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We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ $1,000,000 for Retirement

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It’s Liz Pulliam Weston against the experts and pundits in the biggest battle since Apolo Anton Ohno grabbed someone’s skate while competing in the short track speed skating competition.

In this article Weston takes prognosticators to task for claiming the sky is falling when it comes to preparing for retirement. No one really knows how much someone will need for retirement — there is no Number. Her points:

* Social security will probably survive.
* You’ll probably spend less as you age.
* You probably won’t make it to 100.
* You’ll probably have some flexibility.

… Don’t let the doom-and-gloomers talk you into the notion that you’ll never have enough to retire, or that you’ll have to settle for some pinched, strained half-life at the end of your days. For one thing, money isn’t everything, not before retirement and certainly not after it… For another, you may have more going for you than you think.

But what to do? People want to know how much money they’ll need. There has to be a plan in place. Well, the best they can get are educated guesses from the experts. I say an educated guess is better than no guess at all, as long as that guess isn’t so far off it causes problems in someone’s life.

The author’s advice is to stretch your savings, read (learn about more options), and breathe (relax). No one can predict the future.

Updated June 17, 2014 and originally published February 16, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Caitlin

Seems gloom and doom is probably fueling record investment in the mutual fund industry too….so some are incented financially to preach that view. I’m glad there are other voices in the fray! Good link, thanks

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avatar RS

I guess I would rather be safe than sorry. I may as well at least have a plan to save my million for retirement than get there and realize that I don’t have enough.

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avatar Guest

Social Security and Medicare will NEVER go bankrupt. These are programs run by the government who have infinite power to tax their citizens. The REAL danger is massive taxation and a lower standard a living as a result of the heavy taxation.

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avatar real people, real finances

I agree with RS – I’d much rather have too much than not enough.

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avatar Will Kirby

Great article. My real motivation is not that i’ll be okay when I retire, but that i’ll be able retire EARLY.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

I’da rather be safe, too, RS, but I think it’s hard to know what we’ll need in order to be safe. The article is basically saying you don’t need to worry about it so much and obsess over the number.

I do think we shouldn’t listen to politicians as much. Fear is a tool some use in order to get people to join up… and the current administration (uh oh, getting political…) is great at instilling fear (whether it’s terrorism or social security solvency).

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avatar Terry

I fully expect that retirement will never be an option for me, and in the actuarily likely event I become disabled before I die, I will end up utterly destitute.

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