Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What Is Your Retirement Number?

Have you figured out your retirement number, yet?  Until recently, I had never heard of the extremely helpful retirement planning book called "The Number: What Do You Need For The Rest of Your Life and What Will It Cost?"

This is one of the more fascinating retirement planning books I have read.  To make it even better, the author includes a touch of humor in the way he discusses this very serious topic.  It was even mentioned in a recent segment on "Good Morning America."

What I appreciate most about this book is that it gives you simple, easy-to-follow guidance in coming up with a reasonable estimate of the amount of money you need to save and the amount of income you should have in order to enjoy the type of retirement that will be comfortable for you.  This is not an average of what most people need; it is a way of estimating the very specific needs of you and your spouse.

What Numbers Do Retirees Need to Know?

Retirement Income:  Have you come up with an estimate of how much income you will have when you retire?  How much will you need?  This author estimates that most people will need about 85% of their final working income.  In other words, if your last year's salary was $75,000, then you will need about $64,000 a year to retire with a lifestyle that is similar to the one you enjoyed during your working years.  Of course, if you make dramatic changes, your actual expenses could be higher or lower than that.  How are you going to reach that $64,000?  Half of it or more could come from Social Security.  The rest will need to come from a pension, a retirement job or investment income.

Retirement Savings:  This book suggests that people should have put aside eight times their last year's income.  If you are earning that same $75,000, that means you should have saved $600,000.  Again, this may change from person to person depending on other sources of retirement income you may have and your planned lifestyle after retirement.  Some of this retirement savings may be what you have put aside in an IRA or 401(k).  Some of it could come from the equity in your home or other property if you sell it and move someplace less expensive.

Withdrawal Rate:  While there was a time that people estimated they could withdraw 7% a year from their savings, this is considered far too aggressive today.  Instead, most people should limit their withdrawals to about 3% to 5% if they want the money to last the rest of their lives.  It is best to withdraw less in the early years and more in the later years when you may not have the ability to work part-time or do other things to supplement your income.  If you have managed to accumulate the $600,000 mentioned above, at 3% this would come to about $18,000 in income a year.  At 5%, this would amount to about $30,000.  If your goal is to reach the $64,000 in retirement income that you would need to replace a $75,000 salary, and you and your spouse together have at least $34,000 in Social Security benefits, then this gives you "your number."

This book is not only informative, but humorous and will help many Baby Boomers, as well as younger adults, put more thought into how they are going to achieve their number ... and what they will do if that number seems impossible to achieve.  Don't worry.  This book will not leave you feeling as though there is no way for you to reach a "number" that will work for you.

If you would like to pick up a copy of this book, here's a quick link to help you find it on Amazon:

"The Number:  What Do You Need For The Rest of Your Life, and What Will It Cost?"

If you want to read about other approaches to retirement planning, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of articles about money issues, family relationships after retirement, health concerns, and where to retire, both in the United States and other countries.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  www.morguefile.com

2 comments:

  1. This is great stuff. I saw this concept on TV and have heard Suzie Orman refer to it. We should all learn this in high school!

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  2. I agree. There would be far fewer poor retirees if people were taught this at a younger age.

    ReplyDelete

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