How To Calculate the Amount You Will Need to Retire

It is not the calculation your mutual fund dealer gives you

Investing for retirement is not just about total asset value or net worth.  While net worth is an interesting number and way to keep score, the real issue is how much income you need to maintain or enhance your chosen lifestyle.

Many people dream of traveling or fishing or taking up new hobbies when they retire.  Golfing, for example, is not cheap.  To plan for your retirement you need to start by examining what your lifestyle goal is.  Next, figure out what it costs and decide how to fund the lifestyle goal.  Finally, figure out a way to implement your plan to reach the retirement lifestyle goal.  

Step 1

Decide what your Lifestyle Goal is.  Do you plan to sit on the porch and knit, or do you want to tour Europe?  Whatever lifestyle you choose is fine, as long as you can figure out how to fund it. 

Tim Ferriss, author of best selling The Four Hour Work Week calls this step Lifestyle Design.  

Step 2

Calculate the cost of living your retirement dream. What extra expenses will you incur? Are there any expenses (like ongoing training in your profession) that will disappear in retirement? If the total cost of living your retirement dream seems too high, consider the possibility of income arbitrage. If your retirement income is in US Dollars but you can live in a lower cost country (like Mexico) your retirement dollars may go much further.

Step 3

How much you have is a lot less important to funding your retirement lifestyle then how much INCOME you have coming in. Without your day job, your pension and investments are going to be putting food on the table (and buying a new table if required). Consider these potential income sources: 1. Pension, government checks 2. Income from self directed and funded accounts 3. Renting out your home so you can live somewhere cheaper and benefit from global income arbitrage. 4. Leverage assets you can create yourself. Write a book, build an income producing article library, develop websites that earn for you. Do something to develop assets that generate residual income.

Step 4

Create a comprehensive step by step plan to fund your retirement.  As the old saying goes - "If you fail to plan you plan to fail".  

Compare your plan to your goals and adjust until you have a perfect match.  Then get out and implement the plan ASAP. 

The fact you are seeking out information on retirement planning indicates you have what it takes to succeed at planning a well funded retirement.


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