According to Richard G Dragotta of LPL Financial in Paramus, New Jersey, there are over 9 million people in the United States that have $1 million or more saved for retirement. That’s the good news, he says.
The bad news is that “$1 million might not mean you’re wealthy”. Dragotta says that the “new” $1 million may be $2 million in today’s economy and that people who have $1 million and believe that they’re set might actually need to rethink their plans as, in many cases, they actually might be short of the money that they need in order to retire completely.
Hatham Ahoo, the CEO of Pillar Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, California, agrees. “30 years ago, $1 million was a huge amount of money,” he said but added that “today, given today’s lifestyles and costs, it isn’t so much money.”
The reason is that $1 million translates to about $40,000-$50,000 in sustainable revenue annually, according to Joe Heider, the regional managing principal for Rehmann Financial Group in Westlake, Ohio. In his opinion “that is not that much money on an annual basis.”
He added that, a little over a decade ago, a million dollars could generate between $70,000 and $80,000 a year in retirement income but, today, with interest rates extremely low, that’s not the case anymore.
Of course there are plenty of people that can live on $40-$50,000 a year as not everyone needs that kind of cash to support their lifestyle. On the other hand, for people living a high-end lifestyle now, they’re going to need more money later in order to keep it going. Things like investment returns, inflation and taxes are going to play a big part in it as well.
Tim Courtney, the chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City, says that “I think it depends on how much money you’re going to spend”. Mr. Courtney goes on to say that “A million is not like $1 million 20 years ago or 30 years ago. If you’re wanting to spend $50,000 a year or less from your investment portfolio, $1 million will probably get it done for you,” he says.
Courtney also added that anyone who is looking to spend more than $50,000 a year might have a problem. “If you want more than that, $1 million is not going to provide that for you,” he says. Otherwise, you run the risk of depleting your savings before you die.
The biggest question is simply what a person’s plans happen to be once they retire, as well as whether they will retire completely or keep working part-time. It’s not exactly earthshaking news that $1 million today isn’t worth as much as $1 million was 10, 20 or 30 years ago, that’s for sure. But it also isn’t news that people have, over the last couple of decades, learned to live more frugally, and that $50,000 a year in retirement would, for millions of people in the United States, actually seem like a dream come true.
In other words, everything’s relative when it comes to retirement income. The best thing anyone can do is save as much as possible while they’re still working.