If you listen to the financial industry you will fall into utter despair because you will realize you do not have enough money saved for retirement. Nor will you ever have enough money saved.
Do you feel that way? I certainly did. Before I quit work they had me convinced. I don’t have enough saved. I’ll never have enough saved.
The Financial Industry
This TIME article quotes various sources saying that you will need to save 8 times, 11 times, 12 times, 18 times your ending annual salary if you are to have any quality of life in retirement.
Or, looking at your needs rather than savings, this CNN Money article says this about what your post-retirement annual income should be:
When I started writing for MONEY magazine in the 1980s, people routinely referred to the “70% rule” when discussing the percentage of pre-retirement income one ought to shoot for. Soon 70% expanded to 80% or 90%, and before long, some people began suggesting that 100% was a more realistic benchmark. A few years ago, one retirement research firm even came up with a figure of 126%.
The financial industry has a strong interest in convincing you that you don’t have enough saved. To have any hope of ever retiring you will save as much as you can, investing in the stock market and in mutual funds. That makes money for the financial industry: the financial advisers, the brokers, the mutual fund companies. The money they make from you will allow them to retire with large incomes. The better they convince you that you need to save, save, save, the easier it will be for them to retire.
Just in case you are not already scared enough that you don’t have enough saved, the financial industry causes periodic financial crashes that wipe out your already meager savings. Just when you thought there was a glimmer of hope you might have enough saved, crash, there it goes. Oh well, you’ll need to save more money.
A funny thing happened
Before I quit work they had me convinced. I don’t have enough saved. I’ll never have enough saved. But then I started thinking. If I’ll never have enough saved, maybe I should just stop working now. Maybe I should focus on doing the things I want to do while I’ve still got my health and my body still works.
It took a while to make the decision to stop working because I owned a house and the equity in the house was the biggest part of my savings. I first needed to come to terms with selling the house, which is another story.
Eventually I sold the house, then stopped working. Then something funny happened. I stopped worrying about whether I had enough money. Suddenly everything seemed okay. My focus was no longer on whether I had or would have enough money, but was now on what to do each day.
Tanya and I moved from Boulder to Tucson to enjoy the warmer winters. We take trips to Phoenix, to Sedona. We explore the hiking and cycling and culture around Tucson. We go back to Boulder to volunteer with our beloved Conference on World Affairs and see our Boulder friends. We do stuff.
We’ve discovered that contentment in life comes more from experiences than from possessions – except the bicycles we own so we can have the experiences 🙂 . It comes less from buying things and more from what we do, the effort we put into things, the friends we have. We create memories through experiences, which doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. And that sounds like a great topic for another post.