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November 28, 2006

A Strange Thought, in Passing « Stuff Important to Me »

Am I the only one who has no freaking clue how much I should save for retirement?

Full disclosure: I'm just short of 40.
Most paranoid line of thinking:
Unless I get hit by a truck or betrayed by the U.S. media and killed, I should live to at least age 80, based on demographics and genetics.
-But life expectancy marches ever higher.
-Technology is merely steepening that curve, if anything.
-There's a decent chance I might be of the generation that manages to continually live long enough for the next age-boosting tech to appear, at least for a couple decades...or even a couple of centuries.

Less paranoid thought process:
I'm pushing for a military retirement. That could net me between $3000 and $4800 per month in 2006 dollars, depending on my final rank and how long I stay beyond 20 years (or not). Over the last 5 years, I've saved $25k in my supplemental retirement fund; assuming I stay in 10 more years for a total of 22, I should have $100k in savings (due to steady percentage of increasing earnings), two homes paid off (one in China, one in the U.S.), a paid-off, reliable car, and $3600/month in 2006 dollars. I'll also be 47, young enough to keep working if I want...but hopefully I'll have embarked on a writing career of at least marginal financial success. (I'm about 20 pages into what will be my first finished novel, still gaining acceptance as a sports writer, too...and who knows what will happen with the blog?)

Is that enough?

If it isn't, what do I do?

They say you should have enough money to have 80% of your final income. That makes sense...your tax burdern should be reduced significantly by retiring, so you should only need 80% of your pre-retirement income to live at exactly the same, you can perhaps stop worrying about investing for retirement when you are actually, you know, retired. But being retired, isn't that the time you want to travel more? And perhaps get a little luxurious in your retirement?

When can I start flying first class?

And if, at age 65, you don't know if you're going to live 3 years or 30 years, how do you plan?

I'm hoping that with houses paid off, we will be able to live comfortably entirely within my retirement pay. Then if/when I earn anything with writing, it's gravy...then I can fly first class if the gravy allows it.
The problem is, maintaining a house and keeping touch with families on two different continents will make travel between the two expensive...probably 4 plane trips a year for two people...first class could make it prohibitively expensive.

Maybe I'd better get a movie deal out of one of my books...

Posted by Nathan at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)