In the years leading up to my decision to retire, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how much money is enough to retire on. "More" is always better, but all I really needed was "enough."
As our nest egg grew, I frequently asked myself, "with this amount of money, what would I be required to give up in order to retire, and could I live with that?" When the answer was finally, "Yes, I could live with that," that's when I decided we had enough.
Working more years and having more saved would not have changed that equation. As we earn more, we spend more, which would just mean more possible things to have to give up in retirement.
Clearly, though, there is such a thing as too much money.
Last night I saw Tom Perkins interviewed on 60 Minutes. Now there's a guy with too much money. He built an 88 meter yacht; Leslie Stahl asked him how much it cost to build. She speculated that it was between $150 million and $300 million. He was too embarrassed to say exactly, but indicated that it wasn't quite as high as $300 million. I guess he thought we viewers would think it gross if he told us the actual amount. Guess what, I think it's gross anyway.
Yesterday in the New York Times, I saw this article about the rich being less rich now, and how they are worried about how this will affect their marriages. One guy whose net worth has dropped from $20 million to $8 million is worried that his wife will leave him if she finds out. He's hiding the reality from her by paying for stuff with debt.
Apparently, this fall from fortune could also jeopardize their friendships, and their kids might not get invited to the right birthday parties. They don't mind raising funds by selling their $2 million diamonds, because their friends probably won't notice. But they would not risk selling the Bentley or the artwork because their friends would notice that.
I would never have been in danger of having to give up a yacht to retire, nor do I have the type of spouse or friends that would ditch me as my net worth drops. I wonder though, is there some amount of money that makes people lose all sense of what is important in life? I'll never know; all I need is enough.
The New Yorker deserves what he gets for marrying a woman like that. If I was actually worried about my wife leaving me because my networth fell...I would be leaving her.
Concerning the mega rich spending too much, I read that Larry Ellison's (founder of Oracle) accountant wrote him a letter telling him to slow his spending down or he might have to sell a big chunk of his Oracle stock. This guy is worth $15 billion. Even if he only made 1% in dividends a year he would have $150 million to spend.
Posted by: Chad | June 04, 2008 at 03:46 AM
This might not have anything to do with having enough money for retirement, but boy does it hurt when a lot of money has to be spent that's not expected. I forgot to have my car inspected and now have a big ticket to pay. For my lesson learned, I am trying to come up with a timely reminder system so I won't overlook it again next year. I have spread myself pretty thin now that I am retired and need to get organized!
Posted by: Betty | June 04, 2008 at 09:35 AM
Thought of you when I saw this post at Get Rich Slowly: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/06/04/daily-links-crying-librarians-edition/
Public libraries, along with thrift stores, are one of the things that just make me say "America-Land of Opportunity!"
Posted by: Judy | June 05, 2008 at 06:02 PM
Judy: That's a hilarious link! Imagine a place where you could rent books, what a concept! (I prefer the free rental, thank you very much.)
As a side note, we just went to see the Sex and the City movie, which showed Carrie with a library book and conveyed her love of the library--I said "just like me!" The library might just get an influx of new patrons as a result of this movie!
Posted by: Retired Syd | June 05, 2008 at 06:20 PM
Chad: I agree! Why would you want to stay in a marriage like that! (Probably she's 30 years younger than he is!)
Posted by: Retired Syd | June 05, 2008 at 06:25 PM
I am with you all the way on what I need for retirement. Have only been retired a few months now, and I feel I am needing much less than I originally thought I would.
I would like to invite you to participate as one of six taggees in a tag game regarding your six unspectacular quirks. If you are interested, check out the rules on my site.
Posted by: Patricia R | June 06, 2008 at 09:11 AM
My newly retired friends and relatives tell me that retirement is a bigger transition than they expected. Wives don’t necessarily enjoy having husbands around under foot all day. Husbands may miss not having important tasks to do (at least more important than taking out the garbage).
Posted by: garage equipment | May 28, 2011 at 02:49 AM
"Enough" is a wonderful word - Charles Dickens
Posted by: MrFireStation | November 18, 2015 at 12:23 PM