To some people, $3 million will sound like a lot. You probably think $3 million is enough to retire if you’re among that crowd. But retiring with $3 million at 65 can last depending on your longevity, lifestyle and other factors. Let’s break down what you need to consider when determining how much you can afford.
A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your retirement needs and goals.
5 Factors to Consider When Panning Your Retirement
Knowing how much you need to retire can be challenging because there are so many variables. Here are five common things you’ll have to consider:
Life expectancy: People live longer than they used to thanks to advances in medical technology and improved nutrition. Life expectancy has dropped slightly in the age of COVID – for women, the age dropped from 79.9 in 2020 to 79.1 in 2021, and for men, it dropped from 74.2 to 73.2 in the same period. However, those numbers may tick up again as COVID recedes. With people living longer, planning for the long term is best.
Inflation: Many things are uncertain, but one thing isn’t — inflation will likely persist even during so-called normal economic times. While the COVID pandemic era has seen historically high inflation, the Federal Reserve targets a modest 2% inflation. However, inflation in January 2023 was at 6.4%. Therefore, you must plan accordingly.
Cost of living: Like inflation, the cost of living increases over the years. However, cost of living can vary widely depending on certain factors like where you live. For example, some states have more retirement-friendly taxes. This is also why some empty nesters decide to move to cheaper places.
Health care expenses: Health care costs tend to increase with age as seniors often need more medical care than younger people. Therefore, retirees must include increasing healthcare costs in their retirement plans.
Social Security: Social Security benefits can provide a source of income in retirement. However, the amount of Social Security benefits you receive will depend on your work history and the age at which you start collecting benefits. Use our Social Security calculator to estimate your benefit.
By considering these five factors when planning for retirement, you can better estimate your future income needs and develop a plan to achieve your retirement goals.
How Much Do You Need to Retire Comfortably?
In the previous section, we briefly overview some things you must consider as you plan for retirement. Now, we should estimate the real amount of money you need to retire. In doing so, we will see whether $3 million will be enough.
Of course, discussing these things in broad terms and calculating them are two entirely different things. Fortunately, retirement calculators let you plug in many of the things we discussed earlier. SmartAsset’s retirement calculator asks you important questions, like where you live, when you plan to take Social Security and the retirement income you want. It then estimates how much you will need to retire and how much you must save per month to achieve that goal.
Retirement calculators can go a long way in helping you understand how the real numbers look. However, you should also meet with a financial advisor to build a customized plan.
Strategies to Maximize Retirement Savings
Saving $3 million for retirement savings is an ambitious goal. Still, depending on what you plug into the calculator (and the plan you put together with a financial advisor), it might be necessary. In that case, there are steps you can take to maximize your retirement savings.
One of the most essential concepts here is to use compound interest to your advantage. Compounding means you will continue to earn interest on the interest you earned in the past. In other words, the more time that passes, the more quickly your portfolio grows. Thus, the longer you have, the greater the effect of compounding. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, starting early can make a big difference in the long run.
It’s also a good idea to max out retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA. You can contribute up to $22,500 per year to a 401(k) and up to $6,500 per year to an IRA (as of 2023). Maxing out these accounts can help you save more money on taxes and grow your retirement savings faster.
You should also diversify your investments by investing in stocks, bonds and real estate. Doing so has several advantages, such as these assets often have different volatility profiles. But they can also have different tax advantages, so investing in more than one can gives you an edge.
Knowing if $3 million will be enough to retire at 65 can seem daunting. There are factors to consider, like inflation, cost of living, life expectancy and health care expenses. However, plugging numbers into a retirement calculator can help you see where you stand. You should also meet with a financial advisor to build a custom plan. If you need to save more, you can maximize your retirement accounts. Also, be sure to save early and diversify your investments.
Tips for Retirement Savings
A financial advisor can guide you through major financial decisions, like determining your investing strategy. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Deciding how to invest can be a challenge, especially when you don’t know how much your money will grow over time. SmartAsset’s investment calculator can help you estimate how much your money will grow to help you decide which type of investment is right for you.
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