How much do YOU think YOU need to retire? ...and at what age will you (and spouse) retire? (Part 2)

Some of the happiest people I know don’t make a great amount of money but they love life. Money certainly isn’t the key to happiness, obviously it can help in some instances.

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Please read the post that I was responding to. In that instance it was someone that was earning 40k/year in income. Not someone that was living off of 40k in retirement only that had earned 40k a year (or 60k) while working. And for some people, it isn’t a case of “only” 40k. Also, some people would be thrilled to be making 40k or 60k a year in income.

100% agree with this. Finding a balance is so important. It was always important to me to be there for my kids after school, carpooling when they were young, attending school activities sporting events, volunteering in their school. After my oldest was born I never went back to work full-time. We make do with what we have and sacrifice other things for those experiences. It’s always been important to me to put my kids first. For one, they didn’t choose to be here, I chose to put them on this earth. I wanted to give them the best life I could, but at the same time teach them about fiscal and social responsibility. What it means to give back to those less fortunate, etc. While there have been some bumps along the way, I think my kids have turned out ok. Got them through high school without getting into trouble, and partially through college with one to go. But money is not everything and it definitely doesn’t buy happiness, regardless of what people think. I may not make much of an income, but I was smart enough to save and invest when I was young enough in order to not have to worry about it when I’m older. But I also don’t for a second take that for granted.


100% agree with balance. It sounds like you made thoughtful choices. I just worry because I see so many people who do not stop and think about their budget and savings priorities. It is a good idea to stop and take stock of your overall picture to make sure you are on the right track.

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Unfortunately where we live we know too many people that care about what car they drive, clothes they wear, and how many vacations they go on and wear every year. The amount of people in debt is astounding here but they continue to live way beyond their means and then have their parents bail them out as well as pay for their kids colleges because they didn’t even put away for that. What they don’t realize is eventually the money will dry up somewhere and if it’s going to the grandkids there will be less for them later on and then what are they going to do?

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TBH I stopped worrying a long time ago how others spent their money. And unless someone tells me - first hand - that they overspent and had to be bailed out by their parents I don’t make any assumptions. If their parents pay for their kids colleges that is none of my business.


Agree with this, but I might have phrased the last bit as: to confirm you are on the path you want to be. With all the pluses and minuses that come with those choices.

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There are definitely always pluses and minuses that come with those choices. I learned a long time ago not to worry about what other people have and never worried about keeping up with the Jones’. Unfortunately what I did learn is that you can’t control nosy neighbors who care what you have or don’t have and will flat out ask you what something costs.

Bottom line is my kids go to school with some billionaires and that’s just fine. They also go to school with people on financial aid or loans. That’s fine too. What I’ve always tried to teach my kids is it doesn’t matter what other people have, or what we have or don’t have, but to be respectful to all and to just live in a respectful way. My kids will have their college educations paid for, yet there are things that they have to put skin in the game for. Not to teach them fiscal responsibility as they already have been taught that, but to teach them that certain things are not an entitlement. Going to college is not a right, it’s a privilege. They need to respect that. Not everyone is able to go. They need to give back and be charitable. When a friend has a car and gives them a ride, chip in for gas. When they go out to a restaurant, tip appropriately, even if that means it costs them more than they expected. Respect people. But, you don’t have to live big to do it. We don’t live that way, and because of that, no one would know if I have a zero money to my name or 10m to my name. It’s not the way I live and I prefer to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, @fallgirl I do know firsthand about those who overspend and can’t afford to send their kids to college, because having 4 kids and knowing a lot of different parents because of my kids, I have to hear them complaining about it. I have a couple friends who have actually lost their houses because of their lifestyle. You can’t fake that. And, I don’t worry about how people spend their money, as long as they aren’t coming to me to ask to borrow some.

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Of course different decisions have different consequences. We make our own choices.
I make mine and don’t judge other’s choices unless they directly impact me.

Life is complicated enough. I chose to stay in my own lane.


Thank you for the response to my comments.

I think my comments were misunderstood: The point I was attempting to make is that, in my opinion, there is not a right path, it’s more about evaluating how one is doing along the path one has chosen for ones self (family). And making adjustments based on periodic (re)evaluations, and as life progresses.

I have learned to observe others for inspiration, and ideas, and use that information to help guide choices that might come along the path I am traveling.


Yes, makes sense and something that everyone should be doing because we are all living our lives for the first time (hopefully lol) and along the way we should each learn things to avoid and things we admire that people do to be successful (and when I say successful I don’t mean monetarily). Too many people measure success by $ but I view it as happiness. You can be the wealthiest most educated person in the world but still be miserable. You can be the poorest person and not at all educated yet be the happiest. Finding our happy place is what is important. We can all learn from each other! Thanks for the insightful post. :slight_smile:

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We all have different ‘gifts’ of talents and in different life circumstances.

We cannot control ‘time’ on how much longer we will live – but we can plan for time by using earnings to spend some and save some, and utilize the time value of money with investments and growth in value over time.

Energy - we sometimes can take better care of ourselves and avoid things that will cause us to not have ‘energy’. “Youth and beauty fade” - some are so obsessed with ‘staying young’ instead of more important things in life.

