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How to Calculate the Future Value of Your Retirement

Thursday, August 20, 2020   /   by The Villages Home Search

How to Calculate the Future Value of Your Retirement

Understanding the difference between the future value of your money versus the present value of your money can be tricky.  (Using a future value retirement calculator can make it easy though.)  Once you get your head around the concepts they are pretty simple, and you’ll see why understanding this way of thinking about cash is so important to your future financial security. 

future value calculator

NOTE: If any of this feels confusing to you, good news!  The NewRetirement Planner automatically takes care of all future value calculations for you, giving you a realistic picture of your future finances.

What Is Future Value? What Is Present Value?

Future Value: Future value is the value of your money in the future after all growth and depreciation factors (inflation) have been accounted for.

Present Value: Present value is the value of your money today. It is also the opportunity cost of that money: its value comes from what it can be used for today, in addition to its intrinsic value.

A Simple Example

If you have $10 today, $10 is the present value of your money.  In the future, the value of that $10 could be very different.  The future value of your $10 will be dependent on growth rates, time frames as well as inflation.

  • If you simply kept your $10 in your pocket, then your $10 might only be worth $7 in the future (depending on the inflation rate and how many years your money sits there). 

  • However, if you invested your $10, then the future value of your $10 could be higher. To calculate the future value, you would add your net returns (your rate of return minus the inflation rate compounded over time) to the $10.

The key difference between present value and future value is what you can do with that money now versus what you can do with it in the future. (This is the opportunity cost.) Your money now can be invested in something that may give you more opportunities in the future, like your house, business or stock portfolio.

But you may need to spend that money now on necessities because you have to take care of the present to ensure the future. This is why calculating present value (immediate needs) versus future value (projected future needs) is essential to creating your best budget.

Future Value Formulas

There are various formulas that you can use to determine the future value of your money.

Future Value Using Simple Interest

FV = PV*(1+(r * t))


  • t = number of years

  • r = actual rate of return or interest (Your “actual rate of return” is your rate of return* minus the inflation rate**)

Future Value Using Compounded Annual Interest

FV = PV * (1 + r)^t

Present Value Formula

You might also need to calculate the present value of some future sum of money. 

PV = FV/(1+r)^n


  • r = rate of return

  • n = number of periods

Future Value Calculator for Your Retirement

There are lots of simple widgets that can calculate the future value of some current amount of money (and vice versa). 

However, it can be more complicated to think about all of the different levers that go into your retirement planning and how all of that will get valued into the future.  And most importantly, will it be enough.

Future Value Calculator: How the NewRetirement Planner Handles Future and Present Values

The NewRetirement Planner is the most robust retirement planner online.

Set Your Own Inflation and Rates of Returns

The NewRetirement Planner accounts for inflation and growth on all income, expenses and savings and assets, even allowing you to create different settings for:

  • Rates of appreciation (or depreciation) on different kinds of assets

  • Rates of return on savings and investments

  • Inflation for general goods and services, healthcare, Social Security and more

  • Social Security cost of living adjustments

  • Optimistic and pessimistic values for all of these assumptions

This all increases the reliability of your projections.

Projections and Results – Future Dollars:

In the NewRetirement Planner, all of your future projections are shown in future dollars.

This can sometimes confuse people as the values – particularly for housing – can get really big in future dollars.

All of your assumptions are applied to all of your levers so you get a truly accurate picture of your financial profile in the future. 

Your Inputs – Mostly Present Dollars

When you are entering your data into the NewRetirement Planner, most everything is entered in present values.

However, there are exceptions: any one-time activity that happens in the future is entered in future values.  Examples of future one time events include future:

  • Lump-sum expenses and contributions

  • Annuity purchases and pension payouts

  • Roth conversions

  • Housing sales and purchases

NOTE: Ongoing contributions or distributions that will happen in the future are still entered in present dollars.

For example, if you think you’ll contribute $100 per month for 10 years then $200 per month, enter those values and the system will automatically inflation adjust those values so the $100 goes up to $102 in year 2, and in 10 years we start with ~$244 monthly contribution.

See what your future looks like with the NewRetirement Planner.

The post How to Calculate the Future Value of Your Retirement appeared first on NewRetirement.

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