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Can you retire with $1 million?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

A million dollars used to seem like all the money in the world. In 1960, for example, it had the buying power of approximately $8 million today, according to InvestmentNews. But now, retirees wonder if it's enough.

It might seem like a lot, but $1 million is not the milestone it used to be.

It might seem like a lot, but $1 million is not the milestone it used to be.

A survey by InvestmentNews found that 449 advisers cited asset levels and longevity as the two biggest challenges to a stable retirement plan. Retirees who might plan to withdraw 4 percent to 5 percent from their $1 million portfolio -- a range considered safe by many financial advisers -- would have an income of $40,000 to $50,000 per year.

Depending on your lifestyle, that amount might be sufficient, especially when Social Security is added. But the uncertainty lies in the unexpected expenses that could derail your plan. Advisers in the survey said the high cost of medical care is their biggest concern when developing a strategy.

Affluent pre-retirees are worried, too

A survey by Market Strategies International of investors who are 55 and older and have a net worth of at least $100,000, not including primary residence, found that those approaching retirement age are worried.

Only 28 percent of pre-retirees are confident in their ability to generate enough income for retirement, compared with 48 percent of those already retired.

The fear factor

Part of the reason pre-retirees are worried is that fewer have pensions that will kick in at age 65. Instead, pre-retirees in the survey were three times more likely to say their income will come from a 401(k) plan. That compares with the already-retired, who are twice as likely to say their primary source of income is from a pension.

Although the stock market has trended upward since the recession, its performance is not stable, which contributes to the concern of those who will rely primarily on investment income.

But fear can be a motivator: By planning early for retirement and thinking in terms of income rather than a set amount, such as $1 million, you can figure what size your portfolio should be based on your estimate of what it will cost to live in retirement.

If you are planning to live primarily off investments when you retire, this planning calculator will help determine how much income you can expect from your assets, given your age and expected rate of return.

If you're just starting out in your career, here's how you can join the future millionaires club.

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August 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Pray for health for you and your spouse (if you have one). You can't buy health. The rest will take care of itself.