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Old 12-15-2013, 01:50 PM   #21
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Just a generalization....but it seems that some of those who have the drive to amass such a large net worth do it from a variety of personality traits - and most of those traits would probably not lend themselves to be 'satisfied' any more in retirement...either because they get the most satisfaction out of growing/developing things in their working career, and they miss that in retirement, or perhaps they neglected their families to a certain degree while working, and don't value that level of interaction any higher in retirement than the people in the lower categories...
Or perhaps due to diminishing returns, people with $10M+ do not really get more out of life than people with less. Plus, other issues in life that bring misery are not fixable with money, for example health problems, or bad relationships. That could explain why the "happiness" level tends to plateau at 78%. The 22% of "residual unhappiness" cannot be eliminated with more money.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:34 PM   #22
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Thanks Katsmeow, MidPack, Racy, MajorTom and all, You all made excellent point. It's kind of "nosy" and pointless to ask such question. I certainly didn't mean it that way. I know better that "different strokes for different folks". If you retire at the regular retirement age with a good pension plan then a decent or moderate asset is good enough. I was more curious about the "average" asset of a real ER person who actually took a plunge 2, 5 or 10 years before SS kick in. So far, I don't think such data exist.

Wow.. I didn't realized how long I have been a member. I got approx another 20 years to go to reach retirement but always dream that I can do in 12-15 years if possible. Both kids will be in college in 2-3 years. My net worth is quite humble and NOT anywhere near where I want to be since the real estate crashed. :-(

Enuff-BS, thanks all.

Enuff2eat
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:20 PM   #23
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Wow.. I didn't realized how long I have been a member. I got approx another 20 years to go to reach retirement but always dream that I can do in 12-15 years if possible. Both kids will be in college in 2-3 years. My net worth is quite humble and NOT anywhere near where I want to be since the real estate crashed. :-(

Enuff-BS, thanks all.

Enuff2eat
Your intended question is a good one, but can't be answered by asking for details (as most point out, needed income, assets, lifestyle, etc. make for just a series of one-offs).
I, however, had planned 20 years ago for a particular number that included SS income since I didn't consider ER. I failed to consider a series of other factors, but the final number is a bit disturbingly on target. To retire 8 years early, I figure on either 30-40% more investment assets or, what seems more likely, my DW working another 4-5 years and perhaps me on semi-retirement. If both of the latter occurs, I won't need to draw from my retirement at all until I unsemi-retire. If not, then I would draw 5-6.5% from my retirement assets until drawing SS.
Your mileage will vary. I had no sense of this as a possibility when I was planning 20 years ago. And in fact looking at the pile of money required to retire at normal retirement, I was skeptical retirement was possible at "normal" retirement age. I just had a version of this conversation with a young colleague of mine.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:18 PM   #24
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How relevant the nest egg number is tied to what your annual expenses will be and that can vary quite a bit.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:36 AM   #25
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My required asset figure was calculated as 33 times the residual income needed to fund the gap between the military pension I will receive and my estimated ER annual expenses, with an added safety margin of around 20%. It's not quite that simple as my pension currently suffers a similar COLA - 1% degradation as my US military friends are about to be reduced to, but that is offset by the fact that my pension will initially exceed my estimated ER annual expenses, hence my asset base continues to grow before it gradually decays at an accelerating rate. It's a close enough approximation.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:09 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat View Post

Wow.. I didn't realized how long I have been a member. I got approx another 20 years to go to reach retirement but always dream that I can do in 12-15 years if possible. Both kids will be in college in 2-3 years. My net worth is quite humble and NOT anywhere near where I want to be since the real estate crashed. :-(

Enuff-BS, thanks all.

Enuff2eat
Day dreaming about the 'number' is something we all did. If your kids are off the payroll within the next 5 years or so, you may be surprised how much your assets will grow over a 10 year period. You will probably be earning and saving more, so you may be able to retire sooner than your 20 year projection. Stick with the plan and try to be patient.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:18 AM   #27
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When I began drawing down my portfolio at the age of 47, I had 41 x annual spending. 2.5 years later, I now have 46 x annual spending.

However, I have been living on less than I would really like to, and my current portfolio is 26 times what I would really like to be spending (or 24 x what I would really, really like to be spending!) I'll wait a few more years and see if the portfolio rises a little more. The added bonus is that none of these calculations take SS into account. My hope is that my portfolio will rise enough for me to be spending what I really want to in a few years then when SS gets closer, I can increase my income even more.

