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How Much Money Will You Need In Retirement?

How Much Money Will You Need In Retirement?

By Thursday, 25 January 2018 04:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The key to living comfortably in retirement is to make sure that you have enough income to last until you die. While some advisers might counsel you to enjoy your retirement and not worry about spending down your retirement savings, the last thing you should have to worry about as you age is whether or not your money will run out. That’s why you have to take stock of your financial situation well before you retire, to make sure that your retirement remains worry-free.

Expenses Will Grow

The only things that are guaranteed in life may have once been death and taxes, but we can add inflation to that last today too. Thanks to loose government monetary policy, rising prices are almost a given. You have to assume that you’ll spend more money later in retirement than you will early in retirement, especially on health care. In order to budget your expenses, you’ll need to first know what you’re spending money on right now so that you can estimate what your expenses will look like in the future.

Remember that it never hurts to overestimate how much your expenses will grow. It’s better to overestimate your expenses and underestimate your income rather than vice versa. That way you’ll be protected against a worst-case scenario, but you’ll end up financially ahead if that worst case doesn’t come to pass.

Food Costs

Everyone has to eat. If you’re retired, your children should be grown up and out of the house, so you can focus just on your own food costs. You may want to eat out occasionally, and should budget that in too. And while the rise in food prices can vary based on what kind of food you eat, it’s almost guaranteed that it will get more expensive over time.

Let’s assume that you’re currently spending $500 per month on food. That works out to $6,000 per year. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates that food costs are increasing 1.6% per year, you have to prepare for a faster growth rate. So let’s estimate a 5% per year rise. Since the average 65-year-old lives to around 85, that would mean you would spend nearly $200,000 on food over the course of your retirement. If you’re one of the 25% of 65-year-olds who makes it past age 90, you’ll spend over $286,000 on food during retirement. Do you have enough savings to cover those kinds of expenses?


Let’s assume that you own a home, you’ve paid off your mortgage, and you live in a state that assesses property taxes. The average household spends $2,149 on property taxes each year. The average home price increase since 1900 has been around 3% per year. That means that if you live to age 85 you’ll spend almost $58,000 on property taxes, or nearly $80,000 if you live to age 90. And that’s just taxes.

If you’re renting an apartment or house, you’re likely paying a lot more than $2,000 a year in rent. Add in water, gas, and other utilities and you’re probably looking at six-figure expenses for the duration of your retirement.

Medical Expenses

Healthcare expenses are the real wild card in retirement. If you’re lucky, you won’t have any major health scares in old age and will die a relatively calm, peaceful death. But if you come down with cancer, or suffer from heart disease, or develop diabetes, you may end up spending a lot of money on medical expenses.

The most recent figures for average out-of-pocket healthcare costs for retirees was $4,383 per year for a household, or around $2,200 per person. While healthcare costs average around 5 percent per year, recent years have seen growth rates approaching 7 percent. If we assume a 7 percent growth rate (remember, we’re thinking worst case), that would mean a single retiree would need nearly $90,000 if living to age 85 and $140,000 if living to age 90.

How Much Money Do You Need Today?

For a retired couple who live to age 85, we’re looking at around $438,000 of spending, and a couple that lives to 90 would spend $646,000 just on food, housing, and medical expenses. Factor in gas, travel, home upkeep, clothing, etc. and these figures will only grow larger. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to have $400-600,000 of savings available today, although that certainly would be helpful. If your retirement assets are invested, they should continue to grow during retirement, although you’ll likely be invested in conservative assets with a much lower growth rate than you’re used to right now.

If we assume a 5% growth rate on your assets, you would need over $250,000 today for that worst case $646,000 scenario. If your growth rate is more like 3% per year, you would need $320,000 today. Since the average household in its 60s only has $172,000 in savings, most people will need either to cut their expenses or increase the growth rate of their assets.

Thankfully there are assets available to the average household that can help increase that rate of growth. Gold, a store of wealth and save haven asset for centuries, has averaged an annual growth rate of over 7.5% since the early 1970s. That’s higher than stock markets over that same time period.

Investing in gold offers financial protection and stability, as gold isn’t as volatile as financial markets, but it also offers retirees the advantage of a steady growth rate. And with a Gold IRA you can roll over funds from an existing IRA, 401(k), or similar account easy and tax-free. So if you want to make sure that your retirement savings will last you through your retirement, you owe it to yourself to look into the many advantages of investing in gold.

Trevor Gerszt is America's Gold IRA Expert, CEO of Goldco Precious Metals, and holds a position on the Los Angeles board of the Better Business Bureau.

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The key to living comfortably in retirement is to make sure that you have enough income to last until you die.
retirement, gold, irs
Thursday, 25 January 2018 04:43 PM
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