Rodney Brooks / USA Today
You've been saving like a miser to get ready for retirement. You've pinched pennies, kept that last car for what seems like an eternity. You've banked a cool $1 million for your retirement.
Think you're set?
Well, you very well might be. Then again, you still might be short.
"The good news is there are more millionaires," says Richard Dragotta, at LPL Financial in Paramus, N.J. "Over nine million people in the U.S. have $1 million or more. The bad news is you are not necessarily wealthy if you have $1 million. The new $2 million may be the old $1 million."
"Thirty years ago, $1 million was a huge amount of money," says Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, in Walnut Creek, Calif. "Today, given today's lifestyles and costs, it isn't so much money."
"People think of $1 million is a lot of money," says Joe Heider, regional managing principal for Rehmann Financial Group in Westlake, Ohio. "But it's not in today's environment. It translate into $40,000 to $50,000 (annually) in sustainable revenue. That is not that much money on an annual basis."
Let's be perfectly clear. Not everyone will need that much cash in their retirement kitty. A survey of investment advisers makes it apparent: It all depends on how much money you need to live and what kind of lifestyle you plan to have.
"Everything is relative," says Clarence Kehoe, executive partner in the accounting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin in New York. "For some people, I would think $1 million would be more than enough. For other people, I can tell you some of these clients spend more than $1 million in a year. It depends on the person, their lifestyle and what they are used to."
"I think it depends on how much money you're going to spend," says Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City. "A million is not like $1 million 20 years ago or 30 years ago. If you're wanting to spend $50,000 a year or less from your investment portfolio, $1 million will probably get it done for you."
But they also agree that $1 million is not what it used to be.
Heider says 10 to 12 years ago, when people earned a lot more on their investments, $1 million could generate $70,000 to $80,000 a year in retirement income. But with interest rates as low as they are, that's not really feasible.
"When is $1 million enough?" asks Ashoo. "The truth is, it's about the lifestyle. It's about the retirement you are looking to achieve, and that lifestyle you are looking to enjoy for the golden years. That's what dictates if you need $1 million or $10 million or $50 million. It's not a race between you and the next guy."