How much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?

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How much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?

Some of our clients come to us to sell their business so they can reap the rewards of their hard work and use the proceeds of the sale to retire. As part of this we often get asked the question “how much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?”. We thought we would ask our friends at Opal Financial Management to give us their advice on this question.

How much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?

In this article Toby Carmichael-Jack from Opal Financial Management shares his advice.

As an independent financial adviser, one of the most common questions I encounter is: “How much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?” This is a crucial concern, especially for individuals selling a business. 

To calculate the lump sum needed for retirement, several factors come into play. These include but are not limited to the desired net income level, life expectancy, investment returns, inflation, and any existing savings or pensions. Let’s examine each factor and its impact on retirement planning.

Different individuals have varying lifestyle expectations during retirement. For our analysis, we will focus on three income levels: £50,000, £75,000, and £100,000 net per annum. These figures reflect a range of comfortable lifestyles, allowing retirees to maintain financial security and enjoy their golden years.

Life expectancy plays a vital role in determining the duration for which retirement funds must last. While it is challenging to predict an individual’s exact lifespan, general life expectancy tables can provide a useful starting point. Assuming an average life expectancy of 90 years, we will calculate the required lump sum for a 60-year-old, based on a 30-year retirement period.

Investment returns are a crucial aspect of retirement planning. While the market’s performance is unpredictable, historical data can provide a basis for estimation. Assuming a moderate growth rate of 5% net per year, we will explore the impact of investment returns on the required lump sum.

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time. To ensure that retirees can sustain their desired lifestyle, we will incorporate an assumed inflation rate of 2% per year (the Bank of England inflation target) into the required income. In periods of higher inflation, we would expect investment returns to be higher. In this example, the forecasts are based in an investment return of inflation plus 3%.

How much do I need as a lump sum to retire comfortably?

To determine the lump sum required, we have produced a cash flow forecast using the above assumptions and assuming that no funds are left at the age of 90. 

Now, let’s calculate the required lump sums for our desired net incomes assuming that the only savings or pensions that the individual has is a full state pension (currently £203.85 per week from the age of 67 in this instance).

A 60-year-old individual aiming for a net income of £50,000 per annum, including state pension, would require a lump sum of approximately £850,000.

Following the same approach, a retiree aiming for a net income of £75,000 per annum would need a lump sum of approximately £1,350,000.

Finally, for a net income of £100,000 per year, a retiree would require a lump sum of around £1,850,000.

Retirement planning is a complex and individualised process. The above calculations do not consider passing any wealth on to future generations tax efficiently or any one-off capital expenditure, such as paying off an outstanding mortgage balance.

It is essential to consult with a professional financial adviser who can tailor a cash flow plan to your unique circumstances, stress test this for various scenarios and continue to monitor the plan throughout your retirement. A personalised retirement plan will help to structure your assets tax efficiently, implement a personalised and risk managed investment strategy, and empower you to make the most appropriate financial decisions. 

Start planning early, make informed decisions, and take control of your financial future.

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