Once your nest egg has reached your mental “magic number” — $500,000? $1 million? $5 million? – it’s tempting to start to fantasize about an early retirement. Before you do, you may want to test-drive MarketWatch’s “How Long Will My Money Last?” calculator.Shutterstock.com
Users plug in their current savings balance, their expectations for investment returns and inflation, and the number of years they hope to make the nest egg last. The calculator produces an estimate for the amount the user can safely withdraw each year. Does your number seem distressingly low? Well, join the club, and see MarketWatch’s Retirement Planner for advice about how to beef it up. Both tools are free.