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The Motley Fool have now allowed British Fools access to the US discussion boards, and I'm from Treasure Island, as we call it(UK). Time was when we were poor relations to our American cousins, but times have changed with the $2 £(pound sterling). This was a very popular thread on the UK Fool discussion boards:- It would be very very interesting to know how much one can exist comfortably on in retirement in the US. So heres the post that started it all off. Lets hear your take on it?

Kind Regards

TMF England

Following the question about how much you need for retirement, calculating the income you will need is a vital part of planning for it. I didn't actually do that until retirement was looming, and I guess most people don't either (although I suspect Fools are more likely to). Its probably one of those things where many of us bury our heads in the sand, afraid of a nasty shock.

For me and the Mrs who are debt and mortgage free, £14 grand after tax pays all the bills including food and drink. £4 grand to run the house, £4 grand to run the cars and £6 grand for food, drink, and the odds and sods. It enables us to run two modest cars, petrol, mobiles, newspapers, etc. All the basic comforts. Having spoken to a couple of pals similarly situated recently, they had both calculated very similar figures. Talking to a widowed guy recently who has a smaller and thus cheaper to run home, he gets by comfortably on £9 grand, his only extra purchase during the year having been a new Windsurfer sail. I expect others with grander houses would spend a bit more than us, but not that much more. These figures don't include any extras like holidays, major purchases or 'fun', nor any maintenance costs other than that on the cars.

The most difficult thing to estimate was the supermarket bills, but it was easy to actually measure them accurately by putting till receipts into a jar for two separate 4 month periods and then analysing them.

From this information it becomes easy to answer the question "How much is enough to retire?". Just add up the projected pensions and see how far they fall short of this basic easily calculated figure, add the figure you want to put on the 'fun' factor. You will then be able to calcuate an answer based on your assumption of how much income you are expecting your capital to generate, and whether you intend to draw it down to supplement your income. Without it you won't have a clue.
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