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Is $2.5 Million Enough to Retire at 50?


Determining if $2.5 million is enough to retire at 50 depends on a person’s unique situation, financial goals and life expectancy. Other factors like healthcare costs, inflation, market downturns and estate planning needs will also factor into the equation. Below, we’ll examine these factors and provide guidance on how to develop a strategy that maximizes retirement income and financial security for a person retiring at age 50 with $2.5 million. Consulting a financial advisor for a personalized plan can also be a significant benefit in this process.

Retirement Income From $2.5 Million

A nest egg of $2.5 million might seem like more than enough for retirement but how far that money goes will largely depend on your expenses and spending habits once you stop working. As you estimate how much income you’ll need your portfolio to generate each year, don’t forget to factor in your Social Security benefits and any other income sources, including pensions and part-time work. 

So how much can you afford to withdraw each year? That will depend on your underlying investments, the returns they generate and how long you anticipate living. 

Following the 4% rule, a person with $2.5 million in a balanced portfolio could expect to withdraw $100,000 in their first year of retirement and then adjust their withdrawals in subsequent years by the rate of inflation. This common rule of thumb is based on historical data that suggests a retiree can safely withdraw 4% annually – adjusted for inflation – from their portfolio for at least 30 years without significant risk of running out of money. 

However, alternative withdrawal strategies may provide more flexibility and potentially higher income. Keep in mind that the 4% rule assumes your spending habits will remain relatively static throughout retirement, which may not be the case for you. A financial advisor can help you evaluate different withdrawal strategies and their potential impact on retirement income.

Potential Impact of Healthcare Costs

Medical and long-term care has the potential to be significant expenses as you age. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a couple enrolled in a Medigap plan with average premiums will need $318,000 in order to have a 90% chance of covering their medical expenditures in retirement. Such costs can have a significant impact on your retirement income, especially if you do not have long-term care insurance or other healthcare funding options. 

Long-term care insurance is one option to help cover healthcare costs. This type of insurance typically covers services that Medicare may not cover, such as nursing home care, home healthcare and assisted living. However, long-term care insurance can be costly and not everyone may be accepted for coverage.

Potential Impact of Inflation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the annual average inflation rate in the U.S. between 2000 and 2020 was approximately 2.07%. But inflation has run significantly higher in recent years and is something you should account for in your retirement plan. 

To protect your retirement income from inflation, consider implementing strategies such as investing in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) or real estate investment trusts (REITs). These investments can help hedge against inflation and ensure that your purchasing power remains stable over time. 

Potential Impact of Market Downturns

is 2.5 million enough to retire at 50

Market downturns can decrease returns and lower confidence in future investments, potentially affecting your retirement income. To mitigate risk, diversify your investments across various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities. Examples of low-risk investment options in each asset class mentioned include: 

  • Stocks: Established companies with dividend-paying stocks or blue-chip stocks.
  • Bonds: U.S. government bonds and high-quality corporate bonds with lower risk ratings.
  • Real estate: Real estate investment trusts (REITs) or diversified property holdings.
  • Commodities: Low-cost, index-based ETFs or physically backed funds.

Diversification does not guarantee a reduced impact of market downturns, but it provides risk-reducing potential by spreading investments across assets with differing risks and return profiles. Additionally, diversification within each class can help reduce the impact of market downturns on your portfolio and retirement income.

Potential Impact of Longevity

Longevity risk, or the possibility of outliving your savings, is a crucial factor to consider when determining if $2.5 million is sufficient for retirement. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the number of Americans aged 65 and older will nearly double in the decades ahead, going from 49 million in 2016 to 95 million by 2060. 

Financial strategies to account for increased life expectancy may include investing in annuities, which are insurance products that convert savings into lifetime income. Examples of different types of annuities include fixed annuities, variable annuities and indexed annuities, each with their own pros and cons. Annuities can provide a steady income stream that lasts as long as you live, thus helping ensure that you have enough income to sustain you throughout your retirement, even if you live longer than expected.

Factor in Estate Planning

When deciding if $2.5 million is enough to retire at 50, consider your goals for inheritance, legacy and charitable giving. If these are important to you, you may consider setting up a trust, creating a will, purchasing life insurance or establishing a donor-advised fund. Working with professionals, such as estate planning attorneys and financial advisors, can help you develop a comprehensive plan that meets your financial, philanthropic and legacy goals. Seek professional advice to create an estate plan that aligns with your retirement objectives.

Other Considerations

A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that the average effective federal tax rate for middle-income households in 2019 was 12.3%. In addition, the cost of living varies greatly from state to state. For example, a $2.5 million retirement fund may last longer in Topeka, Kansas, where the cost of living is nearly 15% lower than the national average, than in Honolulu,  where the cost of living is nearly double the national average.  Furthermore, changes to Social Security benefits can also potentially affect retirement fund sufficiency. These factors should be taken into account when considering whether $2.5 million is enough for retirement.

Bottom Line

is 2.5 million enough to retire at 50

Ultimately, determining whether $2.5 million is enough to retire at 50 depends on your personal financial situation and goals. Start by considering all the factors discussed above and remember that consultation with a financial advisor can help you create a tailored retirement plan that accounts for factors such as healthcare costs, inflation, market downturns and estate planning goals.

Retirement Planning Tips

  • Retirement planning can be complicated and confusing. A financial advisor can help walk you through the process so you can retire with confidence. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Figuring out how much you need to save to support your desired lifestyle in retirement is crucial. SmartAsset’s retirement calculator can help can provide an estimate of how much you’ll need based on your projected spending, when you plan to retire and where you live. 

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