Wondering how much to have saved for retirement? Whether you are young and planning ahead or you are closer to your retirement age, it’s the one crucial question we all have to ask. Like many things in life, though, the right answer depends on who you are.
It’s like asking how much you should have saved for buying a vehicle. Do you want a fun, zippy scooter to get around town? Or would you like a luxury vehicle? Of course, retirement is a lot different than choosing between car colors or optional features. And when it comes to your savings, it seems to be the puzzle to solve in retirement and investing communities.
Along with the retirement lifestyle question, there are other problems. How much you need now may not reflect how much you need in the future. That doesn’t even count inflation. Lifestyles change, and they change a lot when life events occur. Having a baby, getting married, buying a home, and retiring all impact our spending habits. Gauging these changes before they happen can be difficult.
How much to have saved for retirement depends heavily on how much money you spend.
When you retire, your lifestyle will change. The things you want to do may differ from what you expected. The difference could be dramatic or slight. But, if you think you will be comfortable sitting at home and eating TV dinners without any variety, you should either prepare to be very grumpy or start saving for a different lifestyle.
When you leave work you leave a lot more behind than you think. It is not just the responsibility of getting up and driving to the office that you are giving up. There are things you will miss (and I’m not just talking about the paycheck). Going into work every day means that you have a community. You have a circle to which you belong. Once you are not going there every day, you don’t have that.
Having a social community is a basic human need. People evolved to be social, even the “anti-social” ones need some connection. Maybe before retiring you had people you spent time with outside of work on occasion, but their life does not work on your schedule. Their retirement plans might be very different from yours and could bring you far apart.
With more time on your hands, there is a huge list of things that you may want to make time for including:
- Going out to restaurants
- New hobbies
- Joining a community
- Joining a health club
- More vacations and day trips
- Longer vacations
- More nights out with friends
- Extra subscriptions for entertainment
This will all impact the details of how much to have saved for retirement. After all, a job doesn’t only put money in our pockets; it also takes away from the time that we could be spending money. Idle hands will look to play, and once there is no job to stop you, those hands will itch to play more frequently. All of that playing costs more and more money.
Yes, understanding your current lifestyle is a good place to start planning for your savings number, but there are further considerations to make. What about the ways that you will want to upgrade your lifestyle? Will you be happy doing the same things you’ve done for the last 30 years? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it is something you need to consider. Even if you think you have come to a solid decision, you may want to plan to give yourself extra savings to expand your options.
Do you feel more confident about how much to have saved for retirement? Will you take different actions to save more?