Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably
close to oxygen on the "gotta have it" scale.
— Zig Ziglar
I have now the gloomy prospect of retiring
from office loaded with serious debts, which will materially affect the tranquility of my
— Thomas Jefferson
Saving for Retirement
"How much money do I need
to retire?" is a common question typed into Google.
Variations of this question include:
How much do I need to retire?
When can I retire?
Is 2 million enough to retire?
How much should I save for retirement?
How much money do I need for retirement?
As indicated in my book How to Retire
Happy, Wild, and Free, planning for retirement, if and when it is pursued,
generally focuses on financial issues. How to save for retirement, surprisingly, is not easy even for many
of the high income earners.
Recent studies show that Canadians and Americans plan to work way past the retirement age of 65
due to the fact they don't have enough retirement savings.
Yet many of these people are fooling themselves. Fact is, two-thirds of Canadians retire before
the full Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan benefit age of 65, often times involuntarily due to health
reasons, having to take care of loved ones, or not being able to find a job.
Unfortunately, according to the National Save for Retirement Week website,
research has shown that nearly half of all workers in the United States have less than $25,000 in total savings
and are saving for retirement very slowly. Even more startling is the fact that slightly more than one in five
American workers say they have no savings of any kind.
You have to be a real clown not to have a financial plan and be saving
for your retirement. Right? Not really, you would just be among the approximately 80%
of Canadians who don't have any sort of comprehensive financial plan, according to the
Financial Planning Standards Council.
— Garry Marr, Financial Post
We only need to save $49 a month for a happy retirement. That's how
much we'll need for our cable TV bill.
— from Glasbergen cartoon
Why Americans Are Not Up to
with Their Retirement
I mentioned how Billy Boy Franklin stated, "Americans have
mastered the art of being prosperous though broke." In other words, they have not saved enough for
Here are some 10 signs that many Americans
are not planning adequately for retirement simply
because they are not saving enough money for retirement.
Roughly half of all working Americans don't
participate in a retirement plan or don't have an employer-sponsored plan in which to
A huge number of adult Americans — by one
estimate 150 million of a potential 200 million — aren't saving for retirement in any
meaningful way, if at all.
Dave Ramsey, a personal-finance expert and
talk-radio host, cited a recent poll in which 80 percent of Americans said they believed
their standard of living would go up at retirement.
"Our culture today tells us that we deserve to
have everything we want because we can charge it," Dave Ramsey says. "Previous generations
thought you could only have something if you could pay for it. Their lifestyles were much
simpler, and retirement was a time to simplify even more."
Many Americans are counting on Social Security
for their retirement. Social Security, however, stands on unstable financial
The average total income for those 65 and older
in America is $25,610, and the median is a meager $16,770, according to EBRI Notes, a
publication of the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That means retirees are
living on roughly one-third of their pre-retirement incomes. And that's a far cry from the 70
percent to 80 percent that income replacement experts suggest Americans need to
maintain their pre-retirement standards of living.
Most Americans spend more time planning for
vacations and holidays than planning for their retirement, according to the Employee Benefit
Research Institute. Seventy percent of workers say they do not have a formal, written
financial plan. According the Retirement Confidence Study from
the Employee Benefits Research Institute, only 2 in 5 workers have attempted to do a
retirement savings needs calculation, and one-third of those who have don't remember the
A recent study
indicated that said a whopping 21 percent of Americans see winning the
lottery ( the
retirement plan for stupid people) as an important wealth-building strategy. The
odds of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot are said to be one in 175
percent of Americans are relying on an inheritance to carry them through. Of the 20 percent
of Americans who will inherit some money, most will receive less than $49,000. This is enough
to buy a nice new car and perhaps a garage to put it in, but certainly not enough cash to
fund a carefree retirement in which the only thing to worry about is where to
Talk about credit crazed — the average American
household owns 13 credit cards, and 40 percent of them carry a balance, up from 6 percent in
1970. The good news is that the no-money-down mentality may not be so pervasive any longer —
hopefully it will be put to rest forever.
If you are having a hard time saving enough money for retirement you may
want to read Ernie Zelinski's most recent book, an inspirational novel called Look
Ma, Life's Easy: How Ordinary People Attain Extraordinary Success and Remarkable
Most American retirees have very little money and will have no retirement income to speak of
because they never learned how to save their cash. The typical 50-year-old American has earned a great deal of
money in their life time but according to one financial report, has savings of only $2,300.
The Ideal Retirement Plan: "Marry an old rich
broad and wait for her to die."
— Ivan Wilson (commenting on an online article about retirment planning.)
The median retirememt income for American retirees 65 and over was just $18,208 in
2008 — a quarter of these retirees had incomes under $11,139, according to Patrick Purcell, an expert on older
workers and pensions with the Congressional Research Service.
