457 Savings Calculator

A 457 can be one of your best tools for creating a secure retirement. It provides you with two important advantages. First, all contributions and earnings to your 457 are tax deferred. You only pay taxes on contributions and earnings when the money is withdrawn. Second, many employers provide matching contributions to your 457 account which can range from 0% to 100% of your contributions. The combined result is a retirement savings plan you can not afford to pass up.

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Definitions

Annual salary

This is your annual salary from your employer before taxes and other benefit deductions. Since your contribution and company match are based on the salary paid to you by your employer, do not include any income you may receive from sources other than your employer.

Percent to contribute

This is the percentage of your annual salary you contribute to your 457 plan each year. This calculator limits your contribution to 50% of your salary.

Annual contribution limits

Your total contribution for one year is based on your annual salary times the percent you contribute. However, your annual contribution is also subject to certain maximum total contributions per year. The annual maximum for 2010 remains at $16,500. If you are age 50 or over, a "catch-up" provision allows you to contribute an additional $5,500 into your 457 account. It is also important to note that employer contributions do not affect an employee's maximum annual contribution limit.

Current age

Your current age.

Age of retirement

Age you wish to retire. This calculator assumes that the year you retire you do not make any contributions to your 457. So if you retire at age 65, your last contribution happened when you were actually 64.

Current 457 balance

The starting balance or current amount you have invested or saved in your 457.

Annual rate of return

The annual rate of return for your 457 account. This calculator assumes that your return is compounded annually and your deposits are made monthly. The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2009, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.1% per year. During this period, the highest 12-month return was 64%, and the lowest was -43% (Standard and Poor's, Dec. 2008). Savings accounts at a bank may pay as little as 1% or less (Federal Reserve Statistical Release, Dec. 2009). It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment.

Employer match

An employer match is in addition to your annual contributions. It is based on a percentage of your annual contributions. This range can be anywhere from 0% to 100%.

For example, let's assume the employer matches 50% of the employee's contributions up to 6% of their salary. The employee earns $100,000 per year and contributes 10%. The results would be:

  • $10,000 from the employee
  • $3,000 from the employer (which is 50% of $6,000 or 6% of the annual salary).
  • Total: $13,000

Please read the definition for "Employer maximum" for a detailed description of maximum employer matching contributions. It is important to note employer contributions do not affect the maximum annual deferral allowed to an employee. (The employee contribution plus any employer match cannot exceed the maximum allowed deferral.)

Employer maximum

This is the maximum percent of your salary matched by your employer regardless of the amount you decide to contribute. For example, let's assume your employer has a 50% match, up to a maximum of 6% of your annual salary. If you have an annual salary of $25,000 and contribute 6%, your annual contribution is $1500. With a 50% match, your employer will add another $750 to your 457 account. If you increase your contribution to 10%, your annual contribution is $2500 per year. Your employer match, however, is limited to the first 6% of your salary and remains at $750.