A Simple Retirement Calculator – UK version

Back on June 14th, I shared a reader’s neat spreadsheet called the Canadian Retirement Calculator. It was fun to see young Mustachians sharing with one another, and that event has triggered more sharing.

Another reader has completely rewritten the spreadsheet to reflect UK tax and savings laws. I realize that UK readers are only a few percent of the readership due to my crude and bossy American bias, but that still adds up to quite a few people so I thought it would still be very worthwhile to share it.

The idea of this series of spreadsheets is that you fill in the yellow boxes, and the spreadsheet instantly provide a great amount of detail about how things will look during the upcoming decades of your life – year by year. You can then tweak assumptions about your spending and earning and see what you really need to do, to get yourself to a nice juicy early retirement

Although I am sharing these spreadsheets in Lazy Vacation Man mode without taking the time to dig into the formulas much myself, I did have a couple of observations about this new British one:

1: wow, things look much more serious and respectable/official with pound signs instead of dollar signs, don’t they?

2: if you tweak the “bank” column so that the initial net worth starts out the same on both spreadsheets, it is interesting that the net worth grows considerably slower in the UK, presumably because of the higher tax rates. After ten years, it’s a $100k difference. Fairly significant, although you may get it back in the UK through public services in other ways. Better health care? Lower university tuitions? More public pension benefits? Lower carbon emissions per person? I’m not sure of the answer, or if Canada is just a better deal for living.

Here you go, in .xls format:


Many thanks to Chrissy, our UK spreadsheet ninja!

Now we just need a hardworking US resident to tweak it for our own country. You will be helping thousands of fellow Americans plan their escape from the rat race and you can even take public glory for it if you like. Who is up for the challenge!?!

  • Liz July 28, 2011, 8:57 am

    Wow, thank you! I only just got round to looking at the Canadian one yesterday, and played around with it a bit to make it work for the UK. I decided it was too much work for right now, even though I am an accountant… and then you publish this today! Kind of glad I didn’t spend a long time on it ;)

    Thanks again, and to Chrissy for doing the work!

  • Chrissy July 28, 2011, 9:55 am

    It was a pleasure, MMM & Liz.

    I mostly kept to HS’s model, as I found it simple, yet effective. It’s worth noting a couple of updates in addition to UK tax-rates and account types:

    – Age (in column B) should be updated, as the spreadsheet won’t factor in withdrawals from pension prior to age55
    – The sheet is set up to assume you always max a cash ISA, then a stocks & shares ISA (ie £5,340 to each under current guidelines). It also assumes you would withdrawal from a cash ISA before a S&S ISA.

    If/when I move back to the US and a US version isn’t set up by then, I’ll happily re-work the model. However, I think trying to re-learn US tax rates/rules now would make my head hurt. It’s so much more complex with added deductions, etc., I can’t be bothered to deal with it at the moment.

  • Rubie July 28, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Thankyou MMM and Chrissy for this, I am a UK reader and love the blog! I like your direct approach, it has really inspired me. Also thanks to Mrs MM for her posts; I have now given up dyeing my hair and it looks better than before!

  • Bakari July 28, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I did! I looked up US marginal tax rates, and IRA exemptions, and Social Security, and it took hours figuring out the calculation errors I created, and I finally got it to work.
    And then, a couple days later, my computer had a CPU error and refused to turn on, so the spreadsheet is sitting on that harddirve awaiting a time when I decide its worth the money to have it repaired (probably when my back-up computer dies)

    • MMM July 28, 2011, 10:15 pm

      Can’t you just rescue the drive from the busted computer and install it as a second drive in your working one? Or throw it into an external USB enclosure and plug it in that way? Both good ways to save data from old computers without requiring the whole computer to be repaired.

  • John Sansom July 29, 2011, 6:08 am

    A hat tip to you my good sir from across the pond in the UK.

    I’ll be tinkering away with this spreadsheet for sure.

    Your blog is an inspirational and highly enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Smorgasbord December 31, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I would guess the heavier tax burden you are seeing in the British version of the speadsheet is because a British pound is worth more than 1.5 Canadian dollars so someone earning to same number of pounds as dollars will fall into a higher tax bracket.

    Checking on tax free days in Canada and Britain I see that the overall amount of tax in both countries is about same.

  • Matt November 22, 2012, 5:19 am

    Thank you so much! This will be very helpful, I read about the Canadian one and wished for this.

  • Jef (mini mustacher) July 1, 2013, 9:37 am

    Great blog, have been introduced to your site by a friend about 2 weeks ago and have made it my goal to go through and read all of the posts. (I’ll be done by August :) ). Would be great to apply some of the tips however I love international travel & put $200 (Aussie away a fortnight towards this) along with around $500 for investing. Aim to retire by 50 with enough passive income to support me and a family.

    Long story short, are there are Australian retirement calculators? You may have this later in your blog posts but thought I’d ask now. Cheers

  • gmuk September 22, 2013, 5:26 am

    Thanks so much for this. Will have a play with it. I used to live in the US but now UK-based for the forseeable future.

    Loving this blog, my software engineer buddies from Seattle sent it my way and it’s been a revelation. Thank you!

  • Liz October 3, 2013, 5:31 am

    I have died and gone to spreadsheet heaven. Cannot wait to get to the PC and try this sukka out. Thank you so much Chrissy!

  • Brooks March 9, 2014, 8:18 am

    Did anyone make the US version?

    • Dobie July 15, 2014, 3:59 pm

      I am quite good with Excel if this was never done, but don’t want to duplicate efforts. Anyone know if this is done?

      • IAmNotABartender November 10, 2014, 4:15 pm

        There’s one in the comments of the article where the Canadian calculator was introduced.


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