Talking about “when to retire” and retirement “lifestyle”

Posted By on June 9, 2018

A conversation this week about "when to retire" after I mention attending my brother’s early retirement lunch lead to the question "how much do you need to have saved to retire?" calcpigOf course we ALL know the answer to that … "it depends." Yup, very helpful #sarcasm … yet so true, considering the differences in not only lifestyle, but retirement vehicles such as pensions, 401Ks, IRAs, healthcare options and net worth vs current debt. For most of us, an early retirement would mean spending a lot more savings (that won’t be growing) until Social Security and Medicare is available … "burn" too much of your retirement nest-egg in those early years can make for a far less comfortable 20-30 year after 67 years old retirement. Be careful.

As we all know, it really does depend on a lot of factors. In my mind the biggest "planned for" factor is lifestylealthough probably more important your current and projected health. Putting health aside, since it can be the most challenging to "plan for," lifestyle for each one of us is different. Most financial planners assisting the middle class tend to use current expenses and incomes as a basis for planning. If you are use to spending more and live where it is more expensive, the likelihood is that you will continue to spend more than those who haven’t. Here’s a rule of thumb example: According to retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments, having 10 times your final salary in savings if you want to retire by age 67 is the starting point.  (take note that it needs to be more if you are retiring earlier!) Fidelity also suggests a timeline to use in order to get to that magic number:

  • By 30: FidelityRetirementHave the equivalent of your salary saved
  • By 40: Have three times your salary saved
  • By 50: Have six times your salary saved
  • By 60: Have eight times your salary saved
  • By 67: Have 10 times your salary saved

Another rule of thumb for those in the middle of saving for retirement is from a 2017 report by the International Longevity Centre in the UK. They recommend a retirement saving rate of 11% in order to achieve an adequate retirement income during your retired years. Obviously if you start later, you’ll need to bump that percentage up. As far as how much you’ll need per year (based on your current "lifestyle"), they recommend planning on 70% of your current income.

Back to the discussion and more pointed question, "when are you going retire?" For me it will be when my wife and I are both on the same page and ready (as well as factoring in exponentially growing and unknown expenses such as health care) or when we no longer enjoy working or feel we are being productive (I’m pretty close to that .. HA!).  

If you are a fan of online calculators, here’s a popular Retirement Calculator from that can assist in "ballparking" your numbers. 


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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