How much do you need to Retire?

It’s a great shame we don’t talk openly about Money. They used to, but not these days. These days dinner ends and we turn on a reality show where the celebrity apprentices have to lose weight, cook, build a block of flats and be breathalysed on the way to their own Wedding to someone they’ve never seen, in the nude, in the Jungle. But in the “good old days” after dinner, there was no TV, no internet and no reality shows, so the men would retire to the billiards room to talk business whilst the women remained at the table to talk men. These post-dinner collectives served as a forum to share private matters, finance included. But these days there is no forum for financial self-help and in fact, some of the few historic institutions that still exist today to provide dinner and billiards, exclusively to men (pah), explicitly ban talking business. Talking finance is it seems, taboo, vulgar even. “Money”, and in particular, your financial circumstances, no matter how good or bad, isn’t an acceptable dinner party topic. Discussing your financial situation with someone else who has their own financial situation would either be showing off, or embarrassing, and you don’t know which. People avoid comparing notes on money and finances.  Personal financial issues are private and advice on how to navigate your personal finances has become a bit like spin bowling, or ruck work. No one ever lets on, unless you pay them. But it doesn’t have to be like that. How much do you need to Retire? - OprahNot that I watch American crap, which daily undermines my children’s expensive education, but I once saw Oprah talking to a group of “Desperate Housewives” who had broken generations of suburban tradition and decided, quite out of character, to talk to each other about money. One of them was in financial trouble and they all rallied to her side. They entered a pact of trust and confidentiality and it began from there. The process was simple enough. Tell everybody in the group (select membership, no Riff Raff) how much you own, how much you owe, how much you spend and how much you earn. Nothing more sophisticated than presenting your family’s balance sheet and P&L. Within minutes the frenzy started. How come you are earning more? How come you are worth more? How come you spend less? How come I’m the biggest loser? Those that survived the suburban roulette stage, working out who the biggest loser was, extracted tremendous value. They analysed each other, compared each other and in so doing began to understand the consequence of all their financial habits. They learned how other people viewed debt. Why some things they considered financially acceptable were unacceptable. They learned they could negotiate with big financial institutions. They learned they had choice. How to cut corners on spending. How to change habits and attitudes, plan, earn more, spend less, be assertive, and above all how to take control. The collective empowered and supported each individual. They gained purpose and credibility, simply by pooling their experiences and ideas, expanding on the good bits and collectively eliminating the bad. It was a simple gaining of objectivity, something that is by definition, impossible alone and it was a very powerful argument for sharing financial experience with those you can trust. Brilliant. Unfortunately, despite the obvious benefits, I just can’t see it happening in my household. Much as I’d love to share my domestic financial details with other Jim Beam swilling indiscrete barby gossips, I’m not sure I'd trust them. I’m not sure we really want them to see my financial laundry and I'm not sure I want to see theirs. None of us really want to know the big one either, which one of the brothers-in-law is the biggest loser. Relationships would have to change. Knock over the apple cart of financial truth and live with the bruises. No, the Oprah Debt Diet is not for me, I am happy to live in ignorance and bash through on my own. It's more comfortable that way. I am happy to be one of the many Australians that have NFI about everyone else and their money.
Although there is something I'd be interested in...and maybe you would be too. THE RETIREMENT CALCULATION A subject came up at the Golf Club (a high density of retirees). The conversation started with the idle question “How much money do you need to retire” and it went from there. There are a lot of different opinions. The question I have for you is this. Are you prepared to share? Give and you will receive. I have asked a few friends and colleagues the same question now and one of the issues everyone who has the experience of retirement seems to agree on is that retirement doesn’t just happen. You need to plan the financial side of your retirement well before you retire and if you get it wrong it can be hell. As with the stock market, the worst bit of retirement is financial uncertainty and the earlier and longer you achieve certainty by addressing that, the better. Retirement is supposed to be carefree according to the adverts, but for many it can be financially worrisome. So how do you structure it to avoid that? How much do you need? What are the elements of a financially carefree retirement? So my question is this - “What is the financial formula for retirement?”. We have a lot of experienced retirees in our database. I am appealing to you for some insight into your financial calculations, successes and failures in retirement. No rules. No names. No packdrill. Let’s see if we can do an Oprah and put some objectivity around the question. Give and you will receive. Do not be embarrassed. It's for the benefit of everyone including yourself to see what other people think about how you retire. To get some objectivity. To see if you are “normal”. Elements might include:
  • How much do you need as spending money each year? (the first but maybe the wrong question everyone asks).
  • How much more capital do you need?
  • What do you assume happens to the house?
  • Do you rely on making money in the stock market?
  • Do you plan for the kids to get anything?
  • What caught you by surprise in retirement?
  • What are the big mistakes people make budgeting for retirement?
One thing I do know is that the government definition of a "Comfortable Retirement" would be considered by many of you as abject poverty.  So I leave it to you to define the financial baseline for retirement. Thank you in advance. Anything that will help other Members work out if they are ahead or behind of the eight ball will be useful. It will be interesting to see what you think. Any contributions gratefully received. No names. No judgements. Click below. How much do you need to Retire? - Beach
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