"How Much Money

Is Enough?"

By Evelyn Preston, Money Lady

We Work. We Save.

We Run The Numbers

Past columns have cited advisors who suggest there comes a time to stop worrying and start spending. With advice from financial experts plus positive lifestyles, we should have “enough.”

Hmmm… Except my recent birthday reminds me of the real conundrum. Exactly when does this tidy scenario of comfortable retirement—without concerns about outliving our money—take place?

Exactly how much money is enough; that mythical amount seems so different for everyone? And just when we’re “this close” to actual dollar amounts to safely fund our aging selves, along comes inflation!

Back to the calculator

Financial planners consult charts of past returns and lowered (4%) withdrawal rates from investments. Insurance providers base payouts on mortality rates. Hope they heard we’re living longer! Google the proof at: Northwestern Mutual Lifespan Calculator.

Though time smooths out risk, always be aware that many initial premiums like long term health and planned annuity income can fall short—those predicted amounts may face adjustments. Read the small print in any contract—things change. 


Periodically check for:

…a consistent amount of income and liquid cash for daily living and emergencies from gardeners to groceries to evenings out.

…a satisfying growth of investments that keep on giving from a low-cost, not-all-eggs-in-one-basket portfolio.

…a back-of-the-envelope financial “snapshot” or a paid advisor’s more formal spreadsheet proving that you’re safe and solvent.

Seeing real numbers helps ease our fears…may tweak us to save more…or spend less. Along with decluttering our lives as we age, the new mantra of “less is more,” can serve us well. 

Stop and enjoy!

For most of us, it’s past time to take credit for having planned ahead, adequately funded retirement, taught children to live on their own, maintained our lifestyle.

Like Sophocles intimated long ago, knowledge is power. Realize how much we’ve learned and  understand about finances. Exchange anxiety for a pat on the back.

After all, Scoop/Active Over 50 readers are ageless seniors who invest in themselves to live a long, healthy, cost-effective life. Let every birthday be a happy one.

Words to live by also come from contemporaries.

David Brooks, the respected columnist and author, wrote that you can’t do better than investing in American capitalism.

“No matter the dire warnings, debt and inflation,” he says, “like Mark Twain’s mighty Mississippi, the American economy just keeps rolling along.”

Recently deceased Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s partner and everyone’s pundit, opined, “The world is full of foolish gamblers, and they will not do as well as patient investors.”

Ken Dychtwald, who graced Scoop’s pages this year, is worth a repeat. Older and wiser, he believes, isn’t just a platitude… “things like family, friends and exercise aren’t expensive.”

He has become more thoughtful, especially about finances… and says that “when we feel good about ourselves, we treat ourselves well.”

I’ll add… not to follow the crowd. All that “money stuff” should bear our personal stamp.

Finally, a worthy finish from the long-gone but well-remembered humorist, Will Rogers. “Do the best you can and don’t take life too serious.”


Evelyn (Evie) Preston is a financial columnist for A050 and worked as a financial advisor for over 25 years. Reach her at [email protected].