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What Does it Mean to Have Enough in Retirement?

Your financial future depends on you.


There is an irony at the heart of personal finance, financial planning, and the whole process of wealth management. I believe what we are really after in life, especially as it relates to money and accumulation, is enough - a sense of contentment. 

But the vehicles we use to reach our goals are accumulation and a seemingly endless pursuit of more. So, will we ever be satisfied? What does it mean to have enough in retirement? In short, your financial future depends on you. 

How much money is enough to retire? 

This is the question. This is the question that was posed to John D. Rockefeller towards the end of his life, and his tragic response was, "Just a little bit more." 

This is the implicit white lie that is a pervasive message in the realm of personal finance and the financial services industry. 

Yes, it is, of course, true for most of us that to have enough money to retire, we need to plan for it. We need to plan to have an income today to cover our spending. And we need to have a plan to put money aside for retirement, to defer gratification, so that in the future, when we may not be able to generate an income, we can re-generate an income with our savings. 

  • So, how do we reconcile these concepts of planning for retirement? 

  • How do we know exactly how much money is enough money to retire? 

  • How do we avoid that perpetual strain of needing and wanting more? 

How to create a plan for retirement 

I recommend that, instead of starting with dollars, you start with goals. Or perhaps even more simply put, don't start with money, start with life. 

For example, don't scramble to figure out how you are going to save up the $5 million some article arbitrarily says you need in order to be happy in retirement. Instead, start by figuring out what you want out of life. Think about where retirement fits into that vision, and then figure out how much money you need in order to make your retirement dreams happen. It may well be that you need more than $5 million to enjoy the lifestyle in retirement that you hoped to have. 

  • First, broadly explore all of your hopes and dreams in life. Get it all out on the table. Write down what a successful and meaningful life in retirement would look like for you.  
  • Second, cast a more refined vision for what those hopes and dreams might look like within the context of reality. 
  • Third, address each of the individual risks and obstacles that could stand in the way of that plan and find a way to overcome them. 
  • Fourth, apply your knowledge, and that of your wealth management team, to put together a financial plan to achieve the vision that you have set forth. If you don’t currently have a financial advisor, you should. Give us a call today
  • Finally, execute your financial plan, recognizing along the way that you will be forced to adapt the plan based on circumstances that life puts in your way, and you may even find that your hopes and dreams evolve over time. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Does Money Buy Happiness?

Yes, it is sadly true that for millions around the world, they need more basic resources just to live a healthy, happy life. The chances are that, if you are watching this video, you're not in that situation, for that I am thankful. But this, I know, we all need more “enough.” 

At Cogent Strategic Wealth, we help high-achieving individuals, like yourself, create a clear vision of specific financial goals and help them build a path to follow to reach them. 

Sit down with a Cogent Advisor, either in our Chicago office or virtually, to talk about achieving your financial goals. We can help you create a tailored financial plan to reach your retirement goals. 

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