• Most people miss their goals
  • Save for how you want to live
  • The pandemic complicates the retirement question

Having a million dollars in your retirement savings account might get you 25 years of easy living.

Or not.

It depends on everything from where you live to your health insurance coverage, analysts say. And there’s no magic formula.

As of Sept. 23, finds the national average for a regular savings account is 0.09%. That gets you $9,000 in interest a year if you have a million bucks socked away in the bank, far below the poverty level even assuming Social Security support still exists when you decide to leave the workforce behind.

Not counting inflation, tech company SmartAsset, according to Yahoo! News, estimates a $1 million retirement account could last you about 24 years. U.S. workers can start drawing on Social Security at 67, though estimates show most people hang it up once they’re 64 years old.

At worst, that $1 million would get you into your early 90s. But a lot depends on where you live. In New York City, that $1 million would barely last 10 years, while in McAllen, Texas, you might see 100 before your funds run out.

DiNuzzo Wealth Management in Pennsylvania recommends taking only about 4% out of your retirement balance a year, which would get you $40,000 to live on, plus Social Security.

"Of course, we don't know what the future will hold," wealth advisor Mike DiNuzzo told Yahoo!

From AARP, the retiree organization, the retirement question “isn’t unsolvable” but it isn’t “a precise calculation” either. AARP figures you should shoot for 80% of your pre-retirement income, but even that has its factors.

“If you plan your retirement based on living to 80, your 81st birthday might not be as festive as you'd like,” it advised in September.

The Motley Fool noted that most people target the $1 million mark, but it’s more of a question of what you live on now than some mythical figure in the future. The most important factor, the report states, is to figure out the income you need to support the lifestyle you want in retirement. Is it $80,000 a year? Is it $40,000 a year?

To make issues more complex, the $1 million mark isn’t set in stone either. Last year, the target was closer to $1.7 million for an idealized nest egg. Speaking to CNBC in 2019, Nathan Voris at Schwab Retirement Plan Services said $1.7 million is “a pretty good number” but “the bulk of folks do not get there.”

Oh yeah. And then there’s the pandemic.

“Not only have older workers experienced some of the highest rates of job loss of any age band, but in previous recessions, it has also taken older unemployed workers a much longer time to become re-employed than younger ones,” Morningstar analyst Christine Benz wrote last month.

The pandemic has idled some segments of the U.S. workforce and hiring remains stubbornly low, leaving the option of retiring out of reach for some. The CARES Act — it provided payments to households of up to $1,200 per adult — let people take $100,000 out of retirement without the 10% penalty that would normally apply. But you’d still need to pay taxes on that.

Morningstar recommends managing your retirement plans in baby steps to make it easier. Start early, save often, diversify your plans, seek the advice of financial experts and try not to dip into retirement too early, are just some of the recommendations for retirement planning

“You'll need to revisit your retirement formula once or twice a year to make sure it's on track, and be prepared to make adjustments if it isn't,” AARP adds.

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Bank analyst wonders about the fate of the US dollar no matter who wins the November election. AFP / JOSEPH EID