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Old 04-06-2021, 09:30 AM   #121
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Well, in our case it was a bit of a planning mistake, and we didn't quite expect the roaring market of the last 12 years.
That's not a terrible reason! Our non-retirement accounts are throwing off more income and gains too, so our lower bracket benefit is shrinking. We'll see where it is in 12 years. I might join you on filling up the brackets before RMDs! It would be a good blow-that-fough problem.
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Old 04-06-2021, 03:37 PM   #122
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I know we have enough. My husband still tries to grow our account. I think that because he’s been investing for 40 some years, it’s just ingrained in him to keep growing. He will never become a spender or be happy with our balance.
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:58 PM   #123
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Wouldn't 'how much is enough' depend on COL in the chosen retirement area? Living in the boondocks of Kentucky vs someplace like S.F. would certainly change one's perception on what is enough.
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:17 PM   #124
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Wouldn't 'how much is enough' depend on COL in the chosen retirement area? Living in the boondocks of Kentucky vs someplace like S.F. would certainly change one's perception on what is enough.
Quite correct.

OTOH, Warren Buffett lives in Omaha, so does he have Enough?

Or is this just a fun game that we're playing?
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:17 PM   #125
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It also adds much to the uncertainty of the question. When the real estate taxes and costs go up so fast, it is no more that a WAG what those costs will be in 10~20 years.
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:38 PM   #126
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It also adds much to the uncertainty of the question. When the real estate taxes and costs go up so fast, it is no more that a WAG what those costs will be in 10~20 years.
Righto.

There's no way you wanna be one of those folks who's subsisting on what's euphemistically called a Fixed Income...
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:54 PM   #127
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Righto.

There's no way you wanna be one of those folks who's subsisting on what's euphemistically called a Fixed Income...
But don't forget that there are also people on this board living quite comfortably on $3000 - $4000 a month. Some on less than that. If all they had was SS they would do just fine.

And not all of them live in the boondocks...they're just smart enough not to choose a HCOL area.
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Old 04-06-2021, 11:23 PM   #128
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For most people it boils down to what you are or were used to making and if it was a comfortable amount. When I was making $30k, I wasn’t comfortable with that amount, I figured $50k would be about right. At $50k, $75k became about right. At $100k, $125k became about right...but then it happened. $125k WAS about right. For ME!. Everything after that just increased what went in to retirement savings. At that point money was a means to an end to stop working and do what I want, with a double edged factor trading higher portfolio allowing less time with a smaller pension. As pension increased each year, a smaller portfolio was needed. Only made over $200k in final 2 years of career, and have found that with only a mortgage, a $125k income is well more that covers everything we want, since I don’t have to pay FICA/Med or contribute to retirement savings anymore, along with a lower tax bill. So retired at 61 was great timing. Neighbor behind me, owns 4 homes, has investment income of about $450k/yr, (NW about $100M) but worked until he was 69, plus his wife has large family money inheritance. He told me it is his biggest regret not stopping when he had enough. His health (and hers) is poor, a lot because of putting off health decisions because “too busy at work” (back surgeries and joint replacements), too much stress drinking). That money cost him way more than it was worth. His kids will retire fabulously wealthy. Mine won’t.
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:21 AM   #129
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Original goal to retire at 55. Retired in 2013 at 58. No regrets and in hindsight could have gone out at 52. My indicators of "enough":

1). I occasionally buy a lottery ticket. I never think to check to see if I won until I stumble across the tickets weeks later when clearing off my dresser. Winning the lottery would not change our lives other than perhaps adding the hassle of fending off scammers.

2). When hiring someone to do work on my house, RV or yard I worry about them doing quality work, not the cost. I'll always take the higher bid, if there is evidence the work will be better quality and on time.

3). Our investments are sufficient to to replace my pension income should the megacorp paying it go under.

4). I elected to draw SS at age 70 because we don't need the income today.

5). I made a very detailed 25 year budget projection when I retired. Even with far higher medical costs than anticipated, we spend less annually than the total annual spend of the benchmark budget. In retirement we spend less than 40% of what our salaries when working supported. Of course in our working years we lived far below our means in order to save, so it was easy to continue.

6). If today someone offered me a job paying several times my highest income working year, I would not consider it for a second. Being able to choose what I do with my time everyday is priceless.

7). Net worth continues to grow in retirement on a conservative 40% stocks, 60% bonds portfolio.

8). We are shedding "things", not accumulating.

9). The experiences which give us the most pleasure, have a negligible financial cost. An evening sitting by a campfire at a state park with our RV camping friends has infinitely more value to us than a luxury river cruise in Europe.

10). We wake up in the morning, and go to bed at night, smiling. After all, every day is Saturday.😊
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:51 AM   #130
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It's really amazing how much savings there are for those who have the interest and desire to work at it. We don't "need" to clip coupons, shop at Aldi, aggressively negotiate our cable and other bills, re-use aluminum foil or do any of the probably dozens of things we do to save a few pennies here and there, but it DOES really add up! And every penny we save, as the old saying goes..is a penny earned.

My younger sis has worked in a garden center as a designer most of her adult life..she's usually scraping to get by. But when I suggest she try to do some simple things (like move her Prescriptions to Kroger to get $3 or $6 refills instead of the far more costly through her insurance plan), she won't bother to take the time to do it. Makes me kinda crazy as she always seems strapped for $$, yet won't expend the effort to do simple things to lower spending..I know far too many people like that, all of who complain about needing to work into their 60s, 70s or beyond because they expect they will "never have 'enough'" to retire.

