Early retirement is a great goal for many. But to be able to retire early and comfortably, you’re going to need a nest egg. How much you need depends on how you answer a few questions: What’s your average cost of living? How much money will you make annually from investment returns and supplemental income? And how is your health and how long do you need your retirement savings to last?
If your goal is to retire at 50, $3 million might get you there. To live comfortably, you’ll need to be smart with your investments, be comfortable cutting some expenses and be able to supplement your retirement income. Here’s how to determine if $2 million is enough to retire at 50.
A financial advisor can help you put a financial plan together for your retirement goals and needs.
How Much Income Can $3 Million Make Yearly?
The good news is that $3 million can generate a large amount on its own yearly. Let’s say your $3 million in investments produces a modest 4% return. That 4% is $120,000. If you live off of $80,000 and reinvest the $40,000, your $3,040,000 investment will grow to $3,161,600 with another 4% growth year.
If you can continue in this way, your investment will outpace the average inflation rate of 3-4%, and you’ll be able to maintain your nest egg for many years to come. Of course, some years will come with higher or lower returns, as well as higher and lower rates of inflation. But $3 million is a sizable buffer that can carry you into your twilight years if you can keep your expenses lower.
How to Calculate How Much Money You’ll Need to Retire
SmartAsset’s comprehensive retirement calculator can give you a solid estimate of how much money you’ll need to retire. By accounting for your location, expenses, income and allocations, you can better estimate how much you’ll need.
With SmartAsset’s calculator, you can input this information and estimate how much you’ll need to retire at 50. With $80,000 in annual expenses, 2% inflation and a 4% rate of return, the calculator estimates we’ll need $3.2 million to live comfortably for the next 40 years.
How to Create Income Streams $3 Million
There are many ways you can invest your $3 million to make sure it generates money for you to live off of in retirement. Let’s look at a few popular ways.
Invest in Real Estate
Putting your money in real estate is a great way to generate extra income. Whether it’s investing in real estate investment trusts (REITs) or buying investment property, holding real estate investments can be a major boon to your portfolio. REITs are well-known for delivering high returns. A physical investment property can give you regular income in the form of rent payments, and the asset can grow in value over time.
Invest in High-Dividend Stocks
Consider putting some of your money in high-dividend stocks. Individual stocks like AT&T (T) and Best Buy (BBY) delivered over 5% in dividends at the end of 2022. Investing in dividend stocks is a great way to grow your wealth and make income for your retirement. However, know that investing in individual stocks comes with risk. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Invest in Annuities
Annuities are low-risk investments you make with an insurance company. These investments deliver a guaranteed rate of return on your investment. That means they’ll generate a reliable income for you. Their low risk makes them a great addition to your investment portfolio, especially if you’re also investing in riskier areas (like real estate or stocks).
Make Supplemental Retirement Income
When you retire, your income goes from coming from one main source to multiple sources. It’s good to explore having supplemental retirement income. Whether that’s through freelancing, consulting or working a part-time job, having a little extra money will help your retirement savings go further. Plus, it will keep you busy and engaged with more people.
Make Sure to Keep Tax Planning in Mind
With all of the investments you could be participating in, on top of your retirement, you can’t go without tax planning. You will be paying taxes on your investment income. So if you’re looking to sell a stock in the future, for example, capital gains taxes will be at your door if you make money from that sale.
Not to mention Social Security and retirement accounts like a 401(k) or individual retirement accounts (IRA) are income streams where you will pay taxes as well. Knowing what type of taxes you will pay in retirement will go a long way in how much you can save.
Consider Estate Planning
With $3 million at age 50, you have a good portion of your money at the young stage of your life. So it can be easy to use a good chunk of the money on current activities such as vacation with your family for example. But planning ahead with an estate plan will do wonders for not only yourself but also for your family.
Create beneficiaries within your retirement accounts like a 401(k) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and make sure it’s updated frequently in case of a life-changing event. You can also put some of your assets aside like your home and/or vacation home if you have one to pass down to your family so that they don’t have to take out a new mortgage when you already paid yours off.
Monitor Your Health Status
Healthcare is a priority for everyone, no matter what their tax bracket is. Not to mention healthcare expenses will increase as you get older. Making sure that you’re having checkups with your doctor, eating healthy, exercising frequently and not engaging in dangerous activities to name a few are game plans you can keep in mind during retirement.
And research what type of healthcare plan you may need going forward depending on if you have a chronic illness or not. And when you reach the age of 65, you’re eligible for Medicare so you won’t have to pay all your medical expenses out of pocket. Between age 50 and 65, you can use that time to create emergency savings specifically for your healthcare.
The Bottom Line
Retiring at 50 is a great goal to have. If you have $3 million saved, it’s likely that you’ll be able to retire comfortably. You’ll need to factor in your living expenses, inflation and the expected rate of return on your investments. With the help of a financial advisor and some supplemental income, you should be able to stretch your retirement money into your final years.
Early Retirement Tips
If you want to retire early, you should be speaking to a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Want to see how much your 401(k) will be worth when you retire? Use SmartAsset’s free calculator.
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