Close
ThinkAdvisor

How Much Has Retirement Cost Since the 1950s?

X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

In an episode of the famed British TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” the irascible barrister Horace Rumpole tells two colleagues who are eager for him to retire that “Rumpole shall never sheath the sword! Never!”

These days, however, there seems to be ample desire for sword-sheathing at the earliest possible convenience: According to the latest Business Owners Outlook from Wilmington Trust, the number of larger business owners who plan to retire sooner than expected shot up by 110% since August 2020, as confidence about the economy has taken a dive since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the number of smaller business owners planning the same has doubled.

Will those business owners have enough money put away to retire comfortably? Joel Anderson writes for GoBankingRates that a popular way to calculate your retirement needs is to use Fidelity Investments’ “10x income rule,” which mandates putting aside 10 times your annual income in order to maintain a quality of life similar to the one you had while working.

But Anderson notes that annual incomes are very different today than they were 10 or 20 years ago— or especially 30 years ago. (In 1992, when that Rumpole episode aired, Horace’s “10x income rule” would have dictated he sock away $229,354.20 — if he was an American lawyer, of course.)

Using U.S. Social Security Administration data on average annual wages, GoBankingRates has provided a look at the price tag for retirement from 1951 through 2019. See our slideshow for highlights from that report (along with some carefully chosen cultural markers), and click here to read the full study.

More on this topic