Q. I’m 62 and getting closer to retirement — hopefully in two years. I’m a widow and I think I will have enough to retire. I have $159,000 in a 401(k), $200,000 in IRAs and $60,000 in an annuity. I have my husband’s pension already — $1,213 per month — and I will take Social Security. How can I know I have saved enough?
— Getting ready

A. We’re glad you’re planning ahead and not just winging it.

With longer life expectancies, you should plan on making sure your money lasts until age 90, said Brian Power, a certified financial planner with Gateway Advisory in Westfield. And depending on your family’s history, you may have to plan until age 100.

The first question would should ask yourself is if your investments will need to supplement your lifestyle in retirement.

That means you have to figure out how much you expect to spend once you’re retired.

“Most people will spend about the same they were spending while working or maybe a little more since they have more time to travel and spend time with friends and family, Power said.

If you find out that your anticipated retirement expenses exceed your pension and Social Security, then it’s important to know by how much.

That’s where your investments would come in.

“The amount of money that you will need from your investments is called a withdrawal rate,” Power said. “Safe withdrawal rates range from 2 to 5 percent of the value of the portfolio, depending on your investment strategy and whether your goal is to leave money to heirs after you pass away.”

Power said the ideal situation is to maintain a modest enough lifestyle to keep yourwithdrawal rate reasonable, and to have an investment game plan that could keep your money relatively stable but growing modestly to replace some, if not all, of the annual withdrawals.

If you think you need a hand with the calculations, consider a free money makeover with NJMoneyHelp.com.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

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