Yes, you can retire at 60 with just $500K. Here’s how


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Maybe you’re a 60-year old man who’s spent his whole life-saving money diligently little by little. You worked hard to earn a living and knew that in the end, the thing you really cared about was having enough for when you retired.

Now that time has come and possibly all of your hard work has finally paid off by saving up $500K in savings. You ask yourself, “Can I retire at 60 with $500K?”

The average person who saw this account balance might be tempted to go out and spend their wealth on an expensive car or other things that were not important to their long-term well-being.


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However, this isn’t the case for you. Instead, you only want to have enough saved up so that you can retire at a young age with minimal stress involved in making sure your retirement savings would last you until death.

It is rare nowadays to find somebody who spends their entire life working and getting to the point of asking whether they can retire securely, let alone early.

Therefore, you should enjoy it and make sure that before you retire at 60 with $500K or more in savings, your money will last.

Millions of baby boomers and Gen-Xers are in or nearing retirement age and wonder what their magic number is. Plenty of middle-aged folks wonder whether they can retire at 60 with $500k in retirement assets.

This article examines the considerations you can make as well as runs scenarios for your potential early retirement.

Can I Retire at 60 with $500,000?

The answer to this question depends entirely on where you live, your lifestyle, types of investments, other income sources and whether you want to work part-time in retirement.

If you see retirement including travel, some hobbies or interests that consume a lot of money, then you should budget for them ahead of time.

You don’t want to exit the workforce with your nest egg only to find out you don’t have the financial resources to meet your expectations.

How Much Money Do I Need to Live On?

When deciding how much you need to live on in retirement, you’ll need to consider a number of factors unique to your situation and ideal retirement:

  • How much money you spend on housing every month
  • How much money you spend on food every month
  • What types of transportation and health insurance you want to budget for (You’ll need health coverage if retiring before Medicare eligibility and possibly supplemental coverage to Medicare in retirement)
  • Types of leisure activities that are important to your retirement plan
  • How much you plan to spend on entertainment
  • Do you wish to provide support to grandchildren through custodial accounts or other educational savings accounts?
  • Do you intend to donate to charities you support?

The considerations you will make for how much you need to live on depends on any number of factors.

It’s important to take stock of your priorities you won’t compromise on while also finding areas that can fall to the wayside once you enter into retirement.

You’ll also want to size how much nest egg you’ll need by identifying a number of other important factors to consider:

  • The number of years you plan on living in retirement (A longer lifespan will require more savings)
  • How much money your spouse makes, and how many children under 18 you have at home or plan to support financially (if at all).
  • The types of investments you plan to hold in retirement and how much you intend to invest in growth or income investments
  • Your geographical location, which affects the cost of housing and other expenses significantly

Regarding this last point, for example, imagine you live in a high-cost area such as New York City. A lower-cost state like Arkansas may be an ideal place to retire with $500k plus at age 60.

Likewise, some states are less expensive than others based on their geography or tax policies so it’s important that these factors are accounted for when determining what will work best for your lifestyle needs during retirement.

To calculate your cost of living by location, you can use one of many online calculators to estimate how much money you’ll need for an adequate level of living in retirement.

There’s no way around it: this is a complicated calculation! But I’ve put together some resources here so we can walk through it step by step with as few surprises along the way as possible.

Social Security Payments: How Much Can I Expect?

Social Security is the single largest source of retirement income for millions of Americans. Many depend on this income to pay their bills in retirement, so knowing how much you can expect plays a major role in how you can prepare for retirement.

The first official year you can start collecting Social Security is age 62 unless you’ve become disabled and qualify for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

If you don’t qualify for these programs and will receive payments through the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (better known simply as Social Security), you might want to think through your options before requesting your payments to start.

More to the point, just because you can start collecting payments at age 62 doesn’t mean it’s the best financial decision for you.

If you elect to begin receiving payments on your first day of eligibility, you’ll only be able to withdraw 70% of your benefit should you have waited until full retirement if born in 1960 or later.

If you elect to start your benefits early rather than waiting until full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will be reduced by a small percent for each month before reaching your specific full retirement age.

For every year you can delay claiming your Social Security benefits, you stand to earn more of your full potential benefit.

As of the end of 2020, the average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,544. That’s about $18,500 per year in income.

But because of inflation and other factors, this will not go as far as you may think it would when your retirement time rolls around!

Your specific payment will depend on a number of factors. The portion of your pre-retirement wages earned comes based on your highest 35 years of earnings.

When deciding when you should start receiving your benefits, you’ll want to consider the following items when deciding:

  • Are you still working?
  • What is your life expectancy?
  • Will you still have health insurance if you retire before Medicare eligibility?
  • Are you eligible for someone else’s benefits?
  • Do you have other income to support you if you decide to delay taking your benefits?
  • Will other family members qualify on your record?

To get a sense of your estimated payments for Social Security, visit the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Estimator.

Investment Assumptions Around Assets Needed to Retire on $500k

When you’re thinking about how long you’ll need money in your retirement, you’ll need to consider the investment assumptions around the assets you’ll have when retiring.

