Earning $20,000 Equals Half Million Dollar Nest Egg

March 22nd, 2009  |  Published in Retirement  |  4 Comments

With the recent stock market fall, a lot of near-retirees are seeing their nest eggs fall below their “Number,” the amount they need to retire comfortably. This has, rightfully so, a lot of near-retirees worried. What should a near-retiree do? Draw on Social Security early so that the retirement assets can recover? Pull out of the stock market and lick your wounds? Continue working?

Bingo. Option 3 appears to be the most viable and least damaging, but the scariest especially if you’ve been staring at a date on a calendar for the last year or two. Drawing on Social Security before your full retirement age reduces your benefit, so that’s a hit you want to avoid. Pulling out of the stock market locks in the losses, something that probably isn’t all that appealing. Working… well, if you’ve eyed retirement, another year of work probably isn’t your cup of tea.

The answer? Maybe something part-time if you’re tired of your current job. If you were to take a job for $20,000 a year, you effectively increase your nest egg by half a million dollars. The general rule is that you should draw 4% of your nest egg each year. At 4%, your nest egg’s appreciation will slow down the draw down long enough for you to fund the remainder of your retirement years. When you earn $20,000, that’s $20,000 you don’t need to draw from your fund. That $20,000 represents half a million dollars in your nest egg.

Now the difficult part is finding a $20,000 a year job in this economy.

  

Responses

  1. equalknight says:

    March 23rd, 2009 at 8:14 pm (#)

    How will working for a few years at $20K affect your Social Security benefits if say, $20K is 1/3 to 1/4 to 1/5 to 1/6 your normal career salary?

  2. retirehappy says:

    March 26th, 2009 at 10:41 am (#)

    I don’t know the actuarial tables for Social Security so I’m not entirely sure how the increased contributions will affect your benefits.

  3. Festival of Frugality - The “Hey I’m Hosting” Edition | I've Paid For This Twice Already... says:

    April 1st, 2009 at 12:12 am (#)

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  4. Tim says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 3:05 pm (#)

    This is an interesting point. Some argue that the demographics of the country do not support the projected ratio of unemployed baby boomers to young workers in 10 years.

    The crash in the value of assets (largely owned by this group of the population) essentially forces them to continue working for longer, thus offsetting some of the demographic inverted pyramid. This may have just been the mechanism that forces the wheels of the world to continue turning.