Money - yes it is tougher to ‘live well’ when one is on a low rung of income and has a lot of physical work, thus wearing oneself out and then having low income when one cannot work any more. On the other hand, some are obsessed with money as well as spend it immediately and therefore can live quite poorly.

Faith and values, and things that are available to everyone like nature and seeking out beautiful things that can be free or low cost.

Many people stir up a lot of drama, they are unhappy somehow themselves, and instead of looking inward, they find complaints with those around them.

H and I are having aches and pains. I had a bone scan as Oncologist thought my cancer possibly had spread (it had spread into my lymph system and a likely place to spread was low back/hips) - good news, I had arthritic changes causing the discomfort/aching. As a RN/BSN with a BSN DD, know how to try to stay healthy and well.

Mother in law developed dementia over the last 4/5 years of her life (she died in March 1 day before her 92nd birthday, and months after her H’s death at 92 in Dec 2020) - and she was kind of angry with some of her dementia, being demanding, treating me like a disliked servant when we had a good relationship over more than 40 years. She entered skilled care (nursing home) stable, did fine for a week, then rapid decline and died of hypertensive heart disease. Not the decision to get her into skilled care. She died in her sleep. It was her time. Plans had been for her to share a room with her H, but then Covid hit and a big delay for her move.

We are in AL, and we like AL. Will move from one city to another, and if we don’t find the house we want there, we may consider TX where we have also previously lived and have close relatives. Still moving things along. Definitely need to work up more documents - update wills and other things.

Our assets don’t include pensions other than $100/month as part of distribution from company change. We purchased some annuities. A lot in 401k. Some in property. Deciding how and when to draw SS, and meet again with our financial advisor in July. Penalty before ‘full SS retirement’ is harsher than the gain of 8% when extending drawing SS for retirement.


We’re on our way to visit my mother to celebrate her 97th birthday. My father saved enough that she has been OK for 19 years since his death, though we had to sell her largest asset, which was the massive 5BR, 5 BA, 3 story house where I grew up. Property tax was way too high and she wasn’t really able to climb stairs. She is a remarkable story in many dimensions but relative to this thread, she never exercised until age 78 when she had Guillane-Barre when my father was dying. The docs told us that people her age rarely recover. She went to rehab and then the gym for years thereafter. She could do a 1 minute plank at age 95. The gym she went to had a poster of her on the wall.

She is much weaker now – heart is not doing the job – but she is still going to exercise classes four days a week.

Both of them were very frugal. e spent on themselves. Didn’t spend much on clothing for kids (until the last one who was much younger). I’ve been managing her financial affairs and, unless she needs massive amounts of extra care, she can go on indefinitely from a financial standpoint. I think she’d more or less hope things were over as she is not enjoying in a debilitated state.


Laughing about “a lot of money” being over 50 million. I suspect most Americans would say anything over $1 million … or perhaps even less. But really any amount that is “your everything” requires good planning.

From Who Are the Top One Percent by Income or Net Worth in 2021? - DQYDJ
tota assets for top 1% is $11million, top 0.1% is $43milion


I think net worth is a better gauge than income, as any newly high paid parent facing full pay college will tell everyone on CC :wink:

Imagine the differenct if you have a $1MM NW at age 35 versus 65 (assuming that 35 year old keeps it invested the next 30 years, they are way ahead.) Then imagine how much of that NW is your home (which means associated expenses and unless it’s been owned a long time in CA, huge taxes) versus having that much in liquid investments or even real estate that produces income.

But mainly, I want to know, how DQYDJ figures out the household new worth? Do computers really know that much about us or do they guesstimate? I’d imagine the 1% & 0.01% have a lot of NW hidden in trusts that cannot be matched to their names; how would that skew the numbers?

DQYDJ says that it gets the net worth data from Federal Reserve Board - Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) . A description of how that survey is done is given at Federal Reserve Board - About .


This article had some interesting info … not certain how Census gets Net Worth info

“The most recent U.S. Census available data on income and net worth from 2017 show that the average American net worth is $104,000”. There are also charts by quintile (20% groupings) and by age range

@ucbalumnus reading the questions they ask is fascinating, so much detail. It would be quite time consuming.

from 5 days ago - just catching up on reading this thread.
jym262 - to ME - living an average non-deluxe lifestyle in the middle of the country - “a lot of money” is around $7+ million. I was like you too recently, mildly curious, when a close relative said they had a lot of Amazon stock. What does “a lot” mean?!

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Wealth is about net worth ( or liquid net worth or easy to liquidate net worth) vs. income. Income essentially takes care of standard of living. People retire on wealth. I define that as income producing assets other than the personal human body. Very important to work hard when you’re young, save accordingly so your money can work hard for you forever. Once the snowball is built, pretty amazing how much market appreciation adds to your wealth.

If you’re earning 75k today but your investments and SS will only pay you 40k in retirement, that’s likely a problem and will probably have you push out retirement for many yrs. If you’re making 100k+ and you’re investments will pay you 100k-150k per yr (SS+ Pension+ 401k + other) you can do whatever you want (or whatever you were doing). I think most will find they don’t need quite as much (other than the healthcare unknowns) in retirement as they weren’t spending every penny of after tax income. In retirement, they’ll only need what they plan on spending. For those who were spending every penny, retirement will be quite different.