Some good rules of thumb for the investment assumptions needed for retiring on $500k, consider the following items:

  • Investing in a diversified portfolio of 60% stock investments and 40% bond fund investments
  • Using more conservative historical returns, also accounting for potential economic uncertainties ahead
  • Expect to earn 5-7% on this portfolio with a rough 8% per year average in stocks and 4% in bonds- be cautious of overly aggressive return projections and also know that these are annual averages
  • Given the lower level of retirement assets and the early retirement without access to Social Security benefits at 60, I suggest being overly conservative with your return assumptions on a portfolio like this

If you decide to retire at 60 with $500k in assets, you’ll need to create a budget for what you think your expenses will be in retirement. As a going in assumption, most people spend about 80% of their current expenses while working.

This assumes you have paid off your house and enter retirement with no major debt and relies largely on expenses related to insurance, utilities, food, housing upkeep and maintenance and other lifestyle expenses sized to your budget.

If you have several income sources providing you a steady amount of cash flow, you’ll need less reliance on your invested assets now.

This could allow you to grow this balance in a portfolio more exposed to stocks to give your investments more time to grow.

If you hold a diversified portfolio of stocks for multiple years, you’ll likely see these appreciating assets continue to rise and represent more spending potential down the road.

On the other hand, if you need to draw on your portfolio from day one, you’ll want a portfolio with a heavy allocation to fixed income securities so you won’t need to liquidate your portfolio.

These will pay you interest and dividends to supplement your existing cash reserves and other income sources.

If you’ve invested conservatively over time– like 50% stocks/50% bonds–you’ll likely need more money to retire comfortably at 60 years old.

Though, that depends on continued investment performance, market interest rates, your lifestyle, location and cash needs. Vanguard has built model portfolios with historical performance by risk level.

As you can see, conservative portfolios have performed fairly well in the last 100 years, though that’s largely because of the nearly uninterrupted bull market in bonds since the 1980s when rates peaked.

Now, rates have never been lower and bond prices higher. They more inversely, meaning as yields drop, prices rise and vice versa.

If we believe in returns reverting to their means (and the notion that bond yields can’t go any lower than the floor), bond yields will likely climb and bond prices fall.

This is good if you have a low allocation to bonds now because your portfolio won’t suffer from a bond market rout and you’ll also be able to buy bonds at better yields to support your income needs.

The opportunity to transition into more bond fund holdings might be coming soon enough as interest rates normalize and yield returns to the markets.

Finally, if you’ve invested in riskier assets like stocks and have developed a level of risk tolerance that allows great investment returns over time, you might be able to retire comfortably with $500k and let that money ride in the market.

How Much Do I Need to Retire at 60 Comfortably?

The following walks through the various strategies you can use to retire at 60 comfortably, though you might consider delaying until you can receive your full entitlement benefits from several federal programs established to help retirees.

Slash Your Living Expenses, Pay Off All Debt

When thinking about retirement, you’ve got to project a lot of things into the future, often decades. Fortunately, you’ve developed a sense of your financial needs to this point in life, know what your lifestyle affords and how you can handle money.

Retirement experts use a conservative estimation to determine how much money you’ll need in retirement. The number people often cite for your expenses comes to roughly 80% of what you need while working.

That can be a big number to manage on your own so it’s often worth considering what you should do for the remainder of your life if you have less than $500k or $600k in savings and investments when retiring.

One way to make the number more manageable is to slash your living expenses where possible. This means:

  • right-sizing your budget
  • making big purchases before retiring that you won’t eat into your retirement nest egg
  • looking into ways to reduce what you own and need
  • practicing minimalism to clear your house of unneeded possessions and reducing your future needs

Another strategy involves paying off all debt before entering retirement. This sheds the unshakeable overhead of debt payments.

Debt represents a double-edged sword. First, it enabled you to buy something in a moment of need you couldn’t have otherwise afforded it. You did this by pulling your spending power forward and agreeing to repay it (with interest!) over a future period of time.

Therefore, think of retirement as your future asking you to repay your debt now. It doesn’t want you to get in over your head with debt and transition to a fixed income on a finite amount of assets. 

Effectively, your future is telling you that there’s nothing to borrow against without hurting yourself.

If you can’t afford to retire because you’ve got too much spending overhang (i.e., debt), you might need to find alternative means to work longer or cut the debt quicker.

Consider Moving to a Low-Cost-of-Living Area

Another option to shed expenses and the overall bloat of a budget is move to a lower cost-of-living area. This allows you to live more cheaply and unlock any savings you’ve accumulated in a home or assets you no longer need in your current location.

Relocating to save money on expenses and cost-of-living is called “geoarbitraging” in current parlance. This is the practice of taking advantage of a different place with less expensive cost-of-living to better stretch your dollars.

As an example, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are now retired or working part time for financial reasons, consider moving somewhere like Arizona where the cost of living is less than half as much.

