Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Five Million Story

I noticed a financial story today, which centered around the TV financial 'host'....Suze Orman.  She basically came out and said you if intend to retire early in life (suggesting around age 50), then you need five-million dollars in the portfolio to make this happen. 

I sat and pondered upon the idea, and her estimation.

I made a decision around seven years ago to retire completely at age 55.  No, I don't have five million, or even one million.  What I basically had was a military pension (probably worth 1,600 a month) and a GS-IRA type account which I get around 1,400 a month.  Toss in the fact that I don't have a mortgage (my wife has the family house), and I really never got much into debt over my entire life.  I won't say I lived in a modest way, but I didn't really go out to waste money either.

No, I didn't ever buy a $30,000 car.....ever.

No, I have never owned a $60k RV....ever.

No, I never bought a $9k quad-bike.....ever.

I disagree with Suze on this number of 5-million.  In general, as long as you don't have a mortgage hanging over you at retirement, with no real debt (especially credit cards), and you have some monthly amount of 1,500 to 2, can retire at age 50.  The problem this stupid mortgage deal, and the condition of your house. 

I worked with a guy at the Pentagon who came to face a problem with his roof.  By the time that the carpenter did the estimate of damage....this guy was looking at a $30k renovation project.  This was also the year that his wife's car had transmission problems, and he had to buy a new car.  His plan to retire at age 58?  Gone. He had to add a minimum of two more years onto his master-plan for retirement. 

I worked with a NCO in the 1990s who had around $150k in debt (both he and wife had incomes).  He laid it out.....various cost daughter had drained $70k over four years at some university, and he had one more kid to put through college.   He figured just in interest per year....they had $15,000 going out. 

Maybe Suze is correct on the 5-million, if you have debt of any size.  But I just have a problem with this idea of a massive amount of money required to retire upon.