Psychology and the Retirement Nest Egg

heart-moneyMost of us Baby Boomers have launched retirement calculators a thousand times. Almost every financial institution has one, and invariably, the ones we tend to go to offer the most optimistic outlooks on how much we can spend until the day we die.

The problem is that no one knows exactly when they’re going to die, or if they’re going to die for those of us who’ve opted for cryogenic sleep.

Nonetheless, there is still an annual charge for keeping a body on ice, perhaps for a thousand years or more, so there’s that.

So here’s the dirty rotten obnoxious and existential nightmare-provoking truth: You probably won’t outlive your money.

As I stated in my book, Urban Dystrophy, The Perverse Truths About Mid Life in the Big City, a starter portfolio is $5,000,000.

I know I know. How the hell are you supposed to save $5,000,000 on a $500,000 annual salary over the course of 25 or 30 years?

After taxes somewhere in the 39% range, you’re only taking home somewhere in the $300,000 range.

If you own a home that costs $1,000,000, you can expect to pay $25,000 in property taxes and after a 20% deposit, approximately $60,000/year on a mortgage.

Now add electricity and other related home expenses and you’re down to $200,000 — and you haven’t taken a vacation, bought a single meal or paid a single car note.

Back out those expenses and with luck you have approximately $150,000 left over.

If, however, you have 2 kids, you have basically nothing left over.

So, for the past 25 years you’ve made $12,500,000 and don’t have a dime left in the bank.

Even if you were frugal enough to contribute $75,000,000 a year to a retirement account [for 25 years], you would still only have $1,875,000 in contributions, plus investment interest at an average of around 5%, so $2,800,000 – $3,000,000.


If you retire at age 65, that’s not even close to enough for anyone I know.

The reason for this is because you want to live the same way you did before you retired, which means you’ll need a few million more to generate the income you need to avoid running out of money before your time is up.

For most men I know who give a crap about living well in retirement, the number is around $7,000,000.

At a 5% return, you’re still at 350k/year.

If, however, market crashes, feel free to put a bullet in your head because being broke isn’t worth the struggle for older people.


Most men my age validate themselves based upon their relative financial security.

And while every psychiatrist on the planet will call bullshit on this because it’s about as unhealthy a perspective as one might have given the vagaries of money.

But nothing is going to change it unless you plan to join a monastic congregation in Burma.

Money is kind of like a living thing that follows you around wherever you go.

When it doesn’t, you have a big fat fucking problem.

Walk into a car dealership, new prospective home…or hell, the Apple store, and see what happens when the money monster isn’t with you and smiling.

Then you know true meaning of nausea.

The reason you feel the hubris of filthy rich older men with the tans, snow white veneers and $3000 suits is because they’ve beaten the system.

They’ve overcome whatever life can throw at them, shy of a brain aneurysm, stroke or stage 3 cancer.

In other words, they can ride out the highs and low of the stock market, or pay marginal tax increases and still live their lives without making any changes whatsoever.

This is where you want to be, but unfortunately, probably won’t be.

The media is always talking about wealth; who has this or that.

Magazines feature $5,000,000 homes like they’re normal abodes for anyone who’s led a reasonably successful life.

But this is a lie.

The only way to afford a home like that is to inherit it or sell something.

Salaries don’t pay for homes in that price rage.

Investment capital does.

Psychologically, this is a massive hurdle for otherwise success older men facing retirement.

You look down the road at the rest of your life and you don’t see the picture you’ve been sold…and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

Many men lose their younger girlfriends and/or wives to cut backs in lifestyle.

The ones who don’t tend to be with women their own age who have little to no value on the dating market, who and just sty put.

On top of all this we have a government hell bent and determined to tax out of existence everyone in the middle to upper middle class – including the bottom end of the top 3%.

This is because there are more of them than there are people with $100,000,000 or more who don’t feel any tax increases whatsoever.

So now we have an oligarchy and you’re on the wrong side of it.


1] Figure out how much you absolutely, positively need to live the way you want to live and carve your expectations accordingly.

2] Accept that fact that as you near the end of your life, your retirement savings will be nearing the ends of it’s life.

3] Add 5 years to your anticipated lifeline and then hope and pray you don’t outlive it.

4] Find someone in your personal life who can handle stock market turbulence.

5] Don’t marry a gold-digger unless you’re in the $100,000,000 demographic.