How Much Will I Earn in My Lifetime?
We can’t all be millionaires. However, there’s a fairly good chance that you could earn well over a million dollars during your lifetime. This calculator can help you estimate just how much you could earn from the time you start working until the time you retire.
First enter your current age and the age at which you expect to retire. Then provide your present gross annual income, your partner’s gross annual income (if applicable), and an estimated percentage for annual raises and cost of living increases. Press CALCULATE and you’ll receive estimated amounts for your annual household income and your total earnings for the period of time specified. The number may just surprise you.
Estimating Your Lifetime Earnings
While the future can seem uncertain, estimating your lifetime earnings is more simple, and more necessary, than you may think. Although everyone can benefit from estimating their lifetime earnings, there are two groups of people who can benefit the most: individuals who are earning a good living but are spending all of their money and individuals who are not earning their current value. By estimating your lifetime earnings, you can determine if you are in one of these two groups.
Get Your Social Security Statements
In 2000, the Social Security Administration started mailing earnings and benefits statements to all workers over 25 who had been employed and had paid Social Security taxes. The earnings and benefits statements provide your yearly income for every year that you've been employed and the Social Security benefits you've earned based on your earnings.
If you no longer have any of your statements, don't fret. Your earnings and benefits statements are now available online at the Social Security Administration's website. You can set up an account and check on your income and benefits at any time.
Remember that any earnings missing from your earnings and benefits statements will affect your calculations and your benefits. Unreported income, such as working for cash, won't be considered as a part of your lifetime earnings unless you've kept records of them elsewhere that you can use in your calculations. This unreported income also won't be considered when determining Social Security benefits at retirement.
Figure Out the Inflation Rate of Your Income
When determining your lifetime earnings, you'll want the figure to be in today's dollars. However, income earned thirty years ago isn't equal to the income that you earn today. To compensate for inflation, you're going to have multiply your income depending on the decade in which you earned it. Income earned in the 1950s should be multiplied by eight, income from the 1960s by seven, income from the 1970s by 4, income from the 1980s by 2, income from the 1990s by 1.5, and income from the 2000s by 1.1.
By doing this, all of your income will be in today's dollars, giving you a more accurate idea of your estimated lifetime earnings.
Calculate Your Net Worth
Once you've figured out your lifetime earnings, you may want to calculate your net worth. Calculating your net worth is simple. Add up all of your assets, or everything you own of value. Typical assets include your home, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, jewelry, electronics, and collectibles.
Next, add up all of your liabilities, or all of your debts. This includes the total amounts of your mortgage, vehicle loans, student loans, credit card debt, personal loans, medical bills, and tax debt.
Subtract the total of your liabilities from the total of your assets to determine your net worth.
Calculate Your Lifetime Wealth Ratio
Once you've calculated your lifetime earnings and your net worth, you can then figure out your lifetime wealth ratio. Your lifetime wealth ratio is your net worth divided by your total lifetime earnings.
If your total lifetime earnings are $750,000 and your net worth is $150,000, then your lifetime wealth ratio is 20 percent. So, what does this mean? It means that you have managed to hold onto 20 percent of all the money that you have made in your lifetime and 20 percent doesn't seem so bad.
Understand, however, that people don't get rich off of a 20 percent lifetime wealth ratio. People get rich off of a 1000 percent lifetime wealth ratio. They get rich by investing their money and making a lot more than they started with. Maybe 20 percent isn't your goal. Maybe your goal is more like 50 percent or even 100 percent, so that you can retire comfortably, send your child to college, or take that trip around the world.
Calculating your lifetime wealth ratio regularly can help you track your progress toward your goal.
Estimate Your Future Salary
Conservatively estimating your future salary is fairly easy. If you receive an annual raise, decide what the average percentage of your raise has been and use that amount to determine future income. If you make $75,000 and your average raise rate is five percent, next year you should make $75,000 x 0.05 or $78,750. The following year you'll make $78,750 x .05 or $82,687.50, and so on.
However, most people don't stay at the same job forever or don't stay in the same position. For most, the goal is to move on to bigger and better things. When people change jobs or change positions, there may be large increases in salary, making projecting future earnings nearly impossible.
However, conservative future projections can be used if you'd like a conservative estimate of how much more money you're likely to make in your lifetime. This figure can then be used to find how much money needs to be saved/invested to meet your goal lifetime wealth ratio.
Knowing how much you will need may be the motivation that you need to push yourself to find your next bigger and better thing to increase your income.
Know Your Finances
Regardless of whether you are just starting out in your working career or starting to think about retirement, it's important to understand where you are financially. Finding and understanding your Social Security earnings and benefits statements can help you to figure out your lifetime earnings thus far and the benefits you are eligible for upon retirement.
Figuring our your net worth will allow you to see where you are in terms of assets and liabilities, which can assist you in understanding your spending habits. Using your net worth to determine your lifetime wealth ratio will enable you to see how much you've been able to save, or how much you've spent, in comparison to how much you've earned over your lifetime.
Only by understanding where you currently are regarding your financial status can you begin to work toward to the future you've always dreamed of and doing the things that you've always wanted to do.