The way I look at is if I can figure out how to live a $100K lifestyle on $50K, then over a 40 year retirement that is $2M less in after tax, total retirement funding needed. Or a $200K lifestyle on $100K expenses, that is $4M less after tax dollars needed to maintain the same lifestyle over a 40 year retirement.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:09 PM   #131
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The way I look at is if I can figure out how to live a $100K lifestyle on $50K, then over a 40 year retirement that is $2M less in after tax, total retirement funding needed. Or a $200K lifestyle on $100K expenses, that is $4M less after tax dollars needed to maintain the same lifestyle over a 40 year retirement.


100%. If your W*rk BS bucket overfloweth, the are many levers to pull to shake up the 25x spending formula that is commonly referenced for FIRE. There are huge drops in spending and required assets that come from evaporating taxes, no more costs just to work, factoring in SS and Medicare, plugging in some modest home equity realization out in the future when home maintenance and stairs get difficult or just downsizing right now, spending 4.5% - 7% or so in the early years until SS, Medicare and maybe a pension kicks in, enjoyable activities that generate even modest amounts of income, etc.

If one really wants or needs to stop, there are ways to significantly load the dice to make it happen.
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:27 PM   #132
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"Enough" is more about aspirations than money, IMO. We have enough, no question about it. But our aspirations do not include being competitive in Aspen society nor do they include owning a private jet.

Recounted by John Bogle: At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, the late Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, the author Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel "Catch 22" over its whole history. Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . Enough.”
The definition of enough I think changes through our lives. Starting out enough might be a rental apartment and a car. At some point it is your own home and a nest egg, and then the big house, vacation homes, fine furniture, travel, jewelery, lots toys and beautiful art and things. (That last one sounds a lot like my ex)

So enough, for me anyway, is whatever allows you to live the life that makes you happy and is sustainable.

I think anyone who can say they have “enough” is very fortunate indeed. I am often asked to do a project by former colleagues who can’t understand my turning down some really lucrative offers. They can’t understand being happy with what one has or the concept of enough,,,, the poor souls!
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:31 PM   #133
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We're not retired yet, but I feel like we have "enough". Would more be nice? Sure. But we have enough to pay all of our bills, buy pretty much anything we want, go out for dinner and movies, and vacation whenever we want to.

We live a fairly simple life. We own a small home, drive inexpensive used cars, don't buy a lot of expensive toys, and mostly take fairly cheap vacations. We usually spend less than $45K per year, but feel like we are rich. We have enough.
Yall sound like my kinda folk!
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:38 AM   #134
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Isn't that strange, one of the unexpected consequences of the 401k and its ilk. When we all started these we were always told "it is great because your tax rate will be lower in retirement when you withdraw". And it's even worse because of the social security tax torpedo

Many seem to forget that even if your tax rate is higher due to your 401K, the growth and matching contributions can more than make up for it. Compared to the actual salary I contributed, those items will more than make up for the taxes I will have to pay when I reach RMD age (or taxes I choose to pay with withdrawals before then).

If you have a good pension and a good 401K, higher taxes, but you've won the lottery. First world problems once again .
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:35 AM   #135
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My answer to "How much is Enough" changes over time. It's a a lot less now, than it was ten years ago.... For me, "Bernicke's Reality Retirement Plan/Model" seems to playing out pretty well.
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:32 PM   #136
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"Office Space" lopped a few million off my NW goals.

Just kidding. It didn't do anything to my NW goals, but it did inspire me to reach for retirement. It is great inspiration to stay retired. DW and I both worked on the Y2K problem and this movie really hit home.

In recent years, every time some policy from Megacorp would come up, someone in my dept. -- possibly me sometimes -- would say, "Oh, another TPS cover sheet request." We'd all have a good laugh, except for our boss. Our boss was a very straight laced guy and did not watch R movies. We tried to get him to watch it so he could be in on the joke, but he never would. Too bad.
"Office Space"... one of my all-time favorite movies! Now that I'm retired, it makes me think of this meme...
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:52 PM   #137
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Many people suffer from "lifestyle creep". Income goes up so they lease a fancier car, move to a bigger house, join the country club, eat at more costly restaurants, get the premium cable package, send their kids to a ritzier summer camp, have a private box at the theatre, etc. Once they have all of those things, it's very hard to give them up.
+1. That's it.

DW worked with guys making $1MM and up annually. Every week they were bumming $50 or $100 bucks from her until payday because there wasn't even that amount left in the lobby ATM.
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Old 04-10-2021, 03:44 AM   #138
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My major concerns are 1) runaway inflation - which the gummint says isn't happening - but I'm experiencing something like it on a limited scale. and 2) Cost of LTC if we should need it.

I mention these ONLY because they COULD affect how much is enough. At "status quo", we have enough. How do I know? I can donate a large amount each year to my favorite charities with plenty left to live on. Should inflation rear its ugly rear, who knows. If we both need $10k/month nursing home, that drains even a decent sized portfolio pretty quickly. YMMV
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Enough - How much is that?
Old 04-13-2021, 04:24 PM   #139
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Enough - How much is that?

For us enough is enough that we can buy what we want when we go shopping, easily afford a new car that we pay for in cash, travel wherever we want, live in the home we want where we want, dine out when we want and not stress about the cost of any of it. Do all that but never incur any debt.
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:21 PM   #140
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We are living on around $50k, Our age and assets are such that we could spend $130k and not run out. We just don't have any wants. If I won $50M in the lottery, I would figure out how to spend some of it. It won't happen though, unless I start playing the lottery.
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