How many years you’ll have to work until you can retire

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Save early and often! That’s the best advice if you want to retire comfortably. But what if you’re a little behind on your savings goals? You can still reach financial independence — if you make some changes.

Want to retire? Here’s how much longer you’ll need to work!

Read more: How much to save each month to have $1 million in retirement

The chart below from the blog Four Pillar Freedom shows how many years it’ll take for you to retire based on your current annual income and annual spending.

It assumes a 5% annual return on investments and a 4% withdrawal rate every year after retirement. It doesn’t take into account any other savings that you may already have in the bank.

On that note, when you’re planning for retirement, you’ll want to keep something in mind: The 4% rule. The 4% rule maintains that you can safely withdraw 4% of your retirement savings each year without running out of money.

“The whole point of this grid is to show that even small improvements in spending and income can make a MASSIVE difference in the number of years it takes to reach financial independence,” said Zach of Four Pillar Freedom.

This chart shows how long you have to work until you can retire

Here’s an example

Let’s consider someone who earns $50,000 a year after taxes. Maybe they spend around $45,000 per year, meaning they have $5,000 to invest. At this rate, the table shows it would take that person 51 years to retire. However, if they spent only $40,000 a year, it would take less than 37 years to reach financial independence.

For those who are getting a late start with their retirement savings, there’s still hope. Sticking with the $50,000 figure, if the person lives off half of their take-home pay ($25,000) and invests the other half, they can retire in less than 17 years.

What it means for you

“What I love about this grid is that if you’re at a point that you think you’ll never be able to retire, the numbers show clearly that a change in lifestyle today makes retirement possible at around a normal retirement age,” Clark said.


This chart is a great tool to get you thinking about how you can reach financial independence sooner by increasing your income and reducing your expenses. However, it’s not a retirement plan. For that, here are five steps to take right now to help you determine how much money you’ll need to retire.

Read more: 8 mistakes to avoid so you don’t go broke in retirement

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