What's a million worth in retirement in Florida?
Bottom Line: For as long as I've been advocating and educating for increased financial literacy and early investing (about 20 years) I've also warned about getting too focused on singular numbers. If you're a long-time listener you're probably at least somewhat familiar with many of my various ism's. My first rule of money...Never let your money and emotions cross paths, My first rule of retirement...A mortgage isn't a retirement plan. And the most popular of all...The Millionaire Plan (how the average person making can become a millionaire within 25 years). Each of those is designed to work hand in hand with long-term personal financial planning/goal setting. None of them are inherently financial plans. Too often people seem to pick numbers which seem significant for the purpose of retirement. That's potentially a big mistake in my view. You don't know how long you're going to live. You don't know how your health will play out for the rest of your life. You don't know what inflation will do to the buying power of your money over that time. You get the idea. You don't know what THE number is... And that leads me to this update.
HowMuch.net used typical inflation data, Social Security income and average expenditures for retirees and came up with how long a million will last you in retirement. As you'd imagine there's a huge difference based on the state. For example, in Hawaii you'll only net a little more than 13 years out of a mil, in California a million only buys you about 15 years of retirement. In Florida it's better at 22 years and 2 months on average – which is 26th nationally – so we're right about average. Not bad considering the lifestyle. Mississippi is the most affordable with just over 25 years of retirement available for a million for the average person.
Here's the bigger point. I don't believe in principal reduction plans in retirement. The idea of running out of money at a time of need after a lifetime of hard work isn't a plan I can endorse (except for the uber wealthy). Instead after paying off all debt, I like to aim for residual streams of income that will support your retirement lifestyle. That means all dividends, interest, Social Security, pension and related income. Once that number is large enough to sustain your desired lifestyle you've got a winner. Otherwise you only have about 22 years and a lot of stress along the way.