It's a proven phenomena in group psychology that it's easier to start out by not giving people much so that their expectations are limited, then give them extra, than to start with more, and take things away. I've been doing this with myself - living on a modest amount that should be able to go up in the future. It will feel good if I am able to allow myself more in the future (as I should be able to). The downside is that I haven't taken the trips and indulged in the extra-curricular activities that many do in the their first few years of retirement. It's OK - I'll probably be able to do that my the time I reach my mid-50's.

I don't think any of us have given you what you wanted in terms of an absolute figure though. I'm still not completely sure what use that would be to you, other than for the purposes of casual comparison (as in, "Ohhhh, I have more than him" or, "Ooooh, I did it on less than her") but based on what I have read on this site, I'd say that the majority of ER's here pull the trigger with a portfolio of somewhere between $1M and $2M, with a range of $1M - $1.5M being quite common.

Was that what you wanted to know?
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #28
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I agree that the actual net worth number is useless and is unique to each person based on their expenses and assumptions. I ER'ed this year at 49 with the following:

Had 36X "saved" in "current" living expenses.
No debt and no mortgage
Inflation rate = 2.5% and 7.5% for medical expenses.
Avg yield on investments = 6%
AA = 65/20/15
Assume no SS benefits.
Live until 95

FireCalc said I was golden (100%) ....
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:41 AM   #29
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It's a proven phenomena in group psychology that it's easier to start out by not giving people much so that their expectations are limited, then give them extra, than to start with more, and take things away. I've been doing this with myself - living on a modest amount that should be able to go up in the future. It will feel good if I am able to allow myself more in the future (as I should be able to)...
"A luxury once sampled becomes a necessity" -- Anon.

People who get to retire early by saving know how to ration their indulgence. Ability to delay gratification is a common trait here. On the other hand, we all know about people who got rich by winning lottery or even some entrepreneurs who got rich by IPO or buyouts managed to blow tens or even hundred of millions in just a few years.

Quote:
...
The downside is that I haven't taken the trips and indulged in the extra-curricular activities that many do in the their first few years of retirement. It's OK - I'll probably be able to do that my the time I reach my mid-50's.
I am past my mid-50, and I am spending more now. In a few short years, I will be 60. Gosh, where did my years go? I am a geezer! Arghhh...

Quote:
...
I don't think any of us have given you what you wanted in terms of an absolute figure though. I'm still not completely sure what use that would be to you, other than for the purposes of casual comparison (as in, "Ohhhh, I have more than him" or, "Ooooh, I did it on less than her") but based on what I have read on this site, I'd say that the majority of ER's here pull the trigger with a portfolio of somewhere between $1M and $2M, with a range of $1M - $1.5M being quite common.

Was that what you wanted to know?
Indeed, a poll here shows a big concentration of posters with between $1M to $2M. See: Net worth Poll.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:00 AM   #30
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It seems that most of the posters here have very well planned, conservative retirements with retirement spending starting fairly low. Very impressive. My experience has been not typical. As I posted earlier my retirement has gone through some pretty big gyrations. For the first couple years the markets were booming and it appeared we could never spend all our money but I gave it a good try. We bought several luxury cars, vacation property, very expensive trips. Then the crash. Scaled back for a year or two. Spending has increased again but nowhere near the pre crash levels. I think we have settled into just spending our dividends and pensions and this currently represents about 3.6% of portfolio value.
Take away is that we never could have planned for what transpired once retired.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:15 AM   #31
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I am past my mid-50, and I am spending more now. In a few short years, I will be 60. Gosh, where did my years go? I am a geezer! Arghhh...
I hope my future experiences mirror yours NW-Bound. I'm comfortable at my current spending level, but it sure will be nice to spend a bit more

As for where did the years go - who knows? I just realized that I stopped work almost 5 years ago and it only feels like a few months. I still cannot believe that I haven't worked in almost 5 years when, as a working stiff, I didn't go more than 2 weeks without working!

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Indeed, a poll here shows a big concentration of posters with between $1M to $2M. See: Net worth Poll.
Although this is a poll of current net worth as opposed to NW when pulling the trigger, for someone such as our OP, who is merely looking for a rough comparison figure, I think it would be fair to say that the majority of ER's here have a NW in the range of $1M - $5M when they begin their retirement. Pretty big range, but if all you're looking for is averages and medians, a more precise figure wouldn't be of any more use anyway.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:19 AM   #32
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Take away is that we never could have planned for what transpired once retired.
I think it is this uncertainty that is a big cause of OMY syndrome in many would-be retirees when, in reality, we spend our whole lives dealing with circumstances as they unfold - retirement is no different.

