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A Million Dollars is a Million Dollars (Is a Million Dollars)

by J. Money on Friday, April 1, 2011

Welcome to Friday! We had a pretty intense week of crazy freakin’ stories here at Budgets Are Sexy, so today I refuse to get into anything deep ;)  In fact, let’s start out with a joke! (You can find more of them here too, btw, there were some pretty good ones)

A tour guide was showing a tourist around Washington, D. C. The guide pointed out the place where George Washington supposedly threw a dollar across the Potomac River. “That’s impossible,” said the tourist. “No one could throw a coin that far!” “You have to remember,” answered the guide. “A dollar went a lot farther in those days.”

Hahaha… omg that cracks me up. Reminds me of all those people who say $1 Million now won’t be worth $1 Million later. Of course it’s true, but it’s still a million freakin’ dollars! :)  It’s not like it gets LESS sexier in 20 years ya know?  Maybe 200 years, but not by the time we retire (at least in my opinion).  I swear I could live off it if you challenged me ;)  You’d have to wait a while for me to prove you wrong, but I’d still take you up on it! Haha…

Do you think you could live off $1 Mil by the time you retire? Do you think you’ll even HAVE $1 Mil by the time you retire? The odds are highly against you unfortunately, but luckily you’re reading this blog which automatically gives you a bump in probability;)  And even more so if you ever create that Millionaire To-Do List! Much better chances of hitting your goals if you set up a good game plan.  You don’t get rich fast, baby, you get rich slow!

Now get out there and have a good weekend. Don’t pick up any wooden nickels while you’re at it either… haha… not that I know exactly WHY that’s bad? My dad was always saying that back in the day ;)  I’d actually LOVE to see what a wooden nickel looks like!


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tom April 1, 2011 at 8:17 am

I definitely could not live off of $1M, especially in 2045 dollars. I hope to have $10M by the time I semi-retire.

If not, I plan to blow all my retirement savings on a nice car, a nice boat, a lot of nice trips and move in with my kids.

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2 Borrower April 1, 2011 at 8:32 am

Fabulous post and question! I absolutely could live off a million. Without any appreciation and considering 30 years in retirement, this would equate to ~$2777 a month in income. I plan on no mortgages then or debts of any kind. Making this a decent income. Even after saving for annual bills and negating investment returns. I wouldn’t be living high on the hog…but I don’t do that now.

My guess is that it depends on your expectations. That and health and/or health coverage.

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3 Nicole April 1, 2011 at 8:41 am

Save 1M, yes, live off it… probably could but wouldn’t want to!

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4 Cassie April 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

Absolutely! I plan to have a paid off home, vehicle and productive garden by then! That’s 3 big expenses largely covered before I even tap into that cash!

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5 Brandi April 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

I’m with you…a million dollars is A MILLION DOLLARS!

Pretty sure holding a cold million in your hands would be exciting no matter WHERE you are in life. :)

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6 TJ April 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

If I had a million bucks, I’m pretty sure I’d have a different job. :)

I actually bought a wooden nickel at Calico Ghost Town out in Yermo, CA. (Middle of nowhere!)

I think they charged me like 50 cents for it. Ripoff.

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7 Jon | Free Money Wisdom April 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

A million dollars will always be sexy, no matter how bad inflation gets! But, a million dollars is just the beginning. According to my fuzzy math, I’m sitting pretty at 60 years old with 3.5 million. To be honest, most everyone needs to set their sights on 2 million instead of one. Seeing at how bad our country’s debt is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Uncle Sam tapped into roth-ira’s someday :(

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8 J. Money April 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

@tom – Haha… I’m sure your kids will love that ;)
@Borrower – Oh yeah, forgot about health stuff… hmmm… might be harder if it’s bad, but if not, then like you said it could do the trick! I don’t need anything fancy lifestyle either, although I would like to leave a big chunk to my kids/grandkids/etc when the time comes. But we got a ways for me to keep on saving, it’s not like we’re all gonna stop ;)
@Nicole – Motivation to get more is def. good!
@Cassie – I like it! Esp the garden – I can’t keep a plant a live for the life of me :(
@Brandi – YUP! Esp if they’re all in $1 bills ;) Would be like Scrooge McDuck up in here! haha…
@TJ – Haha…. is it at cool looking? Do you still have it?
@Jon | Free Money Wisdom – Blasphemy! The gov’t is perfect they’ll never touch our money!!! ;) But yeah, $2 Mil would ofcourse be better – I just like it how people scoff at $1 million and say you’d need X million but then don’t do anything about it. Like it gives them an excuse to just not save/invest since $1 Mil wouldn’t help. It’s not worth the same way down the road but it’s still a crap load of money!

