What’s Your Retirement Number? It Could be Lower Than You Think

If you’re approaching retirement, you’ve likely seen lots of articles about your “retirement number”—how much money you’ll need to have in savings before you’re able to comfortably retire.

Some of these articles even include handy little calculators that help you do the math. It typically boils down to the notion that you’ll reasonably require a nest egg of somewhere near $1 million to retire. Or that you’ll need 80% of your current income multiplied by the number of years you expect to live in retirement.

I don’t know about you, but both plans seem daunting…and the latter feels a bit morbid. (I personally have no plans to expire any time soon and doubt you do, either.)

But what if you don’t have $1 million in savings—and you don’t want to continue working ‘til you drop to hit any ludicrous goal?

What then? What if you have little-to-no savings at all—and will be relying solely on your Social Security or pension income to fund your retirement?

According to statistics from the U.S. Social Security Administration, the average retired worker today is collecting a Social Security benefit of $1,368.67 a month…or about $16,424 annually.

Even if there are two of you in your household collecting this amount, that’s not a lot to live on…at least not in the U.S. today, especially when today’s average rent payment in the U.S. is about $1,100. (If you own your home, you may have mortgage payments…and you’ll never escape rising property taxes—the average in the U.S. today is $3,296.)

And then there are utility costs, car payments and maintenance costs, skyrocketing grocery and healthcare expenses, and much more.

So, what can a smart retiree do? Take your money and run?

If you’ve been reading these International Living for any length of time, that advice will not come as a surprise to you. It’s International Living’s mission, after all, to introduce you to the overseas retirement havens where you can live respectfully and happily in your retirement years. And that means living affordably.

Look beyond the U.S. and Canada’s borders and you’ll discover friendly communities in picturesque settings (from white-sand beaches to lush, green mountains) with agreeable climates— where you won’t just survive, you’ll thrive.

In the locales, we’ve identified, a couple can easily live on $1,700 to $2,100 a year…and singles on $1,100 to $1,400—well within that average Social Security income.

For as little as $13,200 a year, you’ll easily be able to afford a great lifestyle…rent and utilities, transportation expenses, groceries…you can dine out often, travel now and then, pay for someone to clean your home…

And on this amount, you can even afford a comprehensive healthcare plan. Many of the countries we’ve pinpointed offer universal healthcare programs that cover doctor’s visits, surgeries…hospitalizations, even prescriptions. Some of the health plans cost $100 to $200 a month for a couple…and some are even free. (And in some countries, you can qualify no matter your age or pre-existing conditions.)

The point of all this? If the “retirement number” you can reach is low…or maybe even non-existent—don’t stress out about it. Do a bit of research about retiring overseas, and you’ll likely discover that you can enjoy the retirement of your dreams in a place where numbers don’t mean much.

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