Is $1,000,000 Still Enough for Retirement?

September 17, 2023

Is $1 million enough to retire? In this highlight, we’ll discuss how much you may need to retire and why $1 million may (or may not) be enough for you.


Dank Magic has a question. Okay, it’s an interesting one. It says, “I know you have the ‘Know Your Number’ course, which we do at learn.moneyguy.com, but when will 1 million not be enough for the majority of the population? Like in, say, 2040, or when you’re retiring at a later date?” Again, this is a question we get all the time. “Oh, you guys talk about millionaire status. Well, a million is not going to be anything in the future.” And what that shows me is someone clearly has an understanding of how inflation works. Our dollars in the future will not be worth the same as they are today. They lose purchasing power. So it requires more dollars in the future to buy the same amount of goods that we are able to buy today. So when will the point be that a million dollars is not enough? I don’t know. Right now, today, a million dollars is not enough for some people to retire, and for other people, a million dollars is more than they could ever fathom needing for retirement because they have Social Security and pensions. They don’t need any more than that. So when will a million not be enough or be enough is a really difficult question to answer.

Here’s what I can tell you. You can’t get to 2 million unless you get to 1 million first, and you can’t get to 3 million unless you get to 1 million first. That’s why on a lot of our deliverables out at MoneyGuy.com, we show you how much does it take to get to a million? Alright, what if I want to get to 2 million, or what if I want to get to 3 million? That’s why “Know Your Number” is so important. So you understand what number am I shooting for because when we were going through, when we were iterating, when we were building it, we said, “Hey, let’s talk about this in terms of today’s dollars.” Like, I know that if I need $50,000 a year to live on today, but I’m not going to be living on my dollars until 30 years in the future, well, how much do I really need? How do I factor in inflation? And do I want to do a low inflation environment or a high inflation environment? Knowing your number really is the key to figuring out what your number is, so then you can back into, “Okay, is a million enough, or does it need to be 2 million or does it need to be 3 million?” So on and so forth.

And I don’t mind giving Dank Magic some red meat, and the fact that, look, when I retired in the ’90s, that announcement when I graduated from college in the ’90s and I read “The Millionaire Next Door,” it kind of lit my mind on fire on opportunity. The same feeling that a million dollars was then is probably closer to 3 million now. I don’t mind conceding that. But it’s back to the point of what you said, Bee, is you can’t get to 3 without 1. That’s right.

And I think about the mindset, and here we go, you guys will get entertained by this. I think about the whole boiling point of creating wealth. The creation is that I remember my first $10,000 because I’ve had parts of my life where $1,000 would change my life. I can literally… $1,000 would make me a better person and not have the stress and other things. So, 10,000 was a big point for me, and then you fast forward to 100,000. Once you get to 100,000 and you start seeing the money build upon itself, you make 10% on $100,000, and you see that $10,000 that’s grown over not with your back, your hands, or your brain, just by your money growing on top of itself, you’re off to the races. You’re kind of reaching that critical boiling point of having escape velocity. That this thing is taking off on you, so that by the time you reach 500,000, you’ll now be amazed that months of work are being replaced just with your money growing upon itself. You go to a million, don’t be shocked when you get to your first million dollars. You’ll be to 2 to $3 million probably within three to four years. It is amazing. You’ll be like, “What happened here?” Because, and I’m reminded because I always talk about when I want an example of boiling point, I think about Warren Buffett. It took Warren Buffett… Now, I’m not minimizing what a billion dollars is, but it took him 55 years to get to his first billion. However, now… That’s 60% of his time on the planet to get to the first billion. However, now he has multiplied that a hundredfold, you know, in the next… I mean, he’s got to be getting close to 90 at this point. He’s over 90, I think. So you think about that, is what took him 60% of his life expectancy is now… He’s a hundredfold multiplier. It gets easier and easier and easier, where you’ll eventually get to the point that you can’t spend what you’re making because your money’s working harder than you are. That’s what I get people excited about. So, the mindset… Look, don’t get caught up in that negative, pessimist… That “Don’t Win” mindset. If you say a million dollars is just not that much money anymore, as soon as you get to a million, I can tell you, you’re off to the races. You’ll probably have your next second million, your third million, and then you’ll be a deca-millionaire if you do this thing early enough.



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