Million-dollar question: How much do you need to retire?
The good news is there are now more millionaires than ever. But when it comes to retirement, is a million dollars enough?
“If they want to be financially independent, retire at 65 and be able to have an income of $40,000 a year in retirement for 30 years, then it’s likely that they’re going to need a million dollars to retire to generate that lifestyle,” said Bruce Allen, an independent wealth advisor.
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Living comfortably on $40,000 a year in retirement, which would require a $1 million nest egg by the time you reach the retirement age, will depend on your expenses, investment returns and health-care costs. This figure does not factor in other benefits, like pensions and Social Security, which can greatly boost your retirement income.
For retirees Ralph and Karen Jones, making the most out of their money meant making a big move.
“I didn’t think that we could maintain the lifestyle that we wanted if we stayed in New York after retiring. Coming to Myrtle Beach was just amazing, to see the difference in what your money would buy, how much you can get for your money,” Karen Jones said.
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The Joneses bought their new home in South Carolina and now pay a fraction of the property taxes they once did—freeing up funds to vacation frequently, and make big ticket purchases when they want.
The Joneses aren’t your typical retirees. U.S. Census data show less than 8 percent of the U.S. population has a million dollars. Yet, many financial advisors warn even a seven-figure sum may not be enough.
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Many retirees make it work with less. According to Census data, the median household income for those 65 and older is $34,000, but that’s almost half the $66,000 for ages 55 to 64. In order to preserve that preretirement standard of living, financial experts say you’ll need more than a million dollars.
“A million dollars could be enough, it might not be enough. It really depends upon … what you anticipate your retirement to be and what you were earning before retirement,” said Jeanne Thompson of Fidelity Investments.
That’s the million dollar question.