What day will you quit?

Meaning, if you had X dollars in the bank, you could stop working. For good.

Think about it for a minute.

Some will say one million dollars. Another person might say five hundred thousand. While a third person will aim for ten million dollars.

So, how does a person know what amount is right for them? The first step is determining how much you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement.

Let’s say in ten years your kids will be out of the house. And as you run through all your expected expenses, you figure you’ll need $10,000 per month of passive income to maintain a nice life for you in retirement.

Working backwards, if you had $1 million in the bank earning you, on average, 5% interest, that would give you $50,000 per year in passive income.

Not bad, but that’s still less than half of what you need to maintain your lifestyle.

To get to the $10,000 per month number just on your interest, you’d need approximately $2.5 million in the bank.

Again, that’s $2.5 million in the bank.

If you need more or less than $10,000 per month – you can adjust your numbers from there.

Remember, this is if you are getting 5% return on your money. When dealing with retirement numbers, I prefer to be realistic and use a conservative 5% return as opposed to a 10-20% return.

After doing the calculation above, will you need more money in the bank to fund your lifestyle in retirement?

Well, your reading the right article as we will be discussing ways to do just that.

And it won’t be about hitting the lottery.

Or inheriting a windfall from your rich uncle.

You also don’t have to possess any unusual skill.

And anyone can do it, but many will not… and therein lies the problem.

Let’s start by doing a little math.

Let’s assume you make $60,000 per year after taxes. That works out to $5,000 per month of spendable income.

Let’s determine how long it takes to save your way to financial independence, applying a 5% investment return and 3% spend rate for your retirement income to support your living expenses.

Let’s say you saved a whopping 60% of your income or $3,000 per month. That means you would live on the remainder, or $2,000 a month. At a 5% return, you would have $805,000 at the end of 15 years. And guess what? You could quit your job that day, as you would be financially independent!

Here’s why. With $805,000 saved and a spend rate of 3%, you would have $2,000 each month to live on. This would be equal to the same $2,000 a month you had been living on for the past 15 years.

Now, some of you may be saying “Save sixty percent of my income! There’s no way!”

I agree that saving 60% of your income is a high bar. But it can be done. There are hundreds of stories about people who made far less than $60,000 each year, that saved their way to financial independence by just being frugal. People do it every day.

With that said, the reality is very few people will ever succeed with this approach. It takes a lot of self-discipline to survive on just 40% of your monthly income.

Does that mean you can discount this idea? No.

I provided the example above to get you thinking about financial independence math. And as they say, “the math is the math.” Regardless of the numbers you use, this is how financial independence works.

So, if saving 60% of your income seems extreme right now, here are some ideas to think about:

- You could move your quit day out further. Instead of 15 years, just plug in a different timeframe, say 20 or 30 years. This, of course, means that you would become financially independent much later in life.
- You could save more than you are currently. If you can’t save sixty percent of your income, what amount over your current savings can you save? In most households, there’s room to cut expenses. Do you need cable in every room? Can you get by with a less expensive car? You’d be surprised at how much little expenses add up over time.
- You could increase your income. I realize this is easier said than done, but it can be done. Here’s a thought provoking question – Is there someone at your company making more money than you do? Jim Rohn used to say,
*“It’s not that the company won’t pay more, it’s that they won’t pay you more.”*Rohn’s lesson was this – if the company pays someone else more, then get busy gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to increase your value to the company, so that you can earn more. - You can increase the return on your investments. Investment return has only a little effect when the time period is short. However, investment return has a huge compounded effect when the time period is long. Can you learn to invest your money better by studying, reading and researching? That’s exactly what I did, by studying the investment principles of the investing greats like Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch. Let me share a personal secret with you – over the years, my investment returns increased in almost direct proportion to the amount of time I spent increasing my knowledge and skills about investing.

Regardless of what adjustments you make to the numbers above, know this – the critical factor to success with money is how much you save from of your earnings and what you do with that savings.

Here’s a quick fact to consider – every 10% increase in your spending adds a little more than 3+ years to the process because it not only decreases how much you save but it increases the threshold of spending your assets must overcome as well. It cuts both ways.

It’s all a question of what you want.

You must design a path to financial freedom and adjust the numbers above, to reflect what you will demand out of life. One size does not fit all, but the math is the math.

Getting your numbers right is the first step to financial freedom and which all subsequent decisions and actions are built. How fast you want to achieve your wealth goals through savings is a matter of choice and a statement of your personal values and priorities.

Financial freedom is achievable. Will you achieve it? Will you demand it of yourself so that you’ll do what it takes to get there?

To your freedom,