I’ve always been annoyed by the ‘retirement number:’ the idea that there’s some magic number that each individual needs to save up to have a good retirement. Retirement planning doesn’t work like that. You shouldn’t be aiming at some artificial target, you should be focused on meeting your long-term objectives.

Thankfully, this article lays out a lot of the problems with focusing on a specific target for your savings, but it doesn’t take that next step. It references how you need to spend less and save more, but it still leaves the focus on the number, and that this number just needs to be higher than you expect.

This is backwards. You need to start with what you want to accomplish, what you’ll need money for in retirement (like healthcare, legacy money, charitable giving, travel), and then figure out how to get there. Figuring out how much you want to save before retirement just means that you are leaving your retirement income up to chance. To put it mildly, you probably don’t want to do that.

Your retirement income is too important to be left up to chance. You want to give yourself the best chance to reach your goals and have the retirement that you deserve, but there are a lot of variables that you should be thinking about and might be forgetting. To discover the most important risks that you should be dealing with, read the 7 Risks of Retirement Planning.

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