How do married couples fill out the worksheet?
If you are married, you and your spouse should each fill out your own Ballpark E$timate® worksheet taking your marital status into account when entering your Social Security benefit.
Do I use pretax or aftertax salary/wages (item #2)?
Use pretax dollars for current annual salary/wages.
How do I determine what percentage of my current income to use in item #4 of the interactive Ballpark?
When determining your goal, you need to think about the type of lifestyle you would like in retirement. Do you want the cruise-of-the-month retirement or are you planning to spend your time in the garden? 70% of current income is the figure often quoted by financial planners to maintain your pre-retirement standard of living. You may want to consider using a higher percentage (between 70% and 120%) of your current gross income if:
- you are fairly young and/or your prime earning years are ahead of you
- you do not anticipate owning your home outright when you retire
- you have a family history of very long life or medical problems
- you would like a retirement lifestyle that is more than comfortable
How do I determine inflation assumption (item #6)?
The 2014 Social Security Trustees' Report [page 94] includes the following:
Price Inflation Assumptions:
"The Trustees set the ultimate annual increases in the CPI [consumer price index] to 3.4, 2.7, and 2.0 percent for the low-cost, intermediate, and high-cost assumptions, respectively."
[Note: The 2012 SS report percentages for CPI were 1.8, 2.8, and 3.8, respectively.]
How do I determine wage growth assumption (item #7)?
The 2014 Social Security Trustees' Report [page 97-98] includes the following:
Average Earnings Assumptions:
"The assumed average annual growth rates in the average covered wage from 2025 to 2088 are 5.16, 3.83, and 2.52 percent for the low-cost, intermediate, and high-cost assumptions, respectively."
[Note: The 2012 SS report percentages for wage growth assumption were 3.51, 3.92, and 4.32, respectively.]
PLEASE NOTE: With respect to item #6 and item #7: These are general guidelines provided to assist users. The assumptions may or may not reflect actual future events.
Where do I enter money I expect to receive in retirement from rental property or an annuity (item #14)?
If you anticipate receiving income from rental property or an annuity in retirement, enter the amount you expect to receive annually in "Other" (item #14) of the interactive version.
What if I have less than 10 years until retirement?
Ballpark was developed as an easy-to-use interactive tool that would quickly and easily give you a good estimate of what you need to save each year to fund a comfortable retirement. We feel that individuals with less than 10 years until retirement really need more than the good estimate Ballpark provides. They need to begin a comprehensive plan based on their individual situation either with one of the more comprehensive worksheets, computer software, or with the help of a financial professional.
Can I link to Ballpark from my website?
The Ballpark E$timate® is copyrighted. Permission to link to Ballpark is granted on a
case by case basis. To request permission to link to ASEC and the Ballpark E$timate, contact ASEC.
What is your privacy statement regarding Ballpark?
Although the information you provide on the Ballpark E$timate® worksheet may be
temporarily stored on your computer, it cannot be stored or viewed by the American Savings
Education Council (ASEC) or any vendor who may provide internet services to ASEC.
Who can I contact if I have a question that is not answered here?
If you have a question or concern that is not addressed here, contact ASEC.