A report released yesterday says that in spite of “conventional belief,” $1 million is not enough money to guarantee a secure retirement.

Citing longer life spans, inflation, and the uncertain future of Social Security, over 200 registered investment advisors say that the average American couple cannot make it through their retirement years with a measly million bucks in the bank. Over 71% of those same “financial experts” say that a couple from my generation, the Baby Boomers, (ages 43 to 64), should have two to three million dollars available before retirement.

Younger generations should save even more during their working years, according to the same “experts.”

They add that if you are lucky enough to be a senior citizen already, you can probably squeak by on as little as $500,000 to $1.5 million if you live an “average” lifestyle.

I don’t know what these people consider an average lifestyle, but once again I find myself below average, as I do in so many aspects of life.

Actually, I don’t know many people in my generation who have $1 million in savings and assets. Some may have before the stock market crashed and their pension funds went sour, but most of the people I hang out with are of more modest means. They’re working people who have enough problems just making ends meet, let alone saving several million dollars for retirement.

And these days, even if I could save up that kind of money, where would I put it to keep it safe? In the hands of these same financial experts? Aren’t those the clowns that played fast and easy with so many peoples’ retirement funds and blew them already? Maybe that’s why they are telling us we need to entrust even more money with them.

I’ve made a few bucks in my time, but I always figured that I can waste my money just as quickly as an investment counselor, and not have to pay him a commission to do so. I spent most of any money I ever had on fast cars, cheap women, and other big boy toys. The rest of it, I just pissed away. Today I’m a happy pauper, with some great memories that are worth more than money in the bank.

I have my own retirement plan. I want to bounce my last check, max out my last credit card, and have a fatal heart attack, all on the same afternoon. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll just hang around and be a burden to my kids for as long as I can.

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12 Comments on The Happy Pauper

  1. concerned in California says:


    Where do these geniuses get their information from? Obviously, they are out of touch with reality.

  2. Jim Palm says:

    Thanks Nick,
    Here we thought that we have been doing pretty good for the last ten years and enjoying life, now after reading this we find out that we are really at the bottom of the barrel and not living up to the standard that is expected of us. Guess today is going to be a JOB HUNTING day so we can start making that 1.5 million so we can re-retire in another 15 to 20 years.

  3. MichaelG says:

    30 years of retirement, spending $60K a year is $1.8 million. And even that is wrong, since at 5% per year inflation, that $60,000 will be $260,000 by the end of 30 years.

    So it really depends on your assumptions. How much inflation, and how much are you going to spend? And how long are you going to live?

  4. Tom in Ohio says:


    I’m now free from worry about our future…Healthcare passed!!
    And if I learn to speak Spanish I won’t need any of my own mnoney”hell” the government will support me. Money, I don’t need no stinking money…I reside in 21st century America. Did you hear that? I think our founding fathers just turned over in their graves…….

  5. by my figures and those of my investment advisor, a million dollar investment portfolio conservatively invested should make a 4-5% return. That would be $40-50,000 per year, I think that would work quite well for me since I have never made that much in my life and been pretty happy for most of it.

  6. I’m with Al – but, happily, we did make more than $40-$50,000 a year, but living in California took it all away anyway. Our financial wizard, thankfully, is a real wizard. She guided our 401K money and a few other little sumes through the worst of it all, and we ended up growing our funds bigger even as we withdrew for living expenses. Her greatest advice to us was “You’ve got enough for a comfortable retirement, but you gotta get out of California!”

  7. Bob Riewe says:

    If we were planning to stay in a 3 bedroom house, in a state with high Real Estate and Income taxes, I would be very concerned about making what we have set aside last through retirement. A lot of Boomers still in stix and bricks don’t have a clue what it will cost them to stay put.

    We are not yet Fulltimers, but the house is on the market and the motorhome is ready. We’ve been budgeting like crazy to plan what can be done and I am comfortable that the lower cost of living (going to fulltime) should allow us to do what we want.

    Our numbers have been doublechecked and (home sale or not) we will be fulltiming late this year.

    We will be seeing you on the road.

  8. Barbara says:

    I am spending my kids inheritance and loving every minute of it. If I run out of money hey someone will look after me, but why worry about it now just have fun. I will deal with it when the time comes.

  9. LR says:

    Guess you get to be a financial expert by pissing away OTHER people’s money.

    I’ve already figured out about what my DH & I will have for income once we’re fully retired…it won’t be enough to have supplemental insurance to go with Medicare(if it still exists then) and still eat & stay warm in the winter. My plan B for when the money runs out it to commit a few petty crimes & get sent to jail. There I’ll have shelter, food & free medical care. I like to read and they always have a few books around. The local Sheriff doesn’t want to hear about plans like that, but his wife says to start small so I go to county jail so she’ll have her matron job. LOL

    Who knows, we may see prisons full of old people with the same plan and be in good company.

  10. Connie Braidh says:

    Who needs financial advisors? If they know so much, they would be wealthy and not working!!!!!!!!! You shouldn’t need some one else to manage your money unless you are putting money into a mutual fund and you let the fund managers manage the fund.
    No one knows how much money you need each month except you. Each of us needs different amounts of money depending on our personal lifestyle.
    No one can really tell you how much you need in the bank (invested) because none of us knows really what the future costs for our lifestyle will be or how long we will live. It’s all a guessing game. When is the money you have enough money to live on?
    We have discovered that being retired costs us about what we were living on before we retired. Notice I said living on not what we made. The only difference is that we are no longer saving money. Inflation has been about 3% a year during the last 14 years we have been retired. Peter was 55 and I was 49 when we retired.
    What we have discovered is our wants and needs are actually less now that we are older. So we are happily continuing on each year very nicely off financially, thank you.
    All these “financial experts” don’t know beans about us real (regular) people. They don’t know how we live, what amounts of money we live on or how we conduct our lives. Remember they are from Wall Street or Washington, DC. These places are not the real world nor are their lifestyles or money needs in any way similar to the real people of the world (us).

  11. Dale says:

    I believe that the majority of us “full timers” or “extended RVers” are not from the same mold as those in sticks and bricks.

    The advice is geared to those who live in a “standard” life style – in a house or apt. as they always have with the same or similar life style standards as when they were working.

    For those of us who have chosen this lifestyle, we have already decided that we want something different. We have all taken into consideration cost factors and quality of life issues.

    What these advisers suggest, therefore, is not something that need concern us. Our concerns should be as they have always been: to live a quality life the way we choose to do so.

    To all I wish continued success.

  12. George Stoltz says:

    Keep in mind that some of these financial wizzards are cut from the same cloth as the folks who brought us the mortgage crisis that nearly toppled our economy and has left us with an on-going financial disaster.

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