Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?

  • Retirement is so far off for me. I have plenty of time to figure it out.
  • I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’ll just deal with it later.
  • I’m stretched thin right now. I’ll have to wait until I a) make more money b) pay off my debt or c) get my finances under control.
  • I’m putting a little away in my 401K, but I’m pretty sure I should be putting in more.

If so, you are not alone…

81% of Americans have no idea how much to save for retirement according to a new survey from Merrill Lynch, and 90% of women say they are completely or mostly unprepared for retirement according to Women’s Money®—a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women achieve personal financial wellness.

The reality is you need to be saving for retirement now.

Fortunately, no matter what stage of life you are in, you can get yourself heading in the right direction in a few simple steps. NOW is the time to start!

Commit to Yourself to Live The Life You Desire

To know how much you money you need to retire, you need to put it clearly in black and white. Retirement isn’t one of those issues we can sweep under the rug and hope that it takes care of itself. After all, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, and our bank accounts won’t magically grow on their own.

Here’s the deal:

What can feel hard, intimidating and scary today, will only feel multiplied exponentially each time you put it off.

So start today. Your future self will thank you.

Look within yourself and decide that you will no longer settle for staying on the retirement roller coaster of fear and denial that makes your stomach drop at every unexpected financial turn and causes your eyes to shut tightly when you’re barreling forward and see the full landscape ahead approaching at lightning speed.

Being able to answer “How much money do I need to retire?” is a great first step, so kudos to you for poking around online to get the answer for yourself.

But before we unveil the magic number, I encourage you to think of this as the starting point for yourself. Knowledge itself isn’t power. It’s potential power. The true definition of power is knowledge + action.

[bctt tweet=”Power = Knowledge + Action” username=”simplifimoney”]

Today you are taking the first step on a journey that can lead you to financial freedom. Knowing “your number” is only the first step. Commit to use your knowledge for good by following up and taking immediate action to start closing the gap on your retirement target.

Let today be the day that you take control of mastering your financial nest egg to live the life you desire.

Visualize Your Golden Years

How Much Money You Need to RetireStop for a moment. Imagine yourself retiring. How old are you when that day happens? 55, 60, 65, 70 years old? The earlier you want to retire, the more aggressive you will need to be with your savings goals

When you retire, what does your life look like? Are you surrounded by family and friends? Are you able to travel and visit places you’ve always wanted or loved ones living far away? Do you have a comfortable home? Are you living worry-free knowing that your finances are in order?

Or are you counting pennies and eating rice and beans because you didn’t put enough thought into retirement before it arrived? Even though you have lots of free time, are you unable to do the things that you want because you are living on a fixed income that covers just your basic living expenses?

Or even worse, are you not even able to retire? Are you going to be watching your friends go “off the grid” from work, and you find yourself stuck in the 9-5 rat race because retirement isn’t even an option for you?

I hope you’ll choose to visualize option #1 for yourself, although…

It doesn’t hurt to visualizer option #2 and #3 either if that lights a fire under you to act to ensure that those don’t become your reality.

Find Your Magic Number (How Much Money You Need to Retire)

How Much Money I Need to Retire_CalculatorO.k., o.k….. you’re on board with following through. You still want to know, “How the heck much money do I need to retire?”

Let’s making things easy, shall we?

If you ask around, you’ll find many ways to calculate retirement than I ever thought possible. With all the calculators and methods available, I tend to like the simplicity and historical performance of the 4% rule (outlined in the Trinity study), based on a retirement fund of 25x your annual spend (not income).

So if you are spending $80,000 a year on expenses in your first year of retirement, your retirement savings goal would be $2,000,000.

Stop. Deep breaths.

This is not meant to make you freak out.

This is meant to empower you with black and white numbers that you can adjust and specify to your specific situation.

How does this calculation work?

Assuming an annual 4% withdrawal rate your first year of retirement, and subsequent withdrawals that increase with inflation, this portfolio is designed so that you don’t outlive your money.*

*A few things to keep in mind:

  • This portfolio is minimum 50% stock.
  • Financial experts have run the numbers and backtested scenarios, finding the 4% rule makes for a strong guideline; however, nothing is guaranteed. 
  • This does not factor in social security payments. Based on the Social Security Administration’s 2015 report, the Social Security Trust is on track to be depleted in 2034. With today’s economic and political uncertainty many young Americans do not have confidence that Social Security will be there for them at all.

While nothing in life is 100% certain, I find this simple calculation (endorsed by many financial experts) gives me a solid target to work towards.

If you want to play with your own personal numbers, I recommend one of the following retirement calculators that are simple to use:

* Schwab retirement calculator
* Vanguard retirement goals calculator
* Networthify

Use these calculators to play with your variables including: age you want to retire, desired lifestyle (spend).

You can make small changes today that will have a big impact on your future financial goals. Now that you have a number to work towards, you can begin laying out the steps necessary to make it happen.

So start today. Do the rough-and-dirty 25x calculation, or use one of the online calculators to get your target retirement goal.

Then start putting money away, today, using this simple budgeting plan that anyone can follow.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?
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