Regardless, it sounds as if you dealt with the changes very well Danmar.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #33
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I think it is this uncertainty that is a big cause of OMY syndrome in many would-be retirees when, in reality, we spend our whole lives dealing with circumstances as they unfold - retirement is no different.

Regardless, it sounds as if you dealt with the changes very well Danmar.
Yes, I agree. Better to be a little higher than necessary when you start. Although, you have to be careful not to delay too long especially if the job is a pain.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:22 PM   #34
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I think it is this uncertainty that is a big cause of OMY syndrome in many would-be retirees when, in reality, we spend our whole lives dealing with circumstances as they unfold - retirement is no different...
My life has not unfolded quite like what I thought. Generally, I am not doing too badly, and financially speaking, am within the range of what to be expected. And that is a wide range. One can just look at a FIRECalc run to appreciate the level of variation that one has little control over.

And yet, in retirement age we also have to deal with the uncertainty of our health. Until it happens to a retiree, he may take his health for granted. People most often do not think what happens to other persons he knows can also happen to themselves. And when it happens, they realize what is more important.

Between being a billionaire with a terminal disease like Steve Jobs and being a healthy RV'er boondocking in Quartzside, who would you rather be? It's not that we can really have a choice, but thinking about it makes us realize that unless one is so poor to be homeless, money is not really the most important thing.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:21 PM   #35
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Knowing other people's absolute numbers isn't really of any use because, as has already been mentioned, each of our situations is unique.
Actually, knowing other people's absolute numbers, without knowing their individual circumstances, is worse than simply being of no use. It can actually be misleading. It's just one of those things that shouldn't be discussed with a focused view on "the number" without a parallel discussion of the context.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:46 PM   #36
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Between being a billionaire with a terminal disease like Steve Jobs and being a healthy RV'er boondocking in Quartzside, who would you rather be? It's not that we can really have a choice, but thinking about it makes us realize that unless one is so poor to be homeless, money is not really the most important thing.
Constant worry of money is one of the biggest stress in our lives. How much more do we need? Money comes….money goes. What is left to fear if we could live for less? Money is only a tool and will be gone eventually.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:01 PM   #37
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Money provides quality of life, one cannot deny that.

However, when one's life is threatened, everything changes. When there is no life, the quality is exactly 0.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:25 PM   #38
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My life has not unfolded quite like what I thought. Generally, I am not doing too badly, and financially speaking, am within the range of what to be expected. And that is a wide range. One can just look at a FIRECalc run to appreciate the level of variation that one has little control over.

And yet, in retirement age we also have to deal with the uncertainty of our health. Until it happens to a retiree, he may take his health for granted. People most often do not think what happens to other persons he knows can also happen to themselves. And when it happens, they realize what is more important.

Between being a billionaire with a terminal disease like Steve Jobs and being a healthy RV'er boondocking in Quartzside, who would you rather be? It's not that we can really have a choice, but thinking about it makes us realize that unless one is so poor to be homeless, money is not really the most important thing.

Thank you for the reminders, NW-bound. DH tends to share your sentiments and has been successful in getting me to take more time to smell the roses.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:20 AM   #39
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After SS, a few small pensions, and what we receive in dividends from investments we haven't needed to touch what we saved. We saved about 35+% of our income for about 25 years. I could have retired earlier instead of at 63 but I enjoyed teaching at the college level (no research). I still miss it but health concerns convinced me it was time to make a change.

Once we reach 70.5 and required to start cashing in some of our IRA we will have excess. Our "wants" that make us happy are simple although for many others it may be too spartan. I was always worried I wouldn't have enough to take care of my wife and myself as we got older so the numbers were important as a goal. Dad always said I would be OK. He was good at understanding the technical side of personal finance whereas I wasn't. I guess he was right all along.

I like the Chipmunk story - kinda like the grasshopper and the ants. It sounded like us.

Cheers!
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:37 AM   #40
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Thank you for the reminders, NW-bound. ....
+1. It seems like this board is the only place I get the "Stop to smell the roses reminders". It's great that posters share their FIRE experiences (both good and bad) to help future FIRE's plan their futures.
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