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It's impossible for me to say what you'll need to live on because, as you say, lifestyles differ. I know people who probably are getting along nicely on 70% of pre-retirement income. If you live in the suburbs and commuted downtown, eat lunch in a restaurant everyday, and have to keep a wardrobe of business suits, your expenses will take a big drop in retirement.

On the other hand, I live in a small town, commuted about a mile to work, came home most days for lunch, and wore business casual clothing at work. Not much savings there! Also, with more time available, I planned to travel eight to ten weeks a year. And I wanted to be free to play golf at courses besides my home club 3 or 4 times a month.

Then there was the matter of health insurance. With early retirement I faced several years of having to provide my own. Fortunately the money I had been contributing to my IRA and other retirement plans more than covered insurance and a little travel. Still I spend more in retirement than I did while working. But as you say, it's a question of lifestyle. I'm enjoying life now while I have my health. When I get older, I may be forced to slow down, not by lack of money, but by old age. Then my expenses should decline somewhat.

Take a good look at how you want to spend your retirement years. Hopefully you have good records of your expenses the past few years. Start with them and factor in the changes you expect in your lifestyle. You should be able to estimate retirement expenses fairly well. Then add something for unexpected events and you'll know what your target should be.
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