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January 16, 2008


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My employer has both a pension, modest 401K match, and of course socialist security. So I'd probably keep working until my minimum retirment age of 57 (to recieve the pension) no matter what.

Because I am so young, I would probably need about $4-$5 million after taxes before I would completely quit. $2-$3 million before I would probably change jobs and work a little less, or try out something new.

It's one thing to have enough to maintain your standard of living indefinitely, but if you like the work you do even a little bit, it takes more than that to get you to quit.

If you have exactly enough to maintain your standard of living, continuing to work would effectively double your income. For where I am right now, that's totally worth it.

On the other hand, if I had a big enough nest egg that working would only increase my income by 20% or less, I think I would find other things to do with my time.

Between those two extremes, I would probably work part-time.

Interesting question. Not sure I would quit my job. I love my job, I am young, what the heck would I do with my time. I would probably work less and retire earlier.

That's a really great question...I would say 3-5 million before I would consider leaving my job/field...but I really don't know if I would even then.

I guess I would probably decide to stay in ministry but go into something that is a little more flexible like speaking, writing, or teaching a couple classes here or there at universities. That way I would still be working and doing ministry but in a more flexible manner.

I'm young so I really can't see myself totally "retiring" for quite awhile. If I won the lottery I would most definitely go straight to school to get my PhD or doctorate.

Hmmm....the lotto is up to 95M...maybe I should go buy a ticket.....

In monetary terms about $0. I would work for free if the job was interesting enough. PS: Don't tell me employer.

BTW, the numbers some of the posters quote above suggests perpetual(!) incomes in the $100000-$200000 range. Do you really need that much to quit working? Annuities would result in even higher incomes.

I'm not living eating cat food, I make a pretty descent salary. However, I could replace my after tax salary with 1,000,000 fairly easily with tax efficient investing. Would I stop working? Maybe not, but it would be more of a hobby than a real job. Just sitting around the house relaxing will get boring after a few months.

Keep in mind, I'm in Canada, so if we win 1,000,000. . . we walk away with 1,000,000. No tax on winnings here. So this number in the USA would probably double due to the tax system there.

I would probably work at least part time even if I won the lottery after the initial traveling phase that might last a year or so. I just don't know what I would do otherwise for 40+ hours a week. Drive the wife crazy?

I'll be weird and say $500K would be enough for me to "quit my job" in the traditional sense. That would give me my fully paid house at $130K bringing in net of $500/month (with roommates) and $1.2K/month based on 4% of the remaining nest egg. That's where our expenses are about right now.

I'd still be in the mindset of doing little bits of work here and there though, so that would just mean me being free to pick up a short project here or there.

@ Early Retirement Extreme: I fall into the category of wanting between 100k-200k yearly income (4% withdrawl rate). Part of that is because I want to be able to travel. But part of that is because I want to make sure I have enough money to cover health insurance, long term care insurance, etc. Some people forget that as you get older your costs for medical care can rise dramatically.

Also, keep in mind that if you are retiring early due to lottery winnings (say in your 40s), you may have another 40-50 years ahead of you. It's be nice to roll some of your income back into the nest egg so that when inflation eats into your buying power you've actually increased the nest egg and the resultant 4% you can take out.

I would say $5M, but I live on the west coast.

I work at a financial services firm, so we have cool calculators that I was able to play around with. I was surprised to find out that I'd only need $1.8 million to be able to retire. I set mine and my husband's retirement ages at 29 and 31 years old, respectively, which is the age we'll be in one year. I used a rate of return of 7% and set inflation at 3.5%. Using these numbers, we would still have over $1.8 million left when we died to leave to the kids!
Realistically, my husband would probably start a business if we had that kind of windfall, so we probably wouldn't even need that much.
As far as the question on where we are now, we are saving enough to retire at age 65 if I don't work at all. We'll have our house paid off in 12 years and I'll work at least part-time once our yet-to-be-born kids are in school, so we shouldn't have any problems saving more and retiring earlier!

I would also say between $2-3 million would lead me to quit my current job. Personally, I am not inclined to ever quit working altogether but if I had that amount, I would find something else to do with lower and more flexible hours. I'm presently 30 and have about $250k saved, so I'm 8-12% there. I live in SoCal and never want to move, so my expenses are higher.

I thought about this the other day and decided $2 million is the absolute minimum for us. With a low savings rate, we should be there in 30, but would like to be there sooner. We are in our mid 30s and 20 years from now, I would like to be off the 9-5 train. But who knows what life may throw at you.

Roughly $5,500,000. That would let me pay off my student loans and get $200K on a 4% draw after you take out the big increase in health-insurance premiums I would be facing. In NYC, that's very middle of the middle class. I would actually have to save the money I put now towards student loans to get a down payment on an apartment for a few years, but that wouldn't kill me, and otherwise my lifestyle is reasonably comfortable.

Mind you, as much as I love Manhattan, if I suddenly found myself with "only" $2.5 million or so, I would give careful thought to lower-COL places like Portland, OR, and Ann Arbor, MI.

I've always said for 1 million, I'd walk out the door tomorrow. Which is not to say I'd spend the rest of my days on my tush on the couch, but I would not be at my current position any longer. I'm also in Canada, so 1 million won is 1 million in my hot little hands. 2 million would be better, but 1 million would prompt a 'this is my 2 weeks' letter.

As for how close am I.. well.. not especially. I aspire to quit by 45. That is.. a heck of a stretch atm. We shall see.

Oh to dream!

I am 53 and thought I was there until the market downturn of the last few weeks. I was going to be fine at 5%. Are the numbers we are looking at combined savings and retirement funds? If one were to retire, what would be the safest way to earn the 7% needed to move forward. Looking for answers as I have to figure health insurance and college tuition into the mix.

One way to look at this...take 5 times your annual salary to get your "magic number" for clocking out of your current job. (Why 5? Figure 5% return on principle, if invested conservatively and don't touch the principle.) I don't advise making a real financial decision on this rule of thumb, (since it doesn't take into account complicating matters like inflation to the negative side or taxes on your current income to the positive) but it is a quick and easy way to see what the number might be. Good party trick, if nothing else.

I am 36 years old with a paid off house(I paid $800,000 for it). I have $400,000 in retirement accounts and about $500,000 in investments(mainly index ETFs). No pension benefit at work. My wife and I make about 350K a year in suburban Houston. We spend about 75K year and save the rest. I plan on retiring in my late forties and my target is about 4-5 million. Is that too low?

When you do these calculations, make sure you use a calculator that accounts for the uncertainty of returns in any given year, the ordering of good and bad years and inflation.

Check out It doesn't account for everything (like taxes and Roth vs. Traditional) but it is probably the best free calculator out there.

I would have said $2 million but I didn't quit. As it was, I had to settle for $1 million. Doubt I will ever return; my freedom is worth more.

Another million would give me the peace of mind and security to pack it in. I've got 12 times my income socked away but wouldn't dream of quitting now.

Correction to my post above...

Take 20 times your annual salary to get your "magic number" for clocking out of your current job. (Why 20? Figures 5% return on principle, if invested conservatively and don't touch the principle.)

(Sorry for any confusion I may have caused.)

To quit working entirely? Um...enough money that I suffocated to death under the pile. :)

To quit my W2 job? Easy...3 years living expenses in liquid form, and 80% of living expenses coming from income from passive sources and my own business. (It's easy because that's exactly what I did.) With a reasonable amount of customer growth and some belt-tightening so we can reinvest more of that passive/business income, we'll be at 100% of normal living expenses from the business and investments alone in 2 years.

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