Creating Retirement Planning Spreadsheet Step by Step

A retirement planning spreadsheet is a helpful tool that provides you with the ability to take accurate record and control over your retirement costs. It can be made either on paper, or better, in Excel or other similar program. Here is how to create and fill in a simple and easy retirement planning spreadsheet:

1) Make a column for each calendar year; fill in your respective age and spouse's age recorded under each calendar year. This goes out through life expectancy.

2) Add lines for each fixed source of income, such as social security benefits and pension received by you and your spouse, annuity income (only if you have an annuity that will pay you a guaranteed minimum amount starting at a specific age or date, with the payment continuing for life, joint life, or for a set period of time), expected annual earnings if you are going to work after retirement, and any other fixed income sources you might have.

Take into account the following:

- the surviving spouse keeps the larger of their own social security or their spouse's death;
- if you take social security before full retirement age and have earnings in excess of the earnings limit, your social security will be reduced.

3) Input one-time income sources, such as the money you expect to receive for selling e piece of your property.

4) Add a row for your desired gross retirement income (gross means before taxes).

5) Calculate the gap or surplus each year from your fixed sources of income compared to your desired gross income. If you get a negative number after doing the calculation of total annual gap or surplus, this means that you will need to take this money from your savings to provide for your needs.

This simple spreadsheet is not meant to take into account all the factors that might influence your retirement income, such as inflation or investment returns. However, it will help you to track your retirement income and, probably, help you to plan for retirement more efficiently.