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January 09, 2012


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I think the brain-teaser part of this question is that it’s really just another way of asking the holy-grail question that all readers of a blog like this are seeking to answer: How much is “Enough” (Really)…?

For instance, if you have, say $2M, then $500K would represent ~25% of your total stash, arguably enough to get your attention…

But if you have $10M, then $500K would represent "only" 5%, and is probably not enough to justify the ruining of a perfectly good year with a J.O.B.

So what this tease is really digging for is, where’s the tipping point, (the point where most people would cave and do the time)…

To answer that, I’m thinking that until you have something like $5M or $6M, a point where $500K would represent < 10%, most would begrudgingly surrender and agree to trade a year of work for the extra cushion...But for those above $5M, they would just keep the alarm clock in the trash can…..

So for all those ER’s who have less than $5M, just pray nobody offers you this deal…., and if they do, welcome to the little “trap” that all well paid execs who hate their jobs find themselves trying to transcend…., for which there is absolutely no sympathy…

P.S. Really great question, discussion (and title - which to me sounds worthy of a US News submission).

Much "Appreciated", Penta


I'm going to go with "No." Regardless of how much, "No." Because at some point you have to have the conviction that you've done your due diligence, and saved enough to retire early. Or you just continue to procrastinate endlessly out of fear and end up retiring at 65 just like everyone else.

And I can't even begin to entertain "Would I do it for $10 million?" because if I go there, even briefly, then suddenly my head does a 180 and what just yesterday seemed to be more than enough in the bank, suddenly becomes not enough by comparison.

We've hit our number, we've worked hard to create a lifestyle that can be sustained within that number, we know we can be happy living within it, we have exciting plans just waiting to be initiated, and we not be getting any younger here!

If the financial world goes to heck in a hand basket at some point (or again!), and people with robust savings like us are in trouble, then I doubt any amount of money is going to be a big enough cushion. So we might as well get out now while the getting, our health, and our investments, are all still good.


Good for you, Tamara! In athletics we call this "confidence through readiness".

Banjo Steve

The core of the discussion for me is what would I have to do? If I could go back to teaching for a half million for the year .......yeah, sure I'd do it. Or even if I "had" to do stand-in romantic scenes with some of my most favorite movie starlets ...... why sure! :)

While we have been frugal and sensible and fortunate enough to have enough for our retirement needs, it would be nice to have a big chunk of money to share with needy friends, relatives and good causes.

But I guess, in this unlikely scenario of yours, teaching would be the most logical part of the fantasy. It would be quite an adventure to actually be well-paid for my teaching (sigh!).


Banjo Steve - That's such an interesting perspective...As I wrote my own comment above, I just assumed without even thinking about it, that if someone would pay you $500K net for a year of work, then its going to be painful...At least that's always been my experience in corporate America...But if they would actually pay you $500K to do something you don't hate, (and maybe even enjoy, like teaching), then it really is just sort of a no-brainer, as Syd addressees in her premise about the "spirit of the discussion" )....

And by-the-way, it's not really that unlikely of a scenario for a lot of business people who have been on the corporate tread mill for 20 or 30 years....It's actually way more common of a dilimna than you might imagine. Is "just one more year of misery" worth an incrementally more comfortable retirement?


I think the more likely $500,000 scenario for most of us is the "more-of-the-same" version. Also known as the "just-one-more-year-of-misery" version.

$500,000, after taxes would come to perhaps $340,000. And 4% of $340,000. the withdrawal rate we are using in our plan, is somewhere around $13,600 more per year. Would $13,600 more a year make us tangibly more happy in retirement? In our case, it would not.

My husband is 56 and I noticed some age spots on his hands this morning. It just clearly reminded me that at some point our journey here will be over, and at that point the amount of money in our savings accounts will become immediately irrelevant.

fred doe

yes i would do it. and after that year i would peel my wife off half and tell her shop till you drop. i'd spend my half on alcohol,drugs,wild women and gambling and if there was any left i'd squander it:) but what i would have is two years of the money i have coming in each year saved. of course i'm kidding around. ( i detest gambling) i would be no worse off (save for the random std's and a little liver damage) and i'm not into appreciation. the boss could come in every day and hit me with a rolled up newspaper and call me a different expletive every morning. maybe the question should be? What would you do for a half a million?

Martin 'Enhanced Annuity' Chrimes

Good question and one which I am sure many of my clients would say yes to immediately. The reality in the UK though is the average Pension pot itself is £27,000 (approx $41,000), which you then buy an annuity with to provide your income. The only way people stand a chance these days is if they qualify for an enhanced annuity which might provide an increase of 50% on their income. Most rely on the state paying them approx $10,000 a year.

Tamara, your comment regarding the age spots made me think about my own wife and brought a tear to my eye!


Here in Australia, we usually call it "the 64,000 dollar question"...inflation perhaps..LOL

Many baby boomers nearing retirement or new retirees, have been hit hard with all the financial uncertainty. To transition into retirement today needs careful planning.

So, that question remains:"how much is really enough?"

Giana Forzareli

I was just reading statistics on annuities of the baby boomers. It said that 46% of this generation and older die with less than $10,000. Further education of this topic needs to be expressed to the elder community. No one should struggle for money at that age, they have more pressing issues to deal with than to be concerned how about their financial stability. There are also scams from structured settlement buyers that present a threat to the elder community, which is a horrible act of indecency. Thank you for expressing the importance of this topic. Keep up the great work!

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