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What's your magic number?

July 26th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

A number of years ago, I determined that my retirement savings goal was $1.2 million. That's the amount I calculated I needed to live comfortably in retirement and enjoy my various retirement hobbies after using several different retirement calculators. (Actually, I never met a retirement calculator I didn't like! Whenever I come across a new one, I try it!)

I came across a good article about saving your way to a million dollars here: http://money.cnn.com//2012/07/20/pf/savings-budget-millionaire.moneymag/index.htm?section=money_pf&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_pf+%28Personal+Finance%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

I'd be curious to know:

1. Do you have a retirement savings goal?
2. If you do, how much is it?
3. How much of your retirement goal have you achieved, at (roughly) what age?

A little unscientific poll!

12 Responses to “What's your magic number?”

  1. Petunia 100 Says:

    I do have a number. Actually, I have three of them. I am aiming for 600k in tax-deferred, 150k in Roth, and a paid-for home (so my third number is zero).

    I am on track for the first two, it's the third one which is a big unknown. I may shoot for a higher number in tax-deferred instead, and just accept that the last one is unlikely.

    It's a modest target, but one which will provide for a comfortable enough retirement, I think.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    Very interesting, thank you Petunia. So your total savings goal is $750K,not including the house. I think I could also live on that, although I was shooting for higher to do some much longed for travel and also to make sure healthcare costs are covered.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I don't have a number. I used a couple retirement calculators and said I wanted to retire at I think I said 70, and be able to draw $80,000 per year (adjusted for inflation, but the equivalent of $80,000 now). It looked like I was on track as long as I got good returns, so I didn't worry too much after that. I don't know if that would sufficiently cover healthcare costs, though, since I can't tell where that's going right now.

  4. Petunia 100 Says:

    I have also always thought that until I am senile, I will work full-time during tax season someplace, and use that money for travel. Once senility sets in, I may stop. Smile
    Have you done any traveling yet, Patient? Where do you most want to go?

    I also do keep in the back of my mind, there are places where an expatriate can live pretty well on SS benefits and a 600k nest egg. (I mentally keep the Roth money separate, as I am thinking it will be for large irregular expenses, such as a new roof or to replace a vehicle.)

  5. Petunia 100 Says:

    Is that 80k for all 3 of you, CeeJay? Does that include SS benefits, or is that nest egg only?

    80k annual income sounds like a comfortable retirement to me. Smile
    Health care is a big wild card. A medicare supplement isn't terribly costly. I believe my Mom pays around $150 per month for her insurance, plus co-pays of course.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Petunia, yes, I entered all our info (retirement so far, expected contributions, expected Social Security). I believe the calcs I used didn't allow for two people, let alone three, so I just made us a composite person and used my age.

    I didn't keep my methodology for picking $80K, but I took away things like mortgage and other debt payments, savings, etc., and upped the travel and food budgets a bit. I think I added a line item for healthcare but I'm not sure; I may have been figuring we'd live in England and have universal. I think I used a 7% return or something, which I'm not sure is realistic.

    I know I should revisit periodically, to make sure my calculations aren't way off. But I figure, even if we had to live more modestly than that, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I enjoy the comforts of home more and more as I get older. Wink

  7. PatientSaver Says:

    Petunia, I will go anywhere!

    Seriously, though, I have been to Costa Rica (loved it) Alaska (twice, really loved it), throughout much of Canada (British Colombia, Canadian Rockies, Nova Scotia, Montreal area and camping in the Laurentian Mountains), western Europe backpacking and riding Eurorail (England, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, France (Alsace wine country) as well as an overnight in Budapest. Also to Tijuana, Mexico, before things got really bad there.

    I did the vast majority of my travel, and the best travel, in my 30s.

    Here in the US I've been up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida as well as California, redwood country, northern CA, Grand Canyon and other parks, San Antonio, west Texas, Everglades, Montana, Idaho. But I would really love to do an extended roadtrip through the US, preferably along back roads and small towns. There's so much to see.

    Would also love to return to Alaska, Austria/Germany or anywhere in Europe and check out Belize, Italy, New Zealand, Quebec City, Portugal. Norway/Sweden would also be nice. And Japan would be fascinating.

    did I leave anything out?

  8. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I have not come up with a figure for retirement mainly because I don't have much put away right now... So I figure I'll work as long as I'm able to do so, while putting away what I can (currently around $2k/yr in my ROTH ...) and when I must retire, I'll figure it out from there. Luckily I'm already used to living on a small income, so hopefully that will help at retirement. (Of course, if one particular stock really hits it big time like my uncle predicts ... then I may be able to retire very comfortably a lot sooner than I imagine -thanks to my personal small investment and my dad's somewhat larger investment.)

  9. My English Castle Says:

    I always figured 1 million with the house paid for. But unless we continue to cut back, DD gets a super scholarship and her teeth magically straighten themselves out, etc etc, we're going to have a hard time with that.

    For me, the UK question and the wildcard of our state pension system throws my calculations off.

    Then again, if the garage sales goes REALLY well....

  10. cptacek Says:

    I used to think $2 million would be very comfortable. That was when I wasn't married to a farmer. Now, our net worth is caught up in land, so I don't know how to figure it.

  11. CB in the City Says:

    I don't have a number. I'm just going to do the best I can. I can't possibly meet any of the numbers that are recommended. I never met a retirement calculator that I LIKED!

  12. monkeymama Says:

    No number here.

    We are well on track to have the coveted "20 times income." Only about 10% of the way there at age 35, but that is all that is needed to have "10 times income" by age 65 - even if we don't contribute another dime. After 10 years of contributing, we are just starting to feel the push of the compounding. Compounding should do some pretty heavy lifting the next 30 years.

    I don't have a particular goal because I Feel like there are a billion "unknowns" when it comes to this calculation. "Save as much as possible" seems to be the road to retirement success.

    On one hand, my spouse has been unemployed for just a decade, and the unforeseen financial challenges have been absolutely mind blowing to me. So, early retirement has never much appealed to me. (If I planned so horribly for 10 years what am I supposed to do for 60 years? Longevity runs in my family). This is also why I am not bothering with a firm end goal this early in the game. I also would prefer to work until the bitter end. But, these thoughts are tempered by the reality in this economy (both our dads retired early due to lack of work - most their less prepared peers are unemployed and struggling).

    Then there is another side to this. Both our families tend to be pretty good savers, but social security seems to be a bit of a windfall to our family tree. Neither of our parents were able to reach their retirement goals with this economy (not even close? Both stopped working many years earlier than expected), BUT they are doing *very well* regardless. The takeaway I am pondering is that the "$2 million necessary to retire" seems a bit overkill. If you aren't quickly whittling down your nest egg at the offset it should have a lot of time to grow during retirement. $1 million grows pretty quickly, at that. Maybe "$1 million and don't touch it too much too early" is a more than fine goal for us. Even considering inflation and all that. I will stick with the "save as much as possible" to be on the safe side, but I am paying less attention to the calculators that tell me I need a "$4 million nest egg" to survive. $1 million is doable, since we have been saving from our early 20s. Slow and steady wins the race. $2 million is "possible," but not holding my breath on that one. That's more if I can really work well into my 60s.

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