Friday, February 15, 2008

How Much Do I Need To Save For Retirement?

I have been reading a lot of articles and advice on how much to save for retirement, how Americans aren't saving enough and how I need millions of dollars or else I will run out of money and have to eat cat food or go back to work when I am 75.

I am confused. Since I am single I assume that I only have to worry about taking care of myself. Right now my monthly bills including utilities equal $700/month. Then my mortgage costs me $800/month but I should only have to pay for taxes, insurance and maintenance once my mortgage is gone so I will add $300 a month to my $700. I would also like to have some fun money so I will add $500/month. Ok, I can live on $1500/month after taxes. Now the only thing that I have to worry about is inflation. According to MSN Money's Retirement Calculator which says it factors in a 3% inflation rate, my current nest egg will keep me comfortable long past my 85th birthday.

So, now what do I do? I am still contributing to my 401k to get the company match and next year I can participate in profit sharing which goes in to my 401k also. I just wonder if I should be putting more money in just in case I get married and have kids or something else unforseen happens that will cause me to need a lot more money when I retire. I hear a lot of talk about not saving enough but I don't hear people talk about what they do after they have reached their retirement savings goal. The articles make it seem like people keep contributing to their retirement up to the day they retire. I suppose once that goal is reached people can retire early but what if my money is not real yet? I am merely anticipating that it will grow over the next 30 years. There is no way I could retire now unless I liquidated all of my assets and I don't want to do that. Is it misguided to stop focusing on retirement and change my goals to building non-retirement wealth when I am only 35?

Maybe I am missing something. I would hate to find out that I really didn't have enough saved 30 years from now. But from where I sit now, I think I'm doing ok.

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