Mitch
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Mitch in $ Financial Freedom Chasers,

The $MILLION Dollar Question - Exactly HOW much money do you need to retire?

The answer to the million dollar question of how much net worth do you need in order to retire comfortable may be hidden somewhere in this title :)

Of course, it's not enough to just state the facts, I would need to back it up with some basic math.

Let's be very conservative and assume that you earn a safe 5% return on your investment. At 1 million dollars, that's only $50,000 a year being generated by your nest egg. Of course, we are assuming that we never touch the principal balance.

Now, you may be thinking that $50,000 is more than enough for you to retire comfortable, but is it really?

Well, yes and no. You still have to factor in the taxes that you'll have to pay on your dividends and for withdrawals if you didn't bother investing the amount using 401k's and roth ira's. You'll also need to consider the affects of inflation. Over time, your dollar will keep getting weaker and $50,000 may sound like a lot today, but once you retire, it may be barely enough to make ends meet.

Next you'll have to consider basic living expenses. Let's assume that you don't own any property and are renting a place. Believe it or not, many Americans are retiring broke and this is not an uncommon scenario. You'd have to pay approximately $14,000 for rent (or more if you live in New York City). 

After deducting this amount, we will have $36,000 left to play around with.

Do you have kids? Are they working? This is extremely important.. if you don't want the guilt of feeling obligated to support your children in your retirement, then you HAVE to raise them right and make sure that they are financially stable and know how to budget their expenses. You don't want a 45 year old man living in your basement eating into your retirement income.

So assuming you don't have underlings you need to support, you'd probably want to take a mini-vacation three or four times a year. Assuming each vacation is $2,000, you have 30k left to play with.

Deduct groceries, electric bills, phone bills, and you'd have around $15k left.

This 15k will be your emergency fund. As you can see, if you have a million dollars saved up, you'll be able to retire pretty comfortably, so start saving now and remember to donate to charity regularly so you can deduct them from your taxes... after all, don't you want to make a change in the world? This is your opportunity to do so in your retirement :)

Of course, having 1 milliion dollars saved up is simply to guarantee a comfortable retirement. MOST people, if not few, actually have that much saved up in retirement. If you want to be average, then go ahead and depend on your social security checks. Let's assume you get $800 a month from those checks, that's barely enough to cover rent.

In the comments below, I want you to come up with a plan on how you're going to prepare to save up 1 million dollars for your retirement. Simply take the retirement age of 65, deduct it by your current age, and divide a million by that number to find out how much you'd have to save per year to have the 1 million dollars for retirement, assuming that your investments catch up with inflation.