We have a lot of people pondering retirement and what you really need? The answer? It's really self dependent. You can say you need 33x your expenses. Sounds good. But here are some questions that influence that.
1. How old are you when you retire?
2. Will you take SS and when will you take it?
3. Do you have a pension?
4. Are you retiring early and need to pay for medical insurance?
5. Will you be retiring with a mortgage or without?
6. Do you plan on moving or will be tapping into your home equity?
These few questions alone influence what you need to retire. I always point out my mom retired at 55 with $200k in her 401k and Roth IRA. That's it. Yep not much. BUT she retired with a COLA pension, which she's not even sure what she makes but it's around $4k/month after withholdings. Yes my mom doesn't know what she makes but that's a different argument.
They did not have a $1M in savings. I believe my dad probably had $400k but he was already 75+ and drawing SS. My parents had medical through the state so my mom at 65 got dual coverage but for years 55-65 she had BCBS from the state employer paid 100%. My dad already had medicare so he was fully covered.
So there my parents are with $4k pension, $3k SS Dad, RMD of $1500/month, no medical expenses, 2 paid for homes and cars. What savings did they need? According to rule of thumb they should have at least $1m saved. Truth? NOT even close.
Their monthly haul was close to $8500/month after taxes withheld! So I think $10k/month pretax not unreasonable or unlikely. My parents were bringing in $120k/year without touching their savings and they were still earning income. So the $200k is gravy. They don't spend close to that a year and have kept on saving.
So the rules of thumb are a bit ridiculous. It also explains how so many people are able to retire without saving more than $100k in 401k. They have pensions and ss which pay for the bullk of their needs.
Is that a reality for people who are 41 like me? Nope. DH and I have no pension. We'd have to have $1.5M saved to generate the $60k/year my mom gets from a pension. We might get SS and but then we have to save more in our IRA in order get more RMDs.
I think you have a lot to look at when you retire and a lot of consider individually. Saying you need a $1m to retire is not realistic. Maybe the truth is you've never earned a lot, never spent a lot, and have a pension. So the reality is even $50k is enough to make it.