2017 was the first year I got serious about retirement saving and planning. At 41 years old, I obviously wish this moment had come sooner, but alas, we are where we are.
Luckily, Mrs Benjamins has been an ardent saver for a long time, and I began saving with greater earnest a few years back. We weren’t starting at square one in the saving process, more in the planning progress.
Last year, I put together a spreadsheet that would attempt to plot our annual savings totals on our way to our total savings goal. The numbers were a little crude, as it would take whatever last year’s savings total was, factor in adding the max 401(l) contribution and add to it a 6% return.
The math isn’t perfect, and neither was the savings goal. I came up with a figure, which I essentially pulled out of a hat. That number has no real meaning, it just seemed like it would a) be attainable and b) be enough to live on.
When plugging in our starting figure, contributing the 401(k) max annually, with a 6% return, I calculated we’d hit that number when I’m turning 65 and Mrs. Benajmins 66.
Thanks to stellar returns and additional contributions, we ended 2017 ahead of our annual pace, and using that same crude math and thanks to an increased 401(k) limit starting next year, we’re slated to hit that arbitrary number sometime in 2038.
After some consideration and further calculations this year, I’ve come up with what I believe is a more accurate goal number, albeit still a moving target. The good news is, the goal got smaller and has a projected date of sometime in 2034.
With that number, I’d be turning 59, Mrs Benjamins would be turning 60.
I sure hope to retire before then, so my goal this year is to rework this spreadsheet with a) a more realistic goal that actually focuses on our anticipated retirement spending and b) more up to date savings rate, as we’re saving quite a bit beyond just the allowable 401(k) contributions.
With the youngest kid in 6th grade, the earliest we’d like to think about retiring would be when the last one is off to college. At the latest, I’d like it to be when the last one is finished with college. That gives us some a couple of different goals to shoot for: 2024 at the earliest, 2029 at the latest. Right now we’re on “pace” to be below the current target in those years.