If you Google how much you should be saving for retirement, you’ll likely find a wide range of numbers, anywhere from 5% to 20% of your gross income. But how much do Americans actually save?
According to a recent PenFed Credit Union survey, (1) Americans are saving, on average, 7.6% of their salaries for retirement. Households with an income over $100,000 per year—which most CRNAs fall into—are saving 10.2% on average, whereas sub $100,000 households are only saving 6.2%.
Since CRNAs enter the workforce later in life, is 10.2% enough to retire on schedule or to maintain a desired lifestyle in retirement?
How Much Should You Be Saving?
Even CRNAs who boast a high salary should be spending less and putting those savings into their retirement fund. And the sooner the better, as for every year you delay in saving, you’ll have to contribute exponentially more to reach your savings goals because of compound interest.
For example, if you start saving $400 per month at age 25, you would have $1 million saved by age 65 (assuming a 7% annual investment return). If you don’t start until age 35, you’ll have to save around twice as much to reach $1 million by age 65.
Generally speaking, we recommend saving 15% of your pre-tax income toward retirement. That is $15,000 for every $100,000 you make a year. While the earlier and the more you save the better, 15% is a reasonable number for most people to fit into their budget.
Increasing Savings over Time
Over time, we recommend CRNAs aim to save even more and go beyond their 401(k). Not only is contributing up to your 401(k) or 403(b) match not usually enough, but sometimes even maxing out your company’s retirement plan isn’t enough. The yearly contribution limit on a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is $18,500. With the average annual CRNA salary exceeding $150,000, a 401(k) or 403(b) alone won’t be enough to get you to 15%. You will need to save elsewhere as well, like in an IRA or a taxable account.
Don’t assume that since you’re maxing out your company retirement plan that you’re saving enough! While maxing out a 401(k) or 403(b) may be enough for some people, many CRNAs are accustomed to a higher standard of living stemming from their higher salary, meaning they’ll need more savings. Instead of focusing on specific accounts, focus on saving at least 15%, if not more.
The survey also found that those who automatically enroll in their retirement savings plan are saving 10.2%, on average, compared to 4.8% for those without automatic enrollment. If you change jobs, make sure you automatically enroll in the 401(k) or 403(b) plan. You can also opt to automatically increase your savings each month.
Work with an Advisor
Lastly, the survey also found that adults working with a financial advisor are saving 10.4%, on average—nearly double the 5.5% that those without an advisor are saving. Working with a professional can help you make more informed decisions, stay on track with your plan, and offer more confidence that you’re proactively working towards financial security.
However you decide to save for retirement, it’s important for CRNAs to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner who specializes in serving their unique needs and circumstances. A CFP® professional can develop strategies to help you maximize your retirement savings. Do you have questions? Call us at 855.304.3748 or email [email protected].
About Jeremy Stanley
Jeremy Stanley is the founder of CRNA Financial Planning® as well as CRNA Tax Associates®. He has been providing advice and guidance for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) for over two decades. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Jeremy has met rigorous certification and professional standards set by the CFP® Board. He is committed to adhering to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.
Jeremy is also the author of The Wealthy CRNA and A CRNA’s Life After Anesthesia. The Wealthy CRNA features insights into becoming a financially successful CRNA and how to start planning for your financial future, and has been prior approved for up to 4 Class A CE credits by the AANA. A CRNA’s Life After Anesthesia serves as your financial roadmap for a smooth emergence into retirement. It reviews recent changes in the CRNA industry along with the new rules of retirement and the final steps of legacy planning. This book has been prior approved by the AANA for up to 2 Class A CE credits.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.