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A Million Dollars Isn’t What It Used to Be

New rules for a new reality in retirement

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What About 4% to Supplement Your Income?

Unlike inflation and CD rates, there are some variables over which we do have control. Income and 4% are great examples.

Many baby boomers and retirees are choosing to exercise caution here. I recently heard of a baby boomer who sat down with his analyst and saw that while he had enough money to retire, it would be close. He enjoyed his job and wanted to enjoy retirement without worry, so he decided to keep working for a couple of years to build up a cushion.

In addition, a lot of retirees are now back in the work force. While some may have to work in order to put food on the table, others have simply taken part-time employment doing something they enjoy. A friend of mine who needed a new car decided to go back to work to pay for it instead of taking the money out of his nest egg. He didn’t have to, but thought it better to err on the side of caution.

During the first few years of our retirement, taking out 4% to cover living expenses was no problem at all. Now I see lots of folks, Jo and myself included, who are looking at expenses much more critically. They are cutting back on a lot of things that really don’t affect their lifestyle. Maybe we don’t need to pull out 4% anymore.

As an illustration, we used to have XM radio. It was cool because we could listen to ‘50s and ‘60s music without a bunch of CDs falling all over the place. When we bought it, it was $9.95/month – no big deal. Now it is close to $15/month per vehicle. My son pointed out I could download all of our music onto our cellphones, and it can play through the Bluetooth on the radio. Now we sing along to the same music without the monthly cost.

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