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Getting old sucks, but it certainly beats the alternative. Getting old, without enough money to live on is even worse, so I did a little digging into how much cash we need to enjoy a happy, long retirement. Of course, every scenario differs, as people live to different ages, the quality of life varies and the amount of money you have amassed during your life is a factor. In an effort to understand my needs, I went to the actuaries, who spend endless hours crunching numbers, and telling us what the mean averages will be. It is most unfortunate; we do not grasp the concept of retirement, until we are well underway in life. Do it over again, and I’m sure most of us would put some cash aside for savings. One of the most important factors in retirement income is things constantly change. Companies declare bankruptcy, people lose jobs, pension funds lose money, etc. So how much cash is enough to see you through your golden years? Of course that depends on your lifestyle, but if we assume the government gives you about $18-20 thousand to live on, you have to determine how much more you require. If you have a decent pension that will, of course, help you along, if not then it is your investments that see you through. The rule of thumb for someone who is 65 years of age is to withdraw no more than 4% from your investments, annually. When you get to early 70s, you can up it to 5%, and when you hit 80, 6% should do it. So let’s see what living costs. If you own your own home, and are using that as your retirement property, make sure there is enough equity in it to last your days. Use the above formula and add it to the mix of your other income. For example, if you have savings of $500,000 and no pension, and you are 65, count on 4% of the savings (investment), which is $20,000 a year. Add to that the government pension of $20,000, and you have a total of $40,000, from which you will have to pay some income tax. My parents moved into a retirement home when they were in their late eighties and the cost for the two of them was $5,000 per month. That worked out to $60,000 a year or $85,000 of pre-tax dollars. That’s a chunk of change. As many of you know, I am not in the financial business, and this information is strictly from research I have done. My message is do the math, talk to financial advisors, and save money when you can. We are living longer and moving in with your kids may not be a viable option. Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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