How Much Do You Need to Retire? You’ll be surprised at how most people decide.

How much you need to retire? How do most people decide?

  • Use an online calculator
  • Ask a financial advisor
  • Prepare their own estimate

Actually, it’s none of the above.  According to the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, 45 percent of those surveyed stated that they ‘guess.’


Guess 45%
Ask Advisor 18%
Estimate   Themselves 18%
Read or Hear   Amount 8%
Online   Calculator 8%
Other 3%

Source:  EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey, 2013,

Is this something only the less well-heeled need to be concerned about?  Not according to more than 92 percent of high net worth individuals who agreed that it is important to calculate the amount of money needed in retirement (Spectrum Group 2011 research).  Yet, the EBRI survey found that nearly 60 percent of workers failed to set retirement savings goals.

Let’s get back to the ‘guessing.’  Since knowing your funding target is important for everyone, why would most people simply guess?  Is it because:

  • They know they don’t save enough and won’t face it.
  • The calculations seem complicated.
  • An anticipated inheritance will take care of this problem.
  • It seems so far in the future they procrastinate.
  • Their retirement account has ‘a lot’ of money and they ‘guess’ this will take care of it.

Do any of these hit the mark?  Your comments are welcome, so is your best guess.

One Comment
  1. Many people that I talk to use an arbitrary number of one million dollars as their target and if they can get close to that number then they are set for the rest of their life. But I think it is much more complicated than that.

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