By Loren Merkle – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Certified Financial Fiduciary
Paid Sponsorship by Merkle Retirement Planning

There was a time when having $1 million in retirement savings was the gold standard. If you achieved that magic mark, you were thought to be set for retirement. Today’s retirees are asking, is $1 million enough? I’ve even seen articles explaining how “$3 million is the new $1 million” for retirement savings. The reality is that a magic number alone won’t bring you security in retirement. It’s just not that simple.

No matter the amount, your retirement plan has to maximize the money you’ve worked so hard to save. Take a 60-year-old with a $300,000 portfolio. That may not sound like enough for retirement, but you have to consider the other sources of income available to you. For example, if you also have an employer pension, that $300,000 could last a lot longer than you might think, especially when you add in Social Security. A married couple can have up to 81 options when making this important election. If you can maximize the benefit, for some, that alone can add close to $1 million to your portfolio over the course of your lifetime. That’s another boost to any retirement income.

Now let’s think about a 60-year-old with a $3 million portfolio. If the bulk of that money is in a tax-deferred account, like a 401(k), he or she will be subject to a common wealth-eroding factor for retirees — taxes. This retiree’s taxes could make that income run out faster than anticipated in retirement. The $3 million doesn’t seem so magical when a big portion of it goes to the federal government because, in the end, it’s about what you get to keep and spend in retirement.

Everyone should not be shooting for the same magic number because everyone will be living the same lifestyle in retirement. In fact, when we sit down with families, the first conversation we have has nothing to do with numbers. We want to hear about their retirement goals, including where they want to go and what they want to do. It’s about their vision, not their accounts. That vision drives all the other decisions we make together about maximizing their resources.

If you’re worried about not quite reaching whatever your magic retirement number is, I hope you can gain confidence through the creation of a customized retirement plan instead. A successful retirement is more than a magic number. It’s several components working together in a strategic way to accomplish your lifelong goals and dreams.

Merkle Retirement Planning Logo

Merkle Retirement Planning is their purpose is to bring your retirement vision to life by creating lifelong relationships and retirement plans built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and a warm heart. Learn more at