Personal Resource Center

The Cost of a Comfortable Retirement

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Many retirement rules of thumb focus on savings. However, it's sometimes easier to think about retirement in terms of how much income you'll need.

Pension benefits

If you have a defined-benefit pension through work, that pension will guarantee a set level of income for the duration of your retirement. It may even be transferable to a surviving spouse after death. These payments are usually based on your salary and years of service.

When considering how to factor in any defined-benefit pensions you may receive, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • When will you be eligible for a pension?
  • How much will your monthly or annual payments be?
  • Are survivor benefits available?

Consult your pension plan documents or your company's benefits department to get answers to these questions. This will help you determine how much of your retirement income could come from a pension and how much you'll need from other sources.


Housing is another major factor in your retirement costs. If you own your home outright, you can avoid the costs associated with monthly mortgage payments or rising rent costs. This gives you more financial flexibility in retirement, allowing you to devote more money to leisure activities or travel.

However, if you rent or have a mortgage, those monthly payments could be a major factor in determining how much you'll need to save for retirement.

It's also helpful to consider whether you intend to stay in your current home, downsize, or move somewhere more fitting for your desired retirement lifestyle.

Family needs and expectations

When planning for retirement, also consider how you want to provide for future generations, including your grandchildren or heirs.

Do you want to be able to help fund college tuition for your grandchildren or leave a financial legacy to heirs? You can reach these goals through a variety of methods, including 529 plans, trusts, annuities, and life insurance. Your goals and the ways you go about reaching them will vary, but it's a good idea to consider them when calculating the cost of your retirement.

Medical and long-term care expenses

Medical expenses can be one of the biggest costs that retirees face. In fact, the average 65-year-old couple retiring today can expect to spend $315,000 on medical costs6 over their retirement years. While Medicare covers some medical expenses, it excludes many costs, including long-term care, hearing aids, and dental care.7

These expenses can quickly deplete retirement savings if they're not adequately planned for, so you may want to consider purchasing long-term care insurance or setting aside money in a dedicated health savings account to help cover these expenses.

The price of a comfortable retirement depends on a variety of factors and is about more than hitting some arbitrary retirement savings number. If you need help figuring out how much income you'll need and where this income will come from, contact your Synovus financial advisor. We can help you plan a comfortable retirement so you can enjoy your golden years without worrying about money.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Rick Munster, “How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?" MoneyFit, published December 8, 2022, accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  2. John Waggoner, “How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?" AARP, updated January 6, 2023, accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  3. Social Security Administration, “What Is the Maximum Social Security Retirement Benefit Payable?" accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  4. Social Security Administration, “Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2023," accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  5. Social Security Administration, “Social Security Statement," accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  6. Maurie Backman, “Average couple will spend over $300,000 on healthcare after retirement," USA Today, updated May 19, 2022, accessed January 12, 2023. Back
  7. Medicare.gov, “What's not covered by Part A & Part B?" accessed January 12, 2023. Back