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Assume that inflation runs about 2%.

OK, I'll shoot a hole in this particular argument: Inflation has averaged about 3.48% from 1914 through 2001. From 1956 through 2002 it has averaged about 4.37%. That's almost double your 2% rate and makes a BIG difference when projecting future numbers. So let's say taking that into account that your investments now have to make a minimum of 8%.

I'm assuming you're better in math than I am--If the S&P 500 was 55.61 on 1/1/1960 and was 1111.92 on 12/31/2003, what was the average rate of return over the past 43 years?

So, I agree with Stein, you can't retire at 45 with only 2 million in the bank, it's just not enough. If you're 55 however, it might be. And if you're 60 it probably will be. So, I think the point he was trying to make is that although 2 million sounds like a lot of bucks, as you pointed out, it's lower middle class if you live in NY or SF and let's hope you don't plan on a lot of travel and entertainment. :-)

And this is the best case scenario, because what happens if instead of living 84 years, you live 90, or 95? Which is quite possible given the quality of medical care, etc. Oh-oh, now we've really got problems... ;-)

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