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what I heard in my dental chair

May 22nd, 2014 at 01:30 pm

Yesterday I got my teeth cleaned during my semi-annual cleaning. I've been going to my dentist for 7 years now and they are very good. The dental hygienist is great and she's a lovely lady. Tells me awesome stories about growing up in a military family and she's lived all over the world.

She tells me she recently turned 65 and was asked if she was going to retire. So I said "will you?" She got offended. Now she's married but without children unless you count two golden retrievers.

She says to me if I retire and take SS I only get 33% of my income. If I wait until 70 I get 45%. I need every penny I can get. My mother is 95 and still alive. I'm going to live a long time. And I want to live in the lifestyle I'm accustomed to. And I don't have enough money. I'll still be short when I do decide to retire. She says it's so hard to save money.

I sit there unable to really comment as my mouth is being worked on of course. Good thing it was because I really wanted to ask, how much money does she really think she needs to retire? 100% of her income? Does she spend every penny she makes?

I sit here now thinking, on these forums everyone touts saving at least 15% for retirement so you can adjust to living on only 85% of your income. But I've been seriously looking at retirement numbers and I've wondered do people really need to replace 85% of their income? I mean if they have a paid for home? Then the mortgage if it's say 20-30% of their income, then perhaps it goes down to 5% repairs/maintenance.

So couldn't someone in retirement live on 65%? And then less taxes because they are in a lower bracket, say saving 10% federal? So is the truth that most people could afford to live on 55% in retirement?

Or it that people are just spending every penny they make? So that the thought of living off what they saved is impossible?

I don't know but I found it sad that she is 65 and worried about retiring and replacing her income. And she can comment that SS won't be enough for her.

Is this what is waiting for most Americans?

5 Responses to “what I heard in my dental chair”

  1. Nika Says:

    If her only source of retirement income is Social Security, it would be wise for her not to retire at 65.

    Besides, there are always some hard to predict costs over the long term - biggest of them being healthcare costs. And if you start your retirement years on a budget so tight, it only goes downhill from there.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    This is a topic that's always interested me..what's the right number for you, in othr words. When i do the online calculators, they all come up with big, big numbers as to how much i'll need to save.

    Yet when i talked to several of my already retired friends who live modestly and fairly frugally, they all say you really don't need as much as you think. My one friend recently told me he could live easily on $20K a year. Now, that's a little too tight for me, given my 5800 property taxes and my desire to travel.

    But i think it varies widely. No size fits alls.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    I agree that it is better to wait to claim your SS benefits, especially if it is the bulk of your income. I know many who filed at 62 -- now they are locked in for life at a low rate of income. If she doesn't just hate her job she is making the right decision.

  4. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I find it incredibly sad that ss would be the bulk of someone's retirement plan. And being forced to work and worry so late in ones career.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    If SS is the bulk of her income, then I *think* she wouldn't be paying taxes on it. So that could mean an additional 10 - 20% (depending on her tax rate) in addition to her SS income.

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