Homeforward thinkingHow much will I have when I retire?

How much will I have when I retire?

One of the perks of working for the federal government is access to a pension once I reach my minimum retirement age. Since I was born after 1970, I’ll be eligible to retire on my 57th birthday. Assuming I spend my entire working career with Uncle Sam (I’ve been on board since I was 22), this will give me 35 years of credible service.

For the sake of keeping things simple, let’s also assume I never get a promotion or apply for a higher paying position within the government.

Since the federal government pay system is very structured I know exactly what my salary will be for the remainder of my professional life (except for inflationary adjustments over the years).

While I wish I had more control over my earning potential, instead of being forced to accept what congress mandates, a predictable income does come with one benefit.

It allows me the ability to make relatively accurate predictions as to what my retirement income might look like 28 years from now.

I used this Federal Ballpark Estimator provided by the government to figure out exactly how much I will have waiting for me come retirement.

Look out a lot of numbers are coming your way (skip past this section if you just want to see what this all means).


Here are my Baseline Stats/Assumptions:

Current Age: 29 y.o.

Retirement Age: 57 y.o.

Estimated age of death (creepy to guess this): 87 y.o.


Income and Current Retirement Assets:

Maximum wage possible in current job: $97,370

Current 401K Balance: $87,000

Current IRA balance(s): $98,000

Investment/Inflation Assumptions:

Percent of income put in 401k: 10%

Percent Matched by Govt: 5%

401k and IRA annuity rate: 3.5%

After tax income invested annually: $10,000 ($5,500 for Roth, $4,500+ for taxable)

Inflation Rate: 3%

Inflationary Wage Raises: 2.75%

Rate of Return BEFORE Retirement: 6%

Rate of Return IN Retirement: 4%

Percent of current income needed in retirement: 75%


Alright enough with the boring numbers that need to be put in to the calculator. Let’s see how this all translates when it comes time for 57-year-old Ninja to retire, shall we?

Pension Benefit in today’s dollars: $31,301 annually / $2,608 monthly

401K Balance in today’s dollars:  $771,870 total balance / $2,615 monthly

IRA Balances in today’s dollars: $612,719 total balance / $2,076 monthly

So with my relatively conservative estimations I should be bringing in about $7,299 per month($87,588 annually) in today’s dollars if I quit on my 57th birthday and never work another day.

When I turn 62, Social Security would theoretically kick in, and if it does, I’ll have an additional $1,782 in monthly income available to me. For a grand total monthly income of $9,081 ($108,000 annually).


It means retired Ninja will be making more money per month than working Ninja ever will. I find a lot of comfort and freedom in that information. Especially considering my draw down rate should about match my funds performances and therefore my retirement portfolio will never decrease in value.

I’ll get to live comfortably in retirement with virtually no financial worries and either make a few big splurges late in life, or leave a $1,000,000 dollars (in today’s dollars) for my kids when I die.

In the words of Paris Hilton…

paris hilton



  1. You are so right that is hot and its a great plan. Working for Uncle Sam is not easy so hats off to you.

  2. Seems like a crazy amount of money in retirement. Why would you need that much? Have you considered retiring before 57 and actually freeing up 40+ hours of life per week while you’re still young enough to enjoy it?

  3. At this point, all you can do is a rough estimate. You don’t know, for example, what your employment situation will be, how the market will do, what your expenses will be in retirement, etc. I think this kind of estimate has to be revisited every ten years or so to see how things change for you.

    E.g.: Percent of current income needed in retirement: 75% may be way off base. It will help if you pay off your mortgage; on the other hand, health care costs can drive your expenses much higher. (In my first six months of retirement, I had high unreimbursed dental bills, from deteriorating teeth that needed root canals, implants, crowns, and that kind of fun stuff.)

    • Exactly. 28 years from now is a long time for things to change. Hopefully for the better, but at this stage all I can do is plan and makes guesses.

      I’ll definitely revisit as circumstances change (job, SS benefits, portfolio)

  4. I’m in almost the exact same position as you. My TSP is a bit lower due to lower contributions, however I own several investment properties that will certainly pay out once they’re fully paid off. Do you see yourself contributing more to the TSP as time goes on?

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