This is an excellent question that so many soon-to-be retirees ask. The only solid answer I can provide to you is… “it depends”. Hear me out on this… some people believe that they need to hit a certain goal or number in their 401k before they “could” retire. Holding onto that number will set you up for unattainable results. The truth is it really does depend on what your goals are in retirement. Do you want to travel internationally with your sweetheart and see the world? Do you want to travel within the US and visit family and friends along the way? Would you like to spend 4 weeks in the Big Horn Mountains or Yellowstone every year for the rest of your life? Or are you more of a homebody, someone who would enjoy having the time to garden or volunteer? You see, all of these possibilities come with a varying price tag. When you make this transition in your life from Accumulation to Distribution your focus is no longer on the amount of savings before retirement… now the focus is taking what you have worked so hard to save… no matter the amount… and turn that into income that you can spend in retirement. Remember that just because you retire, it doesn’t mean that your bills stop coming. The reason I have seen so many retirees run out of money before they run out of life or watch as their income was greatly diminished has been due to one simple mistake that happens over and over again. They transition from the Accumulation phase to the Distribution phase but they never shift their own investment strategies to align with this new phase in their life. This mistake can be financially fatal in retirement.
The goal here is not to save a certain dollar amount before you can pull the trigger on retirement. It’s about how INCOME your savings can provide to you. Knowing how much you need each month in retirement to do the things that are important to you will create the retirement of your dreams. And having a fiduciary to teach and guide you along the way could be one of the most important decisions of your life.
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