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Your Personal Dollar Amount to Walk Away From Your Job

How Much Money You Would Want to Walk Away from Your Job


Do you have an endpoint in mind when it comes to working at your current job? Some don’t think that way, they will keep working for various reasons. Some have an arbitrary end-point in mind. Some decide to walk away from their job when they no longer can do the work effectively, safely, with enjoyment. Others will walk away when they hit a specific age, 65, 70 or 55, 50, 40… Others still have a specific dollar amount in mind.


It’s interesting to try to figure out how workers reach their end-point decision, how did they come up with it? Perhaps an idea left an impression on them and that’s the path they choose to follow. For many others it’s how they have seen it done in their family or community. Research on this topic reveals that the age of ‘65’ and/or ‘80% of my income’ are the most pervasive concepts.


Digging a little deeper there is the early retirement mindset or the entrepreneur mindset. These individuals want to set their own pace perhaps and don’t have a desire to follow the mainstream idea of retirement. Some of these individuals believe that they can create a portfolio of cash/investments that will produce income for them once they stop working at their job. The entrepreneur may have a similar idea but might pursue starting a business or businesses to produce that income. The former group may categorize themselves as “index investors” or “stock investors” or “dividend strategists”. They often have a dollar amount in mind that they believe will produce them X dollar of income annually.


The Conservative Sort

Then there are the more conservative types, they will save enough to cover their projected living expenses for their years left on this beautiful planet. They are often the frugal sort, they save most of their income and place it in certificates of deposit (CD’s) or money market accounts or treasuries. They too have a dollar amount in mind and they are keenly aware of their annual expenses. They will divide their annual expenses by the value of their savings and come up with X number of years.


Of course, there is the carefree sort. They work either sporadically or in the case of doctors they might work per diem jobs without much in form of retirement benefits. They work for various organizations, they often set their own hours and don’t have a specific dollar amount they aim for. This sort is happy working and believes they will continue working well past a traditional retirement age and at some point will rely on some savings as well as social security to afford their lifestyle. These individuals tend to be low-maintenance and very flexible.


The Real Estate Type

It’s worthwhile mentioning the real estate group. I find them to be more methodical. They often start early in life acquiring real estate. Perhaps inspired by a family member… they rarely will sell a real estate they acquired. Many of these individuals still own the very first home they ever bought even decades later. The majority of these individuals are the buy-and-hold kind, they will buy residential units and rent them out. They may start out by being their own property manager and transition at some point to having someone take over that task. They spend their working years paying off the mortgages on these properties. They cut back on work gradually as income from their properties is higher than income they could make at their jobs.


What’s Your Bottom Line?

Let’s see, so you know how much water you need when you go on a run, right? You know how much food you need in the fridge so you don’t have to run back to the grocery store. You probably know how much gasoline you need in the tank to make it to Aunt Jackie’s house.  So, how much money do you need in your retirement? It’s a tougher question even though when it comes to making a decision there are basic facts to consider, personal believes to circumvent and a limited number of confounding variables to account for. The problem is that ‘the facts’ are terribly distorted by Wall Street, in their favor of course. The major investment houses will benefit from scaring you into thinking you need a ton of money in your retirement account. ‘80% of your current income’… that’s like me saying ‘you need to work out 30 minutes every day to be healthy’. No! Blanket advice is good for the Goodwill store. It depends on you, your comfort level, your specific situation, what you are willing to do for income should you need more money, how much of a ‘buffer’ you want, how well you can control your personal inflation (more on this later). How much would I need? No, that’s not you thinking to yourself, I’m talking about me, Dr. Mo…

Well, I don’t want to “travel” in the traditional sense that everyone else apparently does. I don’t want to take luxury cruises. I don’t want a fancy car, I don’t care for a fancy home and I’ve already owned a Rolex, don’t want another one. I want to be able to live in another country for a few months/years at a time without sweating the finances. I want to buy a lot of books that I care to re-read. I want to have money to spend on community college courses. I want money to spend on some outdoor or indoor activities. I want enough money that I don’t have to worry about needing to make an income because I’d rather spend my free time giving back. And I don’t mean that in a religious way. I want to help out those who need the help, the way I got help when I needed it. OK, what’s the dollar amount? … It’s tough to say. I’m gonna leave some room for error so I’ll say… $850,000. With this amount I doubt I would ever have to resort to a job. Stuck in a boring old savings account I could survive for 42 years off that money not counting social security and pensions. I would be 83 if I retired at 41. Realistically, without appeasing my paranoid self, I could get by on $500,000. Maybe on the lean months I would have to pick up an urgent care shift or go rebuild a 9″ rear end on a mustang. But for the most part that 1/2mill stash should generate decent passive income for me.

How much do you think you need?
Where do you stand in terms of walk-away money from your job?

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