It just so happens that many retirees choose this option because it can provide significant savings on expenses while also making new friends more easily in a lower-cost region.

If you have accumulated wealth by selling assets at the right time and/or saving throughout your lifetime then these moves might not be necessary for creating enough income through retirement.

You may even decide to retire in a high-cost region like California, though it will take more time and savings to get there. It all depends on your lifestyle, savings and income streams.

Consider Finding Part-Time Employment

Retirement might not be a full-time decision. In some instances, you might consider supplementing your retirement income by getting a side gig or other income to pad your retirement savings for longer.

This can avoid drawing down your balance and adding extra time for your funds to appreciate in value and develop greater income potential down the road.

Working part-time also keeps you active, socially engaged and more financially flexible. This keeps you attached to the labor force for longer and more able to afford delaying Social Security until full retirement age.

This can also be an opportunity to change your line of work into something more ideally suited to your interests. You might have had a dependable income at a job you’ve soured on as time went by or grown tired of from years of experience and not being challenged.

Think of part-time work in retirement as a way to earn money doing something completely different.

Another advantage of part-time work in retirement is you will never lose any time with your family. You can always take the grandkids to school, have dinner together, spend quality time and enjoy life more easily without the hard and fast commitments of a full-time job.

Are your retirement savings safe?

Two-thirds of workers across three generations – millennialsGeneration X and baby boomers – are confident they’ll be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle, according to “What is ‘Retirement?’ Three Generations Prepare for Old Age,” a 2019 survey of workers published by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a nonprofit foundation based in Los Angeles.

You may think you’ve got retirement covered with savings in retirement and other accounts. However, whether you’re nearing retirement age or already enjoying retirement, unexpected expenses due to aging, along with shifting economic and cultural factors, can derail, or at least curtail, your financial plans for retirement.

Continue on to learn 6 surprise costs that can strike a disabling blow to retirement savings.

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Even if you’re healthy now, someone turning 65 today has nearly a 70% chance of needing long-term care services or supports in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Around 20% will need long-term care support for longer than five years.

How long would it take for national annual median costs (according to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey) for a home health aide ($52,624), assisted living facility ($48,612) or a private room in a nursing home ($102,200) to wipe out your retirement savings, especially if your spouse also needs long-term care? 

In most cases, Medicare won’t cover those costs for more than a few months. Medicaid may pay for long-term care but usually only if your income or total assets are below state eligibility requirements. If you carry long-term care insurance, retirement savings are more likely to be spared.

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For those looking to retire before age 65 and Medicare eligibility, monthly health insurance premiums could be one of your biggest expenses. The average monthly cost for an Affordable Care Act “silver” policy for someone 60 to 64 years old is between $1,016 and $1,123 per month, according to ValuePenguin. 

Approximately 14% of those surveyed in the University of Michigan’s 2019 National Poll on Health Aging survey said they kept a job specifically to have health insurance through an employer. Around 11% delayed or considered delaying retirement to have health insurance through their job.

Unless you have an employer retirement package that includes health insurance, plan on paying high health insurance premiums until you’re eligible for Medicare. You may find that toughing it out for a few more years at your job is worth the savings.

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An aging parent or spouse who needs care or more attention can increase your expenses, possibly for several years. Expenses can include travel costs, helping with caregiver wages, paying for home modifications to accommodate mobility issues, and time away from work if you’re not yet retired.

More than half of family caregivers must take time off from their job, reduce work hours or quit their jobs to accommodate caregiving responsibilities, according to the AARP report Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket. 

Of those surveyed, around 3 in 10 dipped into personal savings, 1 in 6 reduced the amount set aside for retirement, and more than 1 in 10 withdrew from retirement savings, according to the report.

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When the stock market crashed in 2008, U.S. retirement accounts lost around $2.7 trillion, 31% of their peak value, in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Urban Institute. 

The combined peak loss from plummeting stock and home values cost the average U.S. household nearly $100,000, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. The decline in stock values alone cost around $66,000 on average per U.S. household, according to that organization’s findings.

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Years after adult children leave their parents’ home to pursue a career, find love or just get away from Mom and Dad, some return, decades later, jobless, divorced and/or deeply in debt.

A life events survey by Fidelity Investments found that 1 in 9 baby boomer parents surveyed said their “boomerang” kids moved back home in the past year. Around 76% of those parents said they faced higher expenses because of the familial tenant.

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Many millennials live with their parents well beyond high school and college, delaying moving out for years, if they ever move at all. Roughly 1 in 3 adults aged 21 to 37 don’t gain financial independence from their parents until they’re 25 or older, according to a survey by Country Financial Security Index. 

More than one-third of millennials still live with their parents, the survey found. According to the survey, other expenses parents may foot for grown millennial children include cell phone (41%), groceries and gas (32%), rent (40%) and health insurance (32%).

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Consider Consulting or Freelancing

Likewise, you might see retirement as a second act to sell your services to the highest bidder. Your years of experience would prove valuable to many employers looking to hire someone seasoned in their line of work and not in need of training.

Because you’ve got the chops to be an authority in your industry, you can command top dollar for your knowledge and expertise. This keeps your skills relevant and gives you the option of remaining attached to the workforce for earning extra money.

You might also lean into a different career path closely related to your previous line of work. For example, if you worked in accounting for 30+ years, you might think about translating this experience into becoming a financial content writer for large online publishers or a local newspaper.

Wait Longer to Draw Social Security

The most dependable strategy is to continue working as long as your health and lifestyle permit so you can draw your full Social Security benefit in retirement.

These higher payouts will enable you to live easier and with less financial concern. By waiting to claim your Social Security benefits each year, you stand to earn an additional ~8%. So, that means the longer you can wait, the better off financially you’ll be.

That said, if you want to retire on a lower payout, you still can but may need to winnow down your expenses in the first years of retirement to allow for your assets to grow relatively untouched.

These few years of growth could lead to a lot more financial stability in retirement. You may also have a spouse able to support you if they’re younger and still inclined to work for a while longer.

Wait Until Medicare Eligible and Possibly Full Social Security Payout

Closely related to waiting for Social Security is the possibility of waiting until you’re Medicare eligible. Healthcare expenses can run high just before Medicare eligibility.

Most full-time positions allow you access to healthcare benefits or at least the income you’d need to pay for a policy you can buy on

In either circumstance, having extra money coming in can cover your healthcare expenses until you reach Medicare eligibility and have a higher Social Security payout.

How Long Will $500,000 Last in Retirement?

Retirement is a tricky subject to nail down since it involves more than just spending habits and how much one has saved for retirement. It also entails thinking about your goals for retirement and the lifestyle you want to live.

Therefore, to understand how long $500,000 will last in retirement, you need to think through some of the possible scenarios for withdrawing your money from savings to support your retirement money needs.

 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate

The 4% withdrawal rate has long stood as the golden rule for how much you can safely withdraw from your portfolio each year and remain financially secure during retirement.

The 4% rule relies on a diversified investment portfolio split between 60% stocks and 40% bonds. This also assumes you keep your spending flat during retirement without adjustments for inflation or other cost of living increases or decreases.

Remember, few things remain absolutely static in life. The only certainty in life is change as the old adage goes. If you think these constant returns and spending fits your portfolio and needs, the 4% rule might work for you.

The rule relies on this diversified portfolio to provide continued capital appreciation as well as income to support your spending needs.

The portfolio has averaged a return of 6.4% per year since 1929, meaning withdrawing 4% per year shouldn’t deplete your funds. Rather, it should only take away from your returns and leave the principal largely untouched.

One thing to know about average annual returns, however, is that the average year rarely happens. In fact, you’re more likely to have boom and bust years follow one after another.

Therefore, timing your withdrawals becomes a forecasting practice, something fraught with incredible amounts of risk. It’s probably not advised to step up your withdrawal rate during a recession to keep your spending constant as is called for by the rule.

However, in abstraction, the concept works well for many as it’s an easy rule to follow, though it might not always meet the mark for your financial needs.

Further, it strongly relies on historical market performance going forward, something we might not necessarily experience as past results can’t necessarily predict future returns.

You shouldn’t blindly follow this rule without consideration for your situation. Lean on it blindly and you could prematurely end up running out of money.

Likewise, you could end up withdrawing too little and land yourself in a huge surplus of cash you never spend, foregoing experiences in retirement you ought to have done.

Instead, you might consider a variable withdrawal rate and build flexibility into your budget.

Variable Withdrawal Rate to Maintain Steady Income

The best investment choice is to build flexibility into your portfolio. This allows for you to change tack, pivot on your investment goals and ultimately weather financial storms.

This means you need a diversified portfolio capable of handling volatility and a mindset that you need to persevere and roll with the punches or avoid getting caught up with the stress of the market altogether.

Part of this means having a variable need for drawing from your portfolio during retirement. You might need to step up withdrawals to account for greater financial needs or even ease up after seeing your expenses fall unexpectedly in retirement.

Maintaining a variable withdrawal rate can maintain steady income for yourself and provide you the ammunition needed to make it through financial transition.

Retirement Income Projections

Now, let’s walk through a series of retirement income projections to understand with modeled numbers how you might fare in retirement under different assumptions.

Scenario 1 – Retire at 60 with $500k in assets

  • Retirement Age: 60
  • Expected Lifespan: 90 years
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Net Worth at Retirement: $500,000
  • Retirement Date: February 10, 2021
  • Assumed Annual Return on Retirement Portfolio: 6.49%
  • Year Commencing Social Security: Full Retirement Age (67)
  • Peak Earning Year Pre-Retirement: $50,000
  • Annual Expenses Pre-Retirement: $40,000
  • Retirement Income in Year 1: $0
  • Portfolio Withdrawals in Year 1: $32,080
  • Annual Expenses in Retirement: $30,000, inflated at 2% per year
  • Net Worth at End of Year 1: $496,558
  • Net Worth at Death (90): $605,654

Scenario 2 – Retire at 62 with $500k in assets

  • Retirement Age: 62
  • Expected Lifespan: 90 years
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Net Worth at Retirement: $573,326 (two extra years of saving and growth)
  • Retirement Date: February 10, 2023
  • Assumed Annual Return on Retirement Portfolio: 6.49%
  • Year Commencing Social Security: Full Retirement Age (67)
  • Peak Earning Year Pre-Retirement: $50,000
  • Annual Expenses Pre-Retirement: $40,000
  • Retirement Income in Year 1: $0
  • Portfolio Withdrawals in Year 1: $32,080
  • Annual Expenses in Retirement: $30,000, inflated at 2% per year
  • Net Worth at End of Year 1: $580,957
  • Net Worth at Death (90): $816,574

10 Best Countries To Retire on A Budget

Americans increasingly are turning to overseas destinations in their search for affordable places to retire. The prospect of living comfortably for less and seeing more of the world pushes many to ponder becoming expats. There are, of course, many factors to consider before making the move abroad, including language, safety, and contact with loved ones back in the United States. But for many nearing or in retirement, cost of living is a top concern. With that in mind, here are some of the cheapest and most appealing international retirement locales, spanning the globe.

To compile this list, Cheapism consulted the top destinations in the 2017 Global Retirement Index from International Living. We looked especially at cost of living and housing in the highest-scoring locales. The other categories included in the index are benefits and discounts, visas and residence, “fitting in,” entertainment and amenities, health care, healthy lifestyle, infrastructure, and climate.

With an International Living rating of 97 out of 100 in both cost of living and renting and buying (housing), Nicaragua emerges as a top cheap retirement destination. The magazine suggests San Juan del Sur, a surf town with ocean beaches, as well as up-and-coming Matagalpa. Swimming and boating are big local activities on Lake Nicaragua. The nearby airport in Managua can get American retirees back to U.S. soil in two hours. The country earns a final score of 83.6 in International Living’s Global Retirement Index, placing it No. 8 overall.

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For many retiring Americans, heading to Mexico makes a lot of financial sense. It’s International Living’s overall winner, with a score of 90.9 and similarly high scores for housing (94) and cost of living (89). Retiring in Mexico is convenient, with flights back to the United States both affordable and quick. Expats love the beaches as well as the cheap, delicious cuisine, shopping, and historical attractions. International Living cites Lake Chapala and the Riviera Maya as retirement meccas and says Americans can live well for about $1,200 a month.

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Colombia is a modern country that’s becoming increasingly popular as a prime retiree destination, according to International Living. An inviting cultural scene, warm weather (not much seasonal change), and a diverse natural landscape with more than 50 national parks, along with beaches, jungles, and deserts, make for an ideal retirement venue. With inexpensive properties and a low cost of living, many Americans can live an upscale lifestyle without being “USA-rich.” Colombia scores high 80s and 90s in almost every category, achieving a total score of 87.7 — good enough for fifth place. ¡Vaya a Colombia!

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Ecuador is another popular spot for retirement. Live and Invest Overseas perennially sings the praises of the city of Cuenca, citing the low cost of real estate, walkability, burgeoning expat community, and cheap but reliable health care. International Living adds Quito, Cotacachi, and Salinas to the list of expat havens. Ecuador scores 97 in buying and renting, 99 in benefits and discounts, 100 in climate (no surprise there), and 92 in healthy lifestyle, among other stellar scores, making it No. 3 overall with an average of 90.7.

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Americans’ retirement savings can go a long way in Malaysia. It takes the sixth spot on the International Living index, with scores of 89 and 87 in housing and cost of living, respectively. It also earns a 97 in health care and a 95 in entertainment and amenities. The website Malaysia My Second Home cites other key reasons to retire in the country, including political/economic stability, low crime, inexpensive food, wide-ranging sports, plentiful retail shops, and good infrastructure.


Panama presents another excellent choice for budget-friendly retirement. Health care, perfectly mild weather, and affordable lifestyle — all are noteworthy, but according to International Living, it’s the ease of living in Panama that makes it so appealing. The site’s Panama editor cites reliable cellphone and internet connections as part of the draw. The Global Retirement Index ranks Panama second overall, with a final score of 90.8. Cost of living is ranked 82, while buying and renting rates 87. Panama also earns 100 in benefits and discounts and 96 in visas and residence.

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Ranking fourth overall on International Living’s index is exciting, diverse Costa Rica. It scores 97 in healthy lifestyle, 80 in cost of living, and 89 in housing, and also achieved high scores in entertainment, health care, and fitting in, earning 87.9 overall. Slightly smaller than West Virginia, this tiny nation boasts Pacific and Caribbean beaches, lush rainforests, mountains, and valleys, each with individualized climates — something for everyone, and plenty of opportunity to explore. The climate and environmental conditions prompt many residents to grow their own vegetables and fruits, or buy them cheaply from local farmers.

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Although Mexico ranks número uno on International Living’s retirement index, some argue that Portugal is the best destination for retirees. The publisher of Live and Invest Overseas notes that foreign retirement income is not taxed and English is widely spoken. She particularly recommends the Algarve region, on the south coast. Ranked among the top 10 destinations for retirees by International Living, with a score of 83.1 overall, Portugal is worth a second look. It scored 82 for cost of living and 84 for housing.


With ratings of 85 in housing and 78 in cost of living, Spain (which comes in at 84.8 and seventh overall) might be an unexpected but attractive international destination for retirees on tight budgets. International Living singles out the eastern, coastal city of Valencia as a particular bargain. Expats have access to excellent, cheap health care, open-air food markets with inexpensive wares, and easy, affordable getaways in neighboring European nations.


This archipelago of five islands in the Mediterranean Sea has long been a favorite spot for American retirees. Malta ranks in the top 10 on International Living’s retirement index, with ratings of 77 and 79 in cost of living and housing, respectively, and an overall score of 81.7. It boasts gorgeous beaches, plentiful sunshine, a high standard of health care, low taxes, historic sites to explore, low crime — the list goes on. Malta is conveniently located for easy trips to the surrounding regions of Europe and North Africa, as well as gorgeous neighboring islands such as Sicily and Corsica. English is one of two official state languages and spoken by most inhabitants.

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Monte Carlo Simulation of Rates of Return and How Long Money Will Last

Monte Carlo Simulation illustrates the potential results of your financial plan over thousands of times of randomly generated market returns and volatility called trial runs.

In each trial run, the mean and standard deviation of a selected benchmark index for each account or portfolio is used for a randomly chosen year.

This hypothetical investment performance combines with the detailed cash flow and tax calculations for your plan. The trial runs produce a range of potential results and are one way of illustrating and evaluating the statistical probability of your planning strategies.

Under the scenarios above, these numbers land on significantly high likelihoods of maintaining enough funds in retirement to cover your expected living expenses.

Of note, this analysis doesn’t consider one-off events, costs increasing above the rate of inflation (2%), nor other costs adding to your annual living expenses later in life.

Specifically, this doesn’t count added healthcare expenses, additional assistance nor other expenses categories which tend to accrue as we age.

Both strategies rely on saving money in a diversified portfolio and having smooth average expected returns each year. They also require waiting until full retirement age to claim Social Security.

The payments from Social Security amount to nearly twice the income you draw from your retirement portfolio over the 28 years of expected retirement.

This underscores the importance of waiting as long as possible to claim Social Security. Each additional year you wait between 62 and 67 adds a guaranteed annual average of around 8% higher payments for life, something your portfolio can’t go because your returns follow market movements.

You can also use financial products like annuities to remove all risk from your investment portfolio. If you have interest in learning about annuities, consider speaking to a financial advisor.

How to Retire Forever on a Fixed Chunk of Money

Retiring forever should always be the goal. No one wants to work only to retire and then need to return to the workforce.

Avoiding this situation requires carefully planning your retirement strategy, saving money diligently over your career with low-cost or free investing apps and platforms and right-sizing your expenses to your budget.

If you can accomplish these goals over time, you can learn to live like no one else by living like no one else.

Safe Withdrawal Rate

It’s often said money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy stability and predictability with your financial picture. This means having security knowing you can safely withdraw money from your retirement without fear of running out of funds.

Consider your withdrawal rate and possibly employ tactics like the 4% rule or even the variable withdrawal rate. The safe withdrawal rate that meets your needs might also include one from The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

It has developed a system which they say will assist you in establishing a safe withdrawal rate.

They pin their safe withdrawal rate on the IRS required minimum distribution (RMDs) tables. These are the amounts you must begin withdrawing from traditional retirement accounts by age 72 annually unless you’re still working.

There’s also a stipulation that you need not RMDs if you own more than 5% of the company you work for because this could be a financially-compromising action taken on the business should you be forced to liquidate.

Assuming you don’t meet that criteria, you take your account balance held in traditional retirement assets and divide that by the period next to your age found in this IRS table.

If you begin taking annual withdrawals (or converted into monthly withdrawals) beginning at age 65, you can safely withdraw between 3-3.15% of your retirement savings until age 100. At that point, you can withdraw 15.67%.

However, like the 4% withdrawal rate espoused by many your mileage may vary depending on your lifestyle and market performance.

When Should I Retire?

This is the most important question to answer.

It’s also the hardest to answer.

The point is that it’ll vary based on your preferences, lifestyle and comfort with leaving the workforce. Therefore, you should do what feels right for you.

A common rule of thumb suggests age 67 as an appropriate retirement date because full Social Security benefits start around this time while Medicare eligibility starts at 65. That means no premiums are assessed on Medicare Part A.

Though, as laid out above, you might have enough saved at 60 to leave the workforce with confidence knowing you’ve saved an adequate amount to retire.

Are You Prepared for Retirement?

Undoubtedly, life after the workplace presents a new set of financial challenges for you to navigate. When it comes to retirement planning, it might no longer be enough to simply think about saving enough money in your retirement accounts.

You’ll want to consider a number of facts like:

  • Taking distributions from your retirement savings at the appropriate time
  • Living longer because of continued good health and improvements in medicine and overall medical care
  • Experiencing the rising cost of healthcare and inflation

If you seek a guaranteed financial return on your investment portfolio and hope to avoid any income gaps, you might consider learning more about annuities.

One of the more talked about annuities is a variable annuity with add-on living benefits from Jackson.

It offers a Lifetime Check unaffected by interest rate fluctuations and market downturns with checks coming monthly, quarterly or annually, so you can receive income for the rest of your life through their annuity.

This means that you will receive guaranteed payments with no risk to funds being lost outside the policy you purchase. Further, your Lifetime Check amount might even keep growing through add-on living benefits which allow you to grow and take income, as well as leave a legacy.

The examples and discussion in this article illustrate that there are many factors involved when determining how much retirement savings someone needs to retire. Is $500,000 that number for you? $600,000? Only you know.

The most pressing question to ask after “When should I retire?” is: “What does retirement mean to me?”

If you don’t like your job, maybe it’s time to find one that suits you better. Or, instead, if you are near age 55 and plan to have $500,000 saved as retirement funds, retiring at 60 is a possibility.

Sometimes making the decision on whether to retire at age 60 depends on the tradeoffs you face. If retirement means choosing to live only on money you’ve invested for yourself and then collecting Social Security benefits, you’ll need a larger investment portfolio than you would working part-time or freelancing and living in a cheap location.

Regardless of your decision, you can know the numbers support your ability to retire at 60 with $500k in assets. However, if you feel that you might experience an income gap, consider pursuing a variable annuity to stabilize your retirement income.

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The 7 biggest retirement fears in the US

Americans have always struggled to save. Many live paycheck to paycheck, on the very edge of financial security. Historically, that savings shortfall has been all the more dramatic when it comes to saving for retirement.

But with the coronavirus pandemic and the havoc it has wrought on the economy, that retirement savings gap may worsen. Beyond the health impact, COVID-19 has created enormous economic uncertainty across the country. Market volatility has cut into retirement nest eggs for many. In the first three months of 2020, the average 401(k) dropped 20%.  And a provision of the CARES Act that makes it easier to tap retirement accounts is likely to send those balances even lower in the months ahead. 

Unemployment has skyrocketed to record highs, hitting 14.7% in April. That means that Social Security’s coffers (which are dependent on payroll taxes) are taking a hit. Moreover, the recent CARES Act allows companies to delay Social Security payouts for up to two years. And while this doesn’t affect current beneficiaries, it highlights the pandemic’s impact on the already increasing Social Security funding deficit. With all of this uncertainty, it’s not surprising that Americans are growing increasingly worried about their retirement prospects.


According to the May 2020 Simplywise Retirement Confidence Index, 56% of Americans are more concerned about retirement today compared to how they were feeling about it a year ago.The survey also found that 69% of people in their 50s—who are nearest to retirement—are more concerned about retirement today.

The study, which was conducted as an online, random sample survey of 1,070 Americans ages 18+ between May 8-9, 2020, explored how people are looking at retirement, Social Security, and savings today, particularly in light of the current crisis. We break down our findings, from changing rates of postponing retirement to how people are drawing from retirement savings during the pandemic.


The survey found that 56% of Americans more concerned about retirement today compared to a year ago. Main concerns include fear that the Social Security trust fund will dry up before or during retirement (which 56% believe) as well as outliving savings during retirement (which 49% believe is likely).

  • 40% of are now concerned they won’t be able to retire at all.
  • Over half of respondents believe their quality of life with suffer after claiming Social Security retirement benefits.
  • 67% of working people plan to continue working in retirement.

  • One in three saved $0 for retirement in the last year. Women saved even less than men; 37% of women saved $0, and 50% saved under $500.

  • One in five people believe it’s likely they will draw from 401(k) for cash right now, including 1 in 3 of those who have lost work.
  • Given the current economic climate, 26% of respondents said they would postpone retirement altogether.
  • Of respondents in their 50s and 60s, 33% are now planning to claim their Social Security retirement benefits early.

    Simplywise conducted its May 2020 Retirement Confidence Index online, as a random sample survey of 1,070 Americans aged 18 and above. The survey was fielded May 8-9, 2020. It was intended to explore how citizens are looking at retirement, Social Security, and savings today, particularly in light of the current crisis.

    Here are the seven things Americans are most concerned about when it comes to retirement:


    Among respondents not yet collecting benefits, 56% are concerned that Social Security will dry up altogether by the time they retire.

    The concern is legitimate. According to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the trust funds responsible for disbursing benefits will be depleted by 2035. That does not mean Social Security will be gone altogether. But it does mean that its cash reserves will be gone, and it will only be able to dole out what it collects in taxes each year. If that happens, according to the Trustees, the Administration will only be able to pay beneficiaries 79% of the money they are owed. Its reserves are running out due to demographic trends. Generation X (the generation behind Baby Boomers) is much smaller, so while the Boomers swell the ranks of retirement beneficiaries, there are less workers paying in taxes to fund those benefits. This means current tax revenues won’t cover benefits and Social Security will have to tap the surplus. Add to that the current soaring unemployment numbers and it becomes hard for many to imagine what the future of Social Security looks like today.

    Half of respondents are concerned they will outlive their savings in retirement.

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    Paying everyday bills, particularly medical bills, is a great anxiety. Over 50% of people in their 50s reported being concerned about their ability to pay for medical and daily living expenses in retirement. Repaying lenders is another concern, with 28% concerned about having too much debit in retirement.

    monkeybusinessimages / istockphoto

    For those not yet claiming Social Security benefits, financial concerns are the greatest anxiety as they think about retirement.

    An incredible 40% of respondents to the Simplywise survey reported that they do not believe they will be able to retire at all. 

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    Over half of all respondents believe their quality of life will suffer after they begin collecting Social Security. For those not currently collecting retirement benefits, 58% believe those benefits won’t allow them to maintain the same quality of life they enjoy today. 

    Looking at the average Social Security benefit—$1,503 per month in January of this year—it comes as no surprise. Especially given that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $5,102 per month. 

    Women were less confident than men that their savings and benefits would get them through retirement. Just 41% of women, compared to 55% of men, believed their retirement income would let them maintain their same lifestyle.

    Of course, even beyond financial concerns, there are other realities to face in entering the next phase of one’s life. Twenty five percent of respondents are worried about feeling bored or lonely once they retire. 

    In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in five adults 65 to 74 years old lives alone. That figure doubles to around four in ten for those 85 and older. And while living alone does not necessarily result in social isolation, the reality is that with age, social contact does typically increase. This can be due to factors like decreased health or mobility; family living far away; the death of friends or family members. 

    And loneliness and isolation can actually have a deep impact on health and even finances for those in retirement. A study from AARP estimated that social isolation costs $6.7 billion to Medicare every year. The study found loneliness to be a risk factor in health conditions including arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

    The reality is that the economy today is hurting Americans across the country, regardless of where one is from or how much one makes.  For starters, job security is of course a grave challenge for Americans today, which may likely continue. This reality is even more stark for pre-retirees and seniors. In fact, 30% of workers over the age of 62 have recently been laid off or furloughed due to coronavirus. And 38% of workers over 65 have recently been laid off or furloughed.

    Of those still working, thirty percent believe it is likely they will be laid off or have their income reduced within the next six months. Half of those currently furloughed believe they will lose their jobs or have their income cut by the Fall.

    Given the current economic climate, one in ten respondents are planning to dip into their emergency savings. And one in five Americans believe they will have to draw from their 401(k). For those recently furloughed, 20% believe they will have to tap their retirement savings now. And half of those who recently lost their jobs are now planning to withdraw from their 401(k). If many withdraw, that alone could have a dramatic impact on the stock market.

    Social Security beneficiaries, many of whom are dependent on their fixed income and retirement portfolios, are also feeling squeezed. Of beneficiaries today, 11% are now considering selling their home to cover their expenses. Another 10% of beneficiaries are considering refinancing their home to cover expenses today.

    Of course, some Americans see an opportunity in the down economy. While over 41% are now planning to save more in their bank accounts, 21% of respondents are planning to invest more money in the stock market today.

    Women remain more fiscally conservative, however. Of female respondents, 45% plan to save more today, versus 37% of males. Additionally, just 17% of women plan to buy stock today, compared to 27% of males.

    But the truth is that a majority of Americans are struggling. Four in ten respondents answered they would not have the means to come up with $500 in cash today. They reported that they would either have to sell something or go to family and friends for a loan to get that kind of cash right now.

    So much has changed in the last two months about the way we live our lives, and indeed, what life even looks like in this new reality. The human toll from the coronavirus continues to climb. Some states are reopening, while others remain closed for what seems an indefinite amount of time. Policy changes meant to ease the burden on strained businesses and struggling American citizens can feel confusing to navigate. Uncertainty seems to be the only certainty.

    So it is natural that many Americans are feeling at best concerned and at worst overwhelmed in thinking about and planning for their futures today. Yet that is why it is more important than ever to educate oneself on the options for retirement

    Americans who are not yet retired but whose finances have been impacted by the pandemic can use this time to review their expenses. Determine how much cash will be needed in retirement, and make any necessary adjustments to savings and portfolio asset allocations. “For those who are eligible but not yet on Social Security, while we don’t necessarily recommend taking benefits earlier, this is a good time to consider how to maximize your benefits,” says Simplywise CEO Sam Abbas. “That means understanding and calculating your options for earned benefits, spousal benefits and survivor benefits.” The best way to understand what you’re owed is to use a comprehensive Social Security calculator and checklist.

    Things are changing rapidly – but staying informed, aware, and empathetic with yourself and those around you will ensure that your life today and future planning remain on track.

    This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

    Featured Image Credit: Ridofranz / iStock.