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Your employer or some service may allow payroll deductions directly to I-bonds too. Probably with those is if you really mean just buying individual bonds, then there are penalties if you cash our early, so you may really prefer a MMF or a short-term bond fund to protect your principle, or a high yield savings account like Emigrant Direct or ING.

Overall, an average of 6% return over 40 years would be a historically dreadful period, so that would mean it's pretty likely, but you never know. $2.5 million is certainly a safe retirement goal, and $1.5 to $2 million range would probably allow you to retire early.

Keep two things in mind: 1) inflation, in the next 40 years dollars will probably be worth 1/2 to 1/3rd of what they are now, even with only 2 to 3% average inflation, yeah, big effect, scared me too, but 6% real returns (after inflation) is historically more likely. 2) are you taking/does your calculator into account raises? That 6% you put into a 401(k) (yeah, quite generous) will become higher dollar amounts as time goes on, and will draw higher dollar matches too. Of course, if you change jobs, no prediciting what will happen 401(k) wise.
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