Our 5-step guide will help you determine “your enough”.

What’s “enough”?  You can’t know if you’ll have enough money to retire until you define your enough –– the amount of money you personally will need annually to live the way you hope to in retirement.

Long-held thinking has been 70%-80% of your final, pre-retirement annual gross salary would be a reasonable amount to qualify as “enough”.  The problem with this thinking is that it’s not necessarily panning out for today’s retirees, especially considering the number of retirees who are active, involved and who may have a retirement that lasts 20 to 25 years or longer.  Conventional wisdom is that people tend to slow down in retirement and as a result don’t spend or need as much money as during their working years.  Today’s retirees don’t necessarily fit that profile. Many are busier than ever. They’re traveling, shopping, dining out, renovating their home, taking up hobbies, going to concerts and events, working out, visiting family and friends, taking classes –– all things that cost money.

The point is this: there’s no one formula (percentage) that works for all retirees.  Believing that “your enough” is like everyone else’s is a mistake that may lead to a lot of disappointment in your later years.   

A better approach to determining “your enough” is to take out a pencil and paper and start now wherever you are on your road to retirement to assign real costs to the things you imagine wanting to do, buy, own, see, experience and enjoy in your non-working years.  Planning your retirement around well-considered personal projections beats relying on a arguably dated percentage.

At Lenox, we advise you follow a simple, 5-step guide to help determine how much money will be “enough” for you personally to retire in the manner you desire.  It’s based on a number of variables and financial projections pertinent to you individually.

GET STARTED HERE (A Brief Look at Our Guide)

Make five lists, following the steps below.  Be as complete as possible in making your lists.  Next, assign honest numbers to each item on your lists, projecting out as best you can into your retirement years.

Step One –– The Expected

List all of your basic expenses that will continue into retirement:  mortgage or rent, utilities, insurances, auto, groceries, medications, etc.  Assign costs to each.

Step Two –– The Unexpected

You’ll still need an emergency fund in retirement.  Think unexpected healthcare costs, accidents, home repairs, increases in insurances or fees, replacing major appliances, etc. when making this list.

Step Three –– The Family

Retirement means finally being able to dote on and spend more time with family.  Whether that translates to gifts, trips or both, you’ll want to plug in a number to cover these costs.

Step Four –– The Change of Habits

Having more free time can be both wonderful and expensive. In a nutshell, habits change in retirement that can cost more money than you might imagine.  Eating out more often than usual is one example.  Same for playing more golf, shopping more frequently, spending more on personal grooming, etc.  Retirement is the perfect time to enjoy one’s life, but remember there’s always an associated cost.

Step Five –– The “I’ve Always Wanted to...”

Call this your bucket list or dream list.  What are the things you’ve always wanted to do?  Travel the world?  Visit every state?  Traverse America’s back roads?  See museums and monuments?  Take cooking classes in Italy?  Create the media center of your dreams?  Take your grandkids to major league sporting events?  Build your dream home?  Collect art?  This list can be anything or everything.  List your top five priorities and estimated costs, then your next five and so on.


If your total falls into the 70%-80% range of your final, annual gross salary, good for you.  However, don’t be surprised if your total doesn’t actually surpass your final salary. Not to worry.  The trick to having “enough” money to retire is to start now to get a clearer picture of how much money you will need to live the life you imagine in retirement.  Write it down.  Plan for it.  Make it happen.  We’d love to tell you more and work with you one-on-one to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE® all lifelong.  Let’s talk.

At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from generational planning and finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or contact us here to Fund a Life You Love.

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.