When you reach your mid-to-late 30s, you are hit with a panic-inducing life question—how will I ever get out of this rat race and retire? It’s a terrifying moment in a person’s life. All at once, you’re contemplating your life’s purpose, where you are, what you’ve accomplished and the goals you have yet to achieve. There is an overwhelming fear of an unknown future, where you may not have enough money to live the life you want or had planned.
Some people are desperate to retire before they turn 65 years old—the traditional retirement age—so that they have a longer length of time to enjoy their lives and the fruits of their labor. The big issue for those who want to opt out of the race at an early age—or the ones who will keep going well into their late 60s or longer—is how much money is needed to walk away.
One million dollars used to be the general answer. You’ve probably already had this conversation with friends over drinks or at the family dinner table of how much money you would need to say, “The hell with it! I’m done and gone!” The discussion usually turns into a debate over what the right amount of money is that’s needed to tell off your boss and walk straight out the door.
In our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, things were different. They would loyally devote themselves to a company for the majority of their working lives and then retire around the age of 65. A gold watch and pension would be rewarded to them for their years of hard work and dedication. Social Security benefits would add to the money needed to retire. Since the average lifespan was much shorter then, the funds didn’t have to last too long.