Book: Brooks asks is $1M enough for retirement?

USA TODAY retirement columnist Rodney Brooks has a new e-book on retirement.

Is $1 million enough money to live comfortably in retirement? How much do you need?

USA TODAY retirement columnist Rodney Brooks answers these questions and shares some of his best columns in his new e-book, Is One Million Dollars Enough? A guide to planning for and living through a successful retirement.

The topics range from what to do if you haven’t saved enough for retirement to how to cope if you retired earlier than you expected to living through a retirement disaster. The book is available at major online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Play and Kobo.

Brooks writes in the introduction to the book: “Remember the good old days when you worked 30 years on the same job and retired with a gold watch and a pension? Your company took care of your health care in retirement. You paid off your mortgage and lived happily ever after.

“Well, as I’ve said many times in my retirement column, this is not your parents’ retirement. Those days are long gone. Today, more than ever, you are responsible for your retirement. Most people are not prepared.

“The biggest issue for many Americans is they aren’t ready, either emotionally or financially,” Brooks says. “Think about it: What you have saved when you leave that job must last you for the rest of your life. Complicating things even more is that we’re living longer. Today, your retirement can last as long as your working life. It’s not unusual for people to live 30 years in retirement. If you want your retirement to be the same lifestyle as your working life, you must save and plan.”.

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You should not enter retirement without a plan, not just a financial plan but a life plan, Brooks says. “That means you should think about what you will do long before you stop working. … The best advice from all the columns is get help and communicate. Ask questions. Find a financial adviser you trust and work out a plan. Talk with your spouse about what you will do in retirement. That’s critical to any successful retirement plan.

“And save,” he says. “Even if you start saving at 50, it’s not too late. That doesn’t mean you will enjoy the same lifestyle you are enjoying while working, but at least you will have a plan.”.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter: Why even $1M may not be enough for retirement:.

You’ve been saving like a miser to get ready for retirement. You’ve pinched pennies, kept that last car for what seems like an eternity. And now you’ve banked a cool $1 million for your retirement years.

Think you’re set? Well, you very well might be. Then again, you still might be short. ….

“Thirty years ago, $1 million was a huge amount of money,” says Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, Calif. “Today, given today’s lifestyles and costs, it isn’t so much money.”.

Why not? “It translates to $40,000 to $50,000 (annually) in sustainable revenue,” says Joe Heider, regional managing principal for Rehmann Financial Group in Westlake, Ohio. “That is not that much money on an annual basis.”.

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Dan Cuprill, president of Matson & Cuprill in Cincinnati, says if someone comes to him with $1 million for retirement, he can make it work. “I think $1 million for most people is still adequate,” he says. “There are parts of the country where it’s more expensive. But $1 million is adequate for most people.”.

Cuprill says there are some exceptions, such as when people retire with big mortgages. “That’s just poor planning.”.

Still, $1 million is a good starting point. “At the end of the day, if you want to have a quality retirement, to do what you want to do, I think you need at least $1 million,” says Michael Wall, president and founder of Wall Financial Group in Altoona, Pa., And Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

“A lot of my clients are 50-plus,” he says. “They are still from a world where they have a small pension. Some have real estate. Then there’s Social Security. A lot of clients are in a place where they have lived below their means. They can live on a million.

“Not everyone will have $1 million,” he says. “They will not have the ability to have as many choices, to do and go and buy and travel. I definitely would suggest that clients shoot to have at least that much. You are talking about 30 or 40 years of unemployment, called retirement.”.

The book is available at major online bookstores, includingAmazon, Barnes & Noble,iBooks, Google Play and Kobo.