Trying to figure out the year one should retire feels like using a cruise ship pool to learn how to swim while the ship is sinking; too late to make a difference and we’ll get just as wet in the end. Still, I can’t help but feel I want to know everything I can before I get tossed in the water.
There are so many variables in picking a target retirement date that talking about it with others rarely yields anything other than the sinking feeling I’m doing it wrong. How soon did I start saving, how much, and at what level of portfolio aggression? Do I have a defined benefit package or a 401k? How much can I rely on for Social Security payouts? When am I eligible for Medicare and can I pay into my union’s insurance plan until I’m eligible? If my wife has a pension, do we include a survivor benefit or open up a term-life insurance policy instead?