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9 retirebyforty April 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

1M saving is not enough to live on for 30 years. Inflation will make a huge impact and you’ll be eating rice and ramen noodle every day. I think we’ll have to keep income rolling with a few side hustles.

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10 Ashley @ Money Talks April 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

I could live off a million at retirement. I wouldn’t be crusin in an RV or playing golf all day but I could do it.

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11 kh April 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

If you could get a consistent 3% return on your $1 mil, after taxes, you’d be looking at under $2000 a month. I could live on that, but I’d have to be pretty frugal. Also there’s no wiggle room for health issues (which start to crop up as you get older).

Wooden nickles: The saying is “don’t take any wooden nickles” – wooden nickles were issued by some merchants in the 30s, during the Great Depression as a “token” – meant to be redeemed for a drink or an item. But people would sometimes try to slip them into a real payment for something, since they looked enough like a real nickle. Hence … be careful and don’t take any wooden nickles.

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12 engin33r April 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I hopefully plan on retiring in the next 30 years give or take. At that point a million would be worth about 425k in todays dollars… 4% of that is 17k per year… I don’t think i could live off 17k…

I guess 4 million is the new million for me ;)

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13 Chris April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

My, you’re in a wild & crazy mood today, huh? Even for you! Fun.

Yes, I’ll have it…no doubt, hopefully more, but $1m for sure. No I don’t think it’ll be enough. This is the one area of life where I still hold “enough is never enough” to be true :-) Approx 20 years to go, doing the best I can, confident. We’ll see!

Totally agree with you J, having a plan and paying regular attention to your finances is the best way to help your future. That’s my approach, and the one I use w/ my clients.

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14 Debbie Beardsley April 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for my Friday laugh! I thought the joke was good too! I’m pushing for 2-3 mil and I know it will get done and I’ll fun along the way!

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15 Sarah Smith April 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I definitely think $1M is a ton of money, today, but by the time we are retirement age, it won’t be much, and certainly wouldn’t be enough to life off of comfortably! Kind of related, have you seen or heard of the documentary Collapse? It’s kind of interesting, brings up a lot of good points regarding fiat currency & the future of the US dollar.

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16 Crystal April 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Yep, we could live off of $1 million.

Your other question was if we thought we’d have a million bucks. If we can get 5% returns or better over the next 25 years, then yes. Our 2 Roth IRA’s, 401(k), and Scottrade investments should be more than $1.5 million and we’ll hopefully have his teacher pension as well.

I made my millionaire to do list a while ago…I should see if we’ve been working on it…

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17 Jenna April 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I think I could live off a million dollars once I retire (but I don’t plan on actually ever “retiring”) but I would hope to have more saved up by then.

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18 Donna Freedman April 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

For a look at a wooden nickel, check this link to the Wooden Nickel Historical Museum:
http://www.wooden-nickel.net/pictures/
I doubt I’ll have a million in hand when I retire. But I will work as long as I can and add in the Social Security and small pension, and keep cooking lots of dry beans. I’ll be solvent, but sadly somewhat combustible.

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19 J. Money April 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

@retirebyforty – Oh yeah? Well I don’t believe you ;)
@Ashley @ Money Talks – mmmm…. road trips…
@kh – Hah! So I bet those would be worth something these days, eh? I really have to find me one… we got a Hobo Nickel from my Grandma the other week – now THAT is cool. And must have taken a looooot of time. (not our website btw, but it is funny that it’s Angel Fire! remember that? wow I’ve digressed…)
@engin33r – Remind me to ask you if you reached it in 30 years, okay? :)
@Chris – Hehe, had to get off all that deep deep talk lately! Liven it up abit, right? ;) Nice seeing ya here as always my friend.
@Debbie Beardsley – Glad you appreciated it as much as I did! Got some groans when I told some friends, haha…
@Sarah Smith – Hi friend!!! No, haven’t heard of it but if you say it’s good I’ll watch it :) Btw, we’re going out to the OC this month – you gonna be around (I forget where exactly you live, but if so give me a shout via email: j at budgetsaresexy dot com – woo!)
@Crystal – Haha yes, please check on that ;) Although you’re always great about it. And real cool to be collaborating with you now over at Love Drop! Thanks for joining!
@Jenna – For sure, I can never sit still enough to not be working on *something*. But hopefully you and I can do our thang by then and just not have to worry about the money aspect :)
@Donna Freedman – OOOooooOOOOoