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Thread: How much do you need/have for retirement?

  1. #1
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    How much do you need/have for retirement?

    Based on the following questions:
    • Do you have a retirement $$ goal?
    • How much do you have in retirement accounts?
    • How long until retirement?


    You may fall into one of these categories:

    1. "I have a retirement goal. I am X% of the way to it with Y years left to retirement."
    2. "I don't have a goal. I just try to save. Get off my back!"
    3. "I am already retired."
    4. "I have nothing saved."
    5. Other ______


    Answer any of the above questions you feel like answering, or respond with the category number that describes you

    Me? I probably fall into Category #2. I just keep saving and hoping for the best. Though yesterday I just hit the mark of $100,000 in my retirement accounts! On one hand it seems like a lot, on the other hand it seems like a little

  2. #2
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    We are already retired and thru good planning and active saving, we have enough. As I have stated before, we believe in balance and thruout our marriage, we put money toward a reasonable mortgage, tax deferred, non tax deferred accounts, and travel. We budgeted and had savings goals which we monitored and met.

    It surely helped that we both have protected pensions and no kids.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Life_is_Simple View Post

    Me? I probably fall into Category #2. I just keep saving and hoping for the best. Though yesterday I just hit the mark of $100,000 in my retirement accounts! On one hand it seems like a lot, on the other hand it seems like a little
    Kind of depends on your age. It might be a lot or it may be way too little.

    I have a lot more in my retirement account than most of my peers. However it is still way too little considering that I'm 57

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    We've reached our initial retirement goal. The plan was to get to x, and just let the money double or triple until retirement (this was in the day of 10% returns, so in theory your portfolio would double about every 7 years). However the markets aren't yielding these kind of returns, and I can't see it getting back to that in the foreseeable future. Health care cost a big unknown, and likely I will (if anything) see only a small fraction of the social security I'm "supposed" to get. I think we need to up our original goal by 50-100% if we expect when we retire to never work again, and something less than that if we have casual or occasional work.

  5. #5
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    I'm already retired - retired at age 42 a bit over 12 years ago - and for me it was more about how much I spent (or didn't) rather than how much I had or saved. When I left work I had a paid off house with low property taxes, insurance and utilities, no debt, medical coverage thru the military (VA), approx. $100K in savings, a small government pension once I turned 50, a very small military/VA disability pension, and, most importantly for retirement for me, a lifestyle that cost very little to maintain. I found that my basic expenses were only about $500/month (food, utilities, gas for the paid compact car, pet food, all taxes and insurances). Then I budgeted another $500/month to cover any emegency. If I didn't have to use that money, I used it for budget travel instead. So I really didn't need a big amount of saving or income in retirement. So for 8 years I lived off savings of approx. $1000/month (often only $500/month if I didn't travel or have to cover something unexpected) and a small amount of money from my military/VA disability pension until my state governemnt pension could start at age 50. I choose to take it early and get less money then if I waited because I didn't need more money. Then, after I left work, I sold my house and downsized, to a smaller less expensive house. Paying cash for the place but beeing able to add an additional $125K or so to my savings. My expenses stayed the same - about $500/month for basics and maybe another $500/month for travel/fun/unexpected stuff. I sold my home and am currently renting but my pensions cover all my expenses (which are approx. $1300/month now because of the rent) and use my savings just for fun!! I follow something someone here once called the 4 legged stool prinicpal: Basicly if you lose one leg of the stool (one financial asset) you can continue to support yourself fairly comfortabily with just 3 other legs. And even if you lose a second leg, with a bit of balancing, you can do OK financially. And even if the third legs gets kicked away, you can still continue to sit in that chair as long as you really dig in and balance things like crazy. So before I retired I made sure I'd have my 4 legs - 4 investments/assets - in place first. For me it was a paid off house, no debt, savings in a regular bank account, a 457K (like a 401K for governement employees) and IRA's, and my 2 small pensions. I can (precariously) live off any one of them if ever needed. I'm also divorced and have no kids.

    Also, I never take earned interest into consideration when I was deciding how far my money would go. If I decided I needed $1000/month to live on, then I needed to make sure I had $12K/year set up in savings. So if I wanted to saty off work for 5 years, I'd need to have $60K in savings. However, I never included in the interest I earned on that $60k as part of the retirement equation. It was just fluff - something extra for a rainy day (or a sunny one in Paris someday :-)!). So I didn't base my decision to retire on interest rates and how much they would fluxuate over the years. I just didn't withdraw any more money per month then what I had alloted myself to live on.
    Last edited by Spartana; 3-21-12 at 12:44pm.

