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Subject:  Re: Newbie to this Retirement Board Date:  10/7/2012  7:52 PM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  1426 of 1906

Hi, Shire.

Since you paid back debt under the advice of the CC board (and big kudos for that!), you must be familiar with budgeting and tracking expenses. So I assume you have a good idea of what you need to live on over the course of a year. Do you have a recent version of your Social Security statement? How close does your benefit at 62, full retirement age, and 70 come to meeting those needs? Note that while some important expenses go down when you retire--no more contributions to retirement accounts, no FICA taxes or commuting expenses/work clothes, and for most of us, lower income taxes. But these expenses might be replaced by others such as bigger health bills and hobby expenses.

Let's say you'll get $1500/month ($18,000/year) from SS and need $30,000 year to live on. How can you make up the difference? The ol' rule of thumb for 60+ year old retirees says 4% per year is the maximum safe withdrawal rate from invested assets in something similar to a traditional 60% equities/40% fixed income portfolio. Without a pension, royalties, rental income, a job, or a sugar daddy, you'll need to come up with the other $1,000/month ($12,000/year) from the income generated by assets. At 4%, you want $300,000 invested. Plus an emergency fund. This is way more than most people save--I hope you make it if that's what you need.

My advice is simple--keep saving. The Roth IRA is a great idea, but you might look into other places to keep the account such as Vanguard or Fidelity. And it would be best if you could contribute the max per year. If your father wants to give you a nice gift every year, perhaps helping you to max out your Roth would be a good present.

I hope you can afford to stay in the Bay Area after retirement, if that is your wish, but there are many fine places that are more affordable.

Just like to add that my mother (almost 87) lives very well on about the scenario I used as an example in this post (she does have a non-mortaged house and no car or other debt).
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