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I've written how I had gotten a ballpark figure before, using financial calculators and basing assumptions on averages and historical data.
I still believe it's better to have some goal for how much to save than to just go without a plan. However, if you can get smarter with your target number, than go for it.
I just finished reading Todd Tresidder's book aptly named How Much Money Do I Need to Retire and I feel like it deserves a special mention.
How Much Do You Need with Conventional Retirement Planning?
What makes Todd's book a resource is how he doesn't give a one size fits all solution.
He takes you step by step on how you can build a nest egg that fits your particular needs and situation.
- How much income do I need for retirement? While the traditional rule of the says that you should plan for around 75% of your current income, Todd shows that it's more practical to look at your expenses and make a reasonable ballpark figure as to what you will need. He references studies where most categories see a significant decrease with the exception of health insurance.
- How does inflation impact the amount of money I need for retirement? Todd gives some compelling reasons why you shouldn't just assume the standard 3% rate and instead stress test your savings requirement.
- How does life expectancy impact the amount of money I need to retire? While actuary tables are useful for insurance companies, Todd explains why they aren't valid for you and your retirement.
- How much will my company pension and social security pay during retirement? While those closer to retirement may want to factor in their pension and retirements, Todd goes into why you can't treat them as secure solutions.
What I appreciate is that Todd pulls no punches with these questions and more. He shares the math and studies relevant to each question.
You are encouraged to run the numbers yourself and decide whether or not conventional retirement planning suits your needs.
From here, the second section covers creative retirement planning. Todd goes over how you can adjust and tweak your current lifestyle and assumptions based on scenario analysis.
He gives some practical advice on how you can turn activities and hobbies that you enjoy into income streams that you can utilize when you retire. For couples approaching their retirement and are looking to shore up their finances, this section is for you.
The last section gives the cash flow model, which Todd used himself and allowed him to ‘retire' (be financially independent) at 35.
He crafted a three-rule system handles inflation and life expectancy plus gives you diversified sources of income.
I can say that going through the questions he asked, I feel more prepared and knowledgeable. Instead of being focused on that ‘magic' number, I have a doable plan that would work for us.
If you two are looking for a retirement planning resource, I highly recommend Todd's book. It is packed with information without getting too dry or long-winded.
How Much Do You Need to Retire?
How many of you are optimizing your retirement plans now? How are you handling your portfolio now? What are some of your biggest concerns?