  6. #6
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    We are getting close, but healthcare premiums and college seem to be moving the goalposts out farther and farther. I left a tech job to stay at home with my kid. I don't think I'll be able to return to the same field. I'm not sure how employable I'll be in a few years either, although I would only want to work PT, so I don't expect a high income anyway.
    Last edited by cattledog; 3-21-12 at 1:23pm.

  7. #7
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    2."I don't have a goal. I just try to save. Get off my back!"

    When looking ahead I kind of figure a real return rate of zero (but if I'm lucky keep up with inflation?), and considering my age (30s) and when I got in the market, I've never gotten any type of real return. I half want to junk the whole game and just invest locally (so tired of this system I don't believe in). I don't and I likely will never have a pension (I barely even get employer matching). I could push my saving from 15% before tax which is not hardship to maybe over 20-25% which would be? My income does not leave me rich enough that 20-25% comes easy.

    All terribly cheery right? Yes well I play with getting out at the bottom as a better alternative than trying to be rich someday. Like all the money I have could it enable me to work (like maybe soon?) a job that pays somewhat less if I enjoyed it more? Because I already have an emergency fund and some money. This is not a get rich and retire to riches scheme ... because I don't know how to conceivably make that work with my reality (and my assumptions like zero real rate of return). I just don't know how 1 + 1 = 3, you know.

    Me? I probably fall into Category #2. I just keep saving and hoping for the best. Though yesterday I just hit the mark of $100,000 in my retirement accounts! On one hand it seems like a lot, on the other hand it seems like a little
    Yea, something screwed up about money and how we think about it when 100k isn't a lot? Don't get me wrong for many things it *isn't* a lot, I know all about housing prices etc. etc.. But it's also maybe 2 people working 40 hours a week for you for a year full time to do anything you want them to do? Really. Maybe even 100k is more power than you ever imagined.
    I hope that someone saves a seat for me on the last plane out

  8. #8
    Senior Member dmc's Avatar
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    I'm already retired.

    I quit work full time in 2006, I was 49, I worked part time till Oct, 2007. My wife and I have always invested our money and lived below our means. When I turned 40 I laid out a plan that I felt that I would be able to save enough to quit working when I hit 55 if I chose to do so. It was apparent that my investments were making more than I was spending so I quit at 49, the boss asked me to stay around for another 6 months or so to help with the transition. I only had to work 20hrs a week and really didn't do much.

    Even with the lousy economy I am now worth more than I was in 2007. And we have been living well, no debt and only needing around 100k to do what we want a year. I'm buying a plane so my expenses will go up another $15K-20K a year but that's not a problem. Just the reduced amount in taxes I pay now compared to 2006 is enough to live off of.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmc View Post
    I'm already retired.

    I quit work full time in 2006, I was 49, I worked part time till Oct, 2007. My wife and I have always invested our money and lived below our means. When I turned 40 I laid out a plan that I felt that I would be able to save enough to quit working when I hit 55 if I chose to do so. It was apparent that my investments were making more than I was spending so I quit at 49, the boss asked me to stay around for another 6 months or so to help with the transition. I only had to work 20hrs a week and really didn't do much.

    Even with the lousy economy I am now worth more than I was in 2007. And we have been living well, no debt and only needing around 100k to do what we want a year. I'm buying a plane so my expenses will go up another $15K-20K a year but that's not a problem. Just the reduced amount in taxes I pay now compared to 2006 is enough to live off of.
    Is that $100K/year income to live on each year, or $100K in total savings? I think it's the former because you said your getting a plane and they are pretty expense to have, fuel and maintain.

    Maybe we should start a thread on "How much do you think you'd need to live on in retirement"? That would probably be useful to determine how much a person needs to retire on, and how long it would take them to reach the amount needed.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Life_is_Simple View Post
    [*]Do you have a retirement $$ goal?
    My wife and I's goal was to have $2 million in income-producing investments and our home paid for, and then devote our lives to public service. Many of our college friends also had very similar goals and outcomes, we had many a long midnight discussion session back in the day coming up with our amounts and strategies.

    [*]How much do you have in retirement accounts?
    Quite a bit more than that now.

    [*]How long until retirement?
    We "retired" ~12 years ago, in our mid-30s.

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