The average Social Security recipient age 65 and over receives just $12,437 in annual benefits,
he said, and among individuals 65 and older who received income from financial assets, half received less than
$1,542 last year.
Hopefully you won't be in the average or lower when you submit your retirement letter
and start your retirement.
If you are one of these people who hasn't saved enough, you must start today — no excuses.
Saving Money So
That You Have Enough Retirement
1. Start saving immediately regardless of your age — even a little amount goes a long way and sets you
up for future success.
2. If you have a hard time saving money, create a budget and control your spending.
3. Set financial goals and monitor your progress regularly.
4. If you work for an organization, sign up for it's pension plan.
5. Always make full use of tax-favoured investment vehicles.
6. Set up an automatic savings program with at least 15 percent — preferably 25 percent — of your
income targeted for your retirement account.
The Good News
" How much money do I need to retire?"
Particularly if you are a
baby boomer quickly approaching retirement, you may be concerned whether you are saving enough for
The good news is that many people may be
overestimating how much money they need once they leave the workforce. Several research studies show that people
generally spend a lot less as they age. (Even so, this is not a reason to become casual about how
much you are saving.)
I along with well-known actuary Malcolm Hamilton and syndicated
columnist Scott Burns of the Dallas Star have been saying for years that the 80 percent figure
is idiotic. Common sense says that if a person makes $500,000 a year that the person does not need
$400,000 a year to retire. In fact, no one needs $400,000 a year to retire.
In Chapter 1 of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free , I give eight good reasons why the large majority of
retirees, whether they live in Canada, the U.S., or other Western nations, can live on far less than 80
percent of their pre-retirement income.
Indeed, government statistics indicate that retirees live
comfortably on 45 percent to 62 percent of their pre-retirement income.
For instance, my friend Jim took early Canadian
Pension Plan of only $435 a month. This is his total regular income and he has no assets to speak of except for
an Airstream trailer and a older car. His income is supplemented by a few hours a week work that he gets from a
mutual friend who manages a medical clinic. Jim lives pretty well and is one of the happiest people I know. He
does admit that he wishes that he had a bit of money saved for emergencies, however.
Another friend George is 65 and collects about
$1,450 in Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. This is his total income. George lives in a subsidized
apartment. Get this: George saves $450 to $500 a month.
The issue of "how much do I need to retire" is best
addressed by being totally honest with yourself about what are "needs" and what are
Let's face it: All your needs have always been provided since you
were born — otherwise you would be dead! So keep that in mind if you want to cut your expenses and overheads by
following money tips that can get
I recall talking to an artist who was making only about $1,200 a
month and had to cut back because his income dropped to $1,000 a month. He told me how he surprised himself
that he was able to cut back and make ends meet when he took a hard look at what he can do without. So if this
guy can cut back, over 90 percent of Canadians and Americans can cut back if they stop lying to themselves and
others about what their "needs" are.
Of course I haven't completely answered the question, "How much
should I save for retirement?" simply because you are the only person who can answer this. But I
should have answered the question: "Is 2 million enough to retire?"
If you want to retire happy regardless of your income, then you
should read How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. It gives retirement wisdom that you won't get from your financial
The World's Best Retirement Book helps readers better envision their
individual retirement goals, including where they want to live, what they want to do in retirement, their
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More Quotes Relating to Retirement
and "How Much Money Do I Need to
This may come as a shock to some, but if you really want to get rich, the first
thing you need to learn is how to spend money — or NOT spend it — as the case may be. And what with
national consumer debt and bankruptcy numbers reaching ball time highs in the U.S. in 2008, it's
apparent that there's more than just a little foolish spending going on.
— Rosalind Gardner
The sports car and sailboat are investments for my retirement. I'm
using them to attract a woman who support me in my old age.
— Glasbergen talking to financial consultant
Retirement can be a great joy if you can figure out how to spend time without
— Author Unknown
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your
annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
— Voltaire (in retirement)
Retirement: The time in your life when time is no longer money.
— Unknown wise person
It's an absolute fact that as people get older they spend less money.
— Rick Ferri president of money-management firm Portfolio Solutions in Troy, Mich.
You can be young without money but you
can't be old without it.
— Tennessee Williams
By the time I have money to burn, my fire will have burnt
— Author Unknown
My retirement investments are diversified. Blue lottery tickes,
yellow lottery tickets, green lottery tickets, red lottery tickets ...
— from Glasbergen cartoon
Don't forget about How to Retire Happy, wild, and Free (The World's Best
Retirement Advice Book).
WEBSITE COPYRIGHT © 2017 by Ernie J.
of World's Best Retirement Savings Book