Exactly how much money will you need to retire comfortably?
The majority of Americans think they will need less than $1 million, according to the Merrill Edge Report Fall 2016. But 19 percent have no idea how much they will need.
9 percent think they will need more than $2 million
14 percent believe they will need $1 million to $2 million
24 percent say $500,000 to $1 million
23 percent say $100,000 to $500,000
9 percent say $0 to $100,000
And 19 percent say they just don't know
Even with many Americans underestimating their "magic number," Merrill says, 40 percent of retirees said their estimates would be difficult to reach or are "virtually unattainable."
"In order to reach their retirement goals, nearly one in five (17 percent) respondents are relying on luck, saying they would need to win the lottery," according to the report.
The truth is, and many financial planners will tell you, there is no "magic number." How much you need to save for retirement will depend on how much you spend. Even someone who saves $2 million will run out of money in retirement if they overspend and don't adhere to a budget. And someone who has only $500,000 might live comfortably if they have a lifestyle that does not require much cash.
Rodney A. Brooks writes about retirement and personal finance for The Washington Post. Rodney has had a long and distinguished career in financial journalism. He previously worked at USA Today from 1985 until his recent retirement.
Special To The Washington Post · Rodney Brooks