While it seems it should be no problem to retire at age 65 if you’ve saved $2.5 million, a global pandemic, fluctuating financial markets and historically high inflation have shown that nothing in life is certain.
It may seem like a large sum to retire with, but there are many variables to consider, including high inflation, market downturns, unexpected healthcare costs or a longer-than-projected lifespan.
That’s why we feel it’s more important than ever to speak with a financial advisor to help make sure your investments and retirement plan will be able to support your retirement lifestyle.
This free retirement quiz can match you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area and are legally bound to work in your best interest.
Is $2.5 Million Really Enough to Retire?
A retirement nest egg of $2.5 million can likely produce an annual income of $100,000 for as long as you are likely to live. This is using the 4% withdrawal rate many advisors consider standard.
After starting with the first withdrawal of 4% of the total, the annual withdrawal will adjust for inflation. For example, if inflation runs at the target 2% rate of federal policymakers, during retirement the retiree will withdraw:
$100,000 in the first year
$102,000 in the second year
$104,040 in the third year and so on
According to this model and conventional wisdom, a 4% withdrawal rate will allow a portfolio to last for at least 30 years. This would permit a 65-year-old retiree to maintain consistent purchasing power until age 95 and beyond.
For most retirees, this will likely be adequate to maintain a satisfying standard of living. Only about 3% of 2,000 retirees surveyed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in 2022 spent $7,000 or more per month, equivalent to $84,000 in annual spending.1
This model does not include a number of other factors. For instance, nearly all retirees are eligible for Social Security. For 2023, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit for people who claim benefits at full retirement age is $3,627. That’s equal to more than half the spending of the top 3% of retirees surveyed by EBRI. And, like the standard withdrawal rate, Social Security benefits are indexed to inflation.
5 Variables for Retiring With $2.5 Million at Age 65
While $2.5 million could seem like enough to retire at 65, many factors could change the outlook.
1. Unexpected Healthcare Costs
The Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate suggests an average 65-year-old couple could need (approximate, after taxes):
This assumes both spouses are enrolled in traditional Medicare, which between Medicare Part A and Part B covers expenses such as hospital stays, doctor visits and services, physical therapy, lab tests and more, and in Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs.
This figure does not include long-term care (or “custodial care”), most dental care, eye exams and more, so your estimated healthcare costs in retirement could be considerably more.
Inflation can powerfully influence retirees’ financial well-being. When inflation occurs, it reduces the purchasing power of money withdrawn from your retirement account. You can increase withdrawals to maintain purchasing power, but this risks more quickly depleting your savings.
3. Market Downturns
Inflation isn’t the only cause of market downturns. Business cycles and financial crises can exaggerate normal fluctuations in stock market valuations. If you’re selling investments to generate income for living expenses, you may want to sell more if valuations are down.
While living a long life is positive, you could outlive the money you’ve saved for retirement. Many financial planners use life expectancy to age 95 or 100 when developing plans for funding retirement.
The Social Security Administration says an average 65-year-old male can live to age 83, while the average woman can live to age 86. However, people in their 80s and 90s also generally reduce their spending, with the exception of healthcare costs.3
5. Estate Planning
Retiring at 65 with $2.5 million likely involved generating high income and savings, there’s a chance you could have assets to pass on. With estate planning, adding members of your family as beneficiaries for homes you paid off with a mortgage may have long-term positives.
You may also want to think about any additional income streams. For example, if you own a business, you may want to add your family as a beneficiary so they can decide to keep the business running or sell it.
How to Make Sure You’ve Saved Enough for Retirement
A nest egg of $2.5 million likely can be enough for a comfortable retirement for most people, the factors listed above, and other unforeseen factors, could affect how long that nest egg lasts.
Regardless of how much you have saved, if you’re unsure about healthcare costs, inflation, market downturns, longevity or estate planning, we feel it’s important to speak with a fiduciary financial advisor. Some things are better left to professionals.
Fiduciaries are obligated by law to act in your best interest as they manage your assets or money, and any potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
While the value of working with a financial advisor varies by person and advisors are legally prohibited from promising returns, research suggests people who work with a financial advisor feel more at least about their finances and could end up with about 15% more money to spend in retirement.4
Yet knowing how to find a vetted fiduciary advisor is, for many, the most confusing task of all. Common Google searches related to the topic reveal an urgent search for direction. “Fiduciary financial advisors near me,” “best fiduciary financial advisor,” and “financial investment advisors near me” are searched for hundreds of times per day.
Finding a fiduciary shouldn’t be that hard. Thankfully, now it isn’t.
Our free matching quiz helps Americans get matched with up to three fiduciary advisors who serve their area so they can compare and decide which advisor is right for them. All advisors on the matching platform have been rigorously vetted through our proprietary due diligence process. The quiz takes just a few minutes, and in many cases you can be connected instantly with an advisor for a free introductory call.
“Journal of Retirement Study Winter” (2020). The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of your future results. Please follow the link to see the methodologies employed in the Journal of Retirement study.
‘For important disclosures regarding SmartAsset, please click here.’