Observations on life

How much money do you need to retire? Who knows?

How much do I need to retire comfortably? How the heck should I know? 😁

Let’s throw out $1,000,000. If you retire at age 65 and plan to live to 95 on $40,000 a year plus Social Security, $1,000,000 may be enough, but don’t plan on taking more than the suggested 4% a year from your funds or your plan is down the tubes and you will have to die sooner to meet your goal not to run out of money😢

Where do you invest your money? That’s easy; in stocks and bonds or more appropriate for most people, in stock and bond mutual funds, likely index funds. Surprisingly the mix of stocks and bonds does not have that great an impact on meeting the goal not to run out of money. Accumulating your cache in the first place in another matter.

If you are facing the how, what and when dilemma of retirement, take a look at the calculator from Vanguard  it’s a handy tool.

Source: Vanguard – Retirement Nest Egg calculator

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9 replies »

  1. The 4% withdrawal rate is based on the worst economic scenarios that have ever been experienced in this country (specifically the Great Depression and the Stagflation era of the 1970s). In the majority of other retirement scenarios, a 4% withdrawal rate will leave you with more money when you die compared to when you retired (assuming a 60/40 mix rebalanced annually). There are strategies that allow you to increase from the 4% rate with a measure of safety. See details here: https://www.kitces.com/blog/the-ratcheting-safe-withdrawal-rate-a-more-dominant-version-of-the-4-rule/

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    • That’s not correct. It is based on a 50 year period 1926 to 1976. It has come into question recently, but it’s not based wordy case scenarios.

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      • The charts on Kitces.com include data from 1871 – 1985, substantially more than 50 years. However, I am interested in seeing contrasting data / arguments if you know of any links.

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  2. I am waiting for the future topic of how much is too much savings to retire. I am not talking about million of dollars, I am talking about exceeding that low limit that disqualifies you for the subsidized senior housing, food programs, energy assistance, and other income based discounts or benefits. As the politicians keep promising more to the seniors because they vote, my worry is just like the welfare programs, people will become enslaved to stay just below these limits so as not to have to use their own money. Then it will be held up as proof, that you do not need more than social security to retire and have the good life if you have low expectations. There will be no need to save.

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    • Almost nothing in savings and then you will have to make some very hard choices living in retirement.

      My 89 year old mother has a total monthly income of $800, SS and $86 per month pension, since age 65 with no increase, from weiser lock for 10 years of employment with the company. She lives with my 70 year old sister in TX and gets $110 per month food stamps and her part B premium and 20% copay is paid by the state QMB program for the last 5 years. Her medical providers have to accept whatever medicare and QMB pays and cannot bill her for anything. This limits what doctors she can see and what tests are covered. She did not get any help for medical when she lived on her own in MT in 2004 and she only received $225 in Food Stamps and $200 energy assistance per year, because her mobile home was paid for and her lot rent was only $225 per month.

      When I was 60 and had income of $19,500 per year in 2015, I applied for food stamps and was told I made $50 to much per month to get any help, the lady told me if I had $100 per month in medical expense that they could give me $15 per month in food stamps, CRAZY!!!
      The welfare system in this country is nothing more than a jobs program for all the workers at the local welfare offices, nationwide. The federal government should just close all the welfare offices and add money to low income people’s tax return. IMHO.

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      • Maybe your mother can apply for illegal alien status in a sanctuary state/city and receive FREE taxpayer funded healthcare, education, food stamps, etc. and still pay no taxes ??

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      • $50 too much is crazy. I have seen articles on how to time your 401K withdrawals so as not to bump you up into the next MAGI bracket for Medicare part B or the next income tax bracket and if you have too, then take it to just below the next limit and drop back the following year. I am sure that there are those who are multigenerational welfare recipients that know exactly where that food stamp limit is. Soon people will write articles telling you not to save or work too many hours because you will cross a government income limit for some benefit. Watch for it in AARP.

        And then there is California. Read an article this week that $117K is now considered as “low income” in the Bay Area. I don’t know what this entitles people, but “entitled” is the key word here. Politicians continue to try to help these people by messing with the free markets by unreasonable building regulations and rent control boards which has just made the cost of housing outrageous.

        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/families-earning-117000-now-qualify-as-low-income-in-californias-bay-area/

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