How much do you need to retire? Find out in 60 seconds.

The amount of money that you need to retire is a different number for everyone. It depends on how much you’ve saved, your investments, your risk tolerance, and a lot of other variables. Financial advisors spend their entire education studying how to best determine the amount of money that a person will need for their retirement, but there is a quick and easy shortcut that you can use to estimate how much you’ll need.

How much do you need to retire? It’s complicated

Keep in mind that the magic number for retirement is specific to your needs, your expenses and your specific financial situation. Figuring out how much you need (and then how to maximize it and draw down on it effectively) is a really complicated process, that may best be accomplished with the help of a financial planner. Your retirement number may also change, depending on how you invest and if your expenses are changing.

What other variables could impact your retirement number? Here’s a few:

  • Your expenses, now and in retirement
  • Your risk tolerance
  • Fixed income in retirement
  • Any inheritance
  • Big expenses looming in retirement
  • Your investment processes
  • Life expectancy for your spouse and yourself
  • Tax rates (current and future)
  • If you’d like to donate to charity
  • The state you’ll reside in during retirement
  • Your health, and health care expenses
  • Asset location
  • Inflation
  • And more

The sheer number of variables and specificity to your own situation is need enough to involve a professional. However, if you’re looking for a 60-second quick check at home to see if you’re on the right track, keep reading. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a replacement for true financial planning.

The 60-second hack to learn how much you need to retire

To figure out a rough estimate of your retirement number, pull out a pen and paper and write down what it costs to be you on an annual basis. What does this mean? How much do you spend, in general, every year — don’t forget your housing, vehicles, food, everything. Since this is a quick exercise, it doesn’t need to be extremely detailed, you can write down a rough guess. Keep in mind that many people grossly underestimate their living expenses, so if you’re between two numbers, then opt for the higher figure.

Now that you’ve got a good guess as to what it costs to be you for a year, take that figure and multiply it by 20 and write it down. Take your number again and multiple it by 25. What you’re doing here is coming up with a range for what you’ll need to save for retirement.

As an example, let’s say you spend $10,000 per month to live. This accounts for $120,000 per year in expenses. We’d then multiply that number by 20, to get $2,400,000. We’d also multiply it by 25, which is $3,000,000. The retirement range that you’d aim for then, is between $2,400,000 and $3,000,000.

This is just a quick way to determine if you’re on the right track to saving enough for retirement. With all of the variables that go into retirement planning, you can’t rely on a quick guesstimate to plan for your future. See if you’re on the right track, and think about talking with a professional who can help you plan for your retirement in a manner that accounts for your specific situation.


This article was written by Andrew Rosen from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to

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