Originally Posted by mdowl
...these basic questions:
1) how much do you need per year to live the lifestyle you want
2) how much (if any) do you want to pass on to your children or others
3) how long will you live, or better said, what is the longest you think you will live.
Of all three questions, I think #2 is the easist to answer. It can range from "whatever is left after my needs" to "I will set aside X amount now and never include it in my own retirement calculations". This is a highly personal choice.
#1 would be whatever is affordable within COL (inflation) and personal desires. One of the things I did before FIRE-ing was to get a firm grasp on my own income and expenses. I created a customized spreadsheet using a template found online and really buttoned down current expenses. Then I did the same solo exercise for my fiance, then for both of us added together. It was only then that I made the decision to FIRE, based on my numbers only. He is not eligible to retire for 10 years, but it gave him a baseline of where he was and where he needed to get to.
#3 - if you can figure that one out, inquiring minds want to know.
From direct experience, Retirement Plan A had to be rapidly adjusted in real time. Retirement Plan B became the backup plan that a CFP firm had w*rked out for LH and I, modelled along the lines of "what happens if 2 incomes become 1 income?".
My point here is to make sure you incorporate worst-case scenarios (death, divorce, loss of pension, loss of medical insurance, etc) in your planning.
Life happens and you need to have that Plan B in hand and ready to implement, sometimes right now.