Practical and Helpful Tips: Finances

Understanding Your 403b Calculator and Defining Terms

A 403b calculator allows you to estimate the amount you can save in your 403b plan when you retire. 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 your age in years as you expect to retire.

Life Expectancy in Years

This is your life expectancy once you have reached your expected retirement age.

Current Amount in 403b Fund in US Dollars

On your 403b calculator, this is where you enter the amount in your account. If you have not yet started funding your 403b plan, then 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. The effect of decreasing or increasing your yearly contribution percentage will be seen on your 403b fund balance on your retirement.

Employer Match (Percentage of Contribution)

Employers will typically match employee contributions in order to provide employee benefits, and to make them participate in the company’s program. If your employer does this, key in that percentage here. Otherwise, then 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 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 increase in your 403b fund as you grow older. This series of figures, which are affected by your inputted growth rate and employer-employee matching, restricts your contributions to the present maximums by the law (2015) allows.

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 you can expect your 403b account to give you annually. Be aware that 403b fund withdrawals are taxable, and inflation will lower the purchasing power of these future dollars.

Percentage of Final Pay

This is the part of your salary upon retirement age that could your 403b funds can replace. All retirement income sources need to replace 70% to 80% of your final pay as a rule of thumb. A 403b calculator sure comes in handy for this and all other related computations.