How Much Retirement Savings Do You Really Need?

Dear Dave,

Ive heard you tell people that having $90,000 to $100,000 saved up for retirement isnt enough. Thats what Ive got set aside right now, and Im pretty sure its all Ill ever need. Why do you think everyone should have a million or two saved up?


Dear Tom,

The amount youre talking about isnt enough to retire on with any kind of dignity. If you make 10% off your money over time it means youre living on just $10,000 a year. Thats below the poverty level.

Dont misunderstand my message. Im not about being greedy, and money is not the key to happiness. Money is good for three things personal security, helping others, and its good for fun. You need to do some of all three.

What I am about is changing my family tree. With money we can create and leave behind the training and resources to make a huge positive difference in the world. I want good people to have big piles of money in order to do good things.

This is true of my own family, too. I dont want to leave my kids in a situation where they have lots of money and no sense of responsibility. I want to train them to be responsible and generous so they can really bust loose with that big pile of cash theyll inherit one day. I want them to be able to have an impact three generations down the line in our own family and to impact the world around them in a fabulous way!


Dear Dave,

I went through a divorce about six years ago. Recently, I re-married and when we went to apply for a home loan my TransUnion credit report said that I was deceased. What should I do to let these people know Im not dead?


Dear Stacy,

This is too much! But I think we can revive you.

Write a letter to TransUnion certified mail, return receipt requested advising them that according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act youre challenging the accuracy of the credit bureau report listing you as deceased.

Theyre usually pretty good about clearing these kinds of things up. But the reason for sending a certified letter is there will be proof of the letter being delivered. At that point, the fuse is lit and by law theyve got 30 days to fix the problem!


Dear Dave,

My husband has a 1980 Camaro thats a real source of friction between us. He bought the car for $2,400. It needs $3,500 in repairs. Our household income is $29,000 a year, and this car is taking money away from our ability to save and pay off $39,000 in debt. We already have two decent cars, so what should I do?


Dear Katherine,

This isnt a matter of having a car that runs. Its a matter of someone having a maturity problem. Guys like shiny toys, especially cars. But these kinds of things are luxuries, and they should wait until the household and finances are in order. The family should always come first!

Im not saying he has to sell the car today, but dumping money into it while you guys are struggling doesnt make sense. Sit down with the guy, explain how you feel and what this is doing to your finances and your marriage.

And you might even give him a little incentive. Let him know that once your debt is gone, and youve got some savings in place, hell have the money to get that Camaro up and running in no time!


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