“Some people are so poor all they have is money.” – Bob Marley (or Abe Lincoln, the internet will never know)
I was having lunch with some colleagues at work today. Of 6 people, 2 had done PhD work and the rest held Bachelor’s degrees, engineers and computer science folks. A few were talking about how they were in the wrong business and they wanted to get into something where they made more money. They decided that $300,000 a year was a place they could feel comfortable at. I almost fell out of my seat!
I am a mechanical engineer in the midwest I keep my expenses relatively low and I have a pretty good paying job, although nowhere near $300,000 a year.
I started the year with 3 concrete goals.
- Save $100,000 in my retirements accounts (cumulative, not this year alone!)
- Get a mentor
- Do 100 push ups a day
There are more but I haven’t structured them well enough to be shared yet.
Of the above I am already thinking about if the first one, have $100,000 in retirement account by the end of the year is a useful one or not.
I am 26 years old.
Having already saved between my 401K (pre tax), ROTH IRA (post tax, limit $5500/year) and HSA (Health Savings account) $75,000 as of Jan 1, 2015 I would have to save $25,000 to reach $100,000 by the end of the year. Now that is do-able but I am starting to question if that is a good goal or not.
If you have looked at anything I have done in the past you will see that I like to project forward. Here is how to “Retire A Millionaire, The Easy Way”.
Using the various numbers I already calculated from there (7% growth a year, 3% inflation) and the $75,000 I already have invested, that puts me at $1,049,612 at 65 years old (39 years from now), yielding $72,420 a year (at 7%) which is equivalent to $22,866 a year in 2015 dollars. Now if I was getting $23,000 a year for free what would I be doing? Probably anything I wanted! (This is before social security, assuming it’s still around).
You would calculate a future value using the below equation.
FV = PV*(1+r)^t
FV = future value of lump sum
PV = future value of lump sum ($75,000)
r = interest rate per period (7% = .07)
t = number of compounding periods (39 years)
FV = 75,000*(1+.07)^39 = $1,049,612
I’m a millionaire! time to start living like it!
Of course this equation is making plenty of assumptions based on the numbers I put in. Last year certainly did not return 7%, but again, referring to the previous article, there is good reason to assume 7% average over the long term.
This makes me question why I would even put any more in my retirement account? It already seems that I have enough! Now I will continue putting money in retirement accounts as long as I can not think of any other ways to invest it, certainly don’t take this as me telling YOU to stop investing in your retirement!
The next question is why do people live the way they do?
Do people really understand the simple math I laid out above and in my other article about how to calculate future and present worth?
Do people understand how to calculate a return?
Do people understand inflation?
Now I certainly don’t live like a king. I have monthly expenses of about $1200 and drive a used (2007) Prius. It’s reliable. Having taken the time to learn about finances from The Crazy Man In The Pink Wig and understanding the answers to the questions I asked above, I am very confident. I’d suggest you read one of his books, preferable “What Color Is The Sky?” I’d even purchase and mail it to you as I have done for many others, if you like. (Drop an email at email@example.com, or comment below!)
That all being said, back to the thought of enough. What does that mean? I guess each person has to figure that out for themselves, but it’s certainly something we should perhaps put a bit more thought into than we often do!
What is your “enough” number?
If you want to talk to me about what is enough, comment or drop me an email.