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How much does it take?

When my wife and I starting thinking seriously about retiring early, we gave a lot of thought to "The Magic Number." That number consisted of the amount of money that we needed to have in order to leave our jobs and feel confident that we wouldn't have to return to them down the road. It quickly became apparent that "the number" was a moving target and depended on a number of variables that were impossible to predict. No one knows how many years they will be around after they retire, but to exit the work force in our early 40's meant anticipating (we hoped) living for decades into the future. How large would "the number" have to be to ensure that we wouldn't run out of money before we ran out of time? Most of the online retirement calculators that I found were designed for traditional retirees who needed their money to last for a perhaps two or three decades. Retiring at such a young age meant that we needed to have enough money to live on for as much as half a century if we were lucky. In my next post, I will describe the process we used for finding our "magic number."

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