from as early as age 55 (rising to age 57 from 2028 for most pension schemes).

Please make sure that you change your chosen ‘retirement date’ in the calculator to see what impact this has on your projections.

Assumptions (Summary)

    • Starting age – the starting age maps to your DOB, if captured. If not entered, you will see the projection starting age at 18 years old.
    • Normal Retirement Age (NRA) – The default normal retirement age is pegged to the state pension age (SPA). However, it is possible to draw down on your pension much earlier than this (typically 10 years earlier than SPA). You can amend this age to reflect your retirement objectives and see the impact on your plan.
    • Life expectancyAccording to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the average life expectancy is 86 years old and there is a 1 in 10 chance that you will live to 100 years old. It is important to ensure that you run out of life, before you run out of money, so our calculations reflect this prudent approach to longevity.
    • Inflation – We use the base inflation of 2.0% per annum, in line with the Governments and Bank of England’s target for inflation each year. Whilst this varies from one year to the next, it is a helpful average for longer term planning purposes. 
    • Earnings Growth – We assume that earnings growth and state pension income will rise in line with inflation. This means that they grow 2% in nominal terms or remain flat in real terms over time. 
    • Investment Growth – We use low (2.5%), medium (5.0%) and high (7.5%) growth rates, as prescribed by the Financial Conduct Authority. These are nominal growth rates, based on long term economic assumptions. 
    • Salary – Your salary should reflect your current gross earnings (before tax). If this has not been entered, the default value will reflect the average annual earnings in the UK.
    • Employee pension contribution (%) – This reflects the default employee pension contribution in your current workplace pension. If not given, this will default to 5% under the auto-enrolment minimum pension contribution rules. 
    • Employer pension contribution (%) – This reflects the default employer pension contribution in your current workplace pension. If not given, this will default to 3% under the auto-enrolment minimum pension contribution rules.
    • Initial pension value – Your current pension value should be input to reflect your current overall personal pension value. If not entered, the default pension size for your age bracket is used.
    • State pension – The State Pension is a regular payment you should receive from the government when you reach retirement age. And the income you receive depends on you having paid a certain level of national insurance contributions over your working life. To get any state pension, you’ll need at least 10 years’ worth of contributions – if you don’t meet this requirement, you may not receive any money from the government.

For more information on the State Pension, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension

Disclaimers

  • The calculator is for illustrative purposes only and figures may be higher or lower than those shown. It should not be regarded as personal advice.
  • Your final pension fund and the income available will depend on a number of factors including fund performance, contributions made, charges, inflation, your retirement age, the amount you withdraw from your pensions, tax and mortality rates.
  • As with all investments the value can fall and rise, therefore you may get back less than you invest.
  • All figures take account of inflation and show the buying power of your pension in today’s money.
  • We have assumed a state pension age of 67. Depending on your age you may be entitled to it earlier or later.
  • This calculator does not take into account potential future changes to tax charges which may apply to withdrawals or to contributions that exceed your allowances. Prevailing tax rates and reliefs are dependent on your individual circumstances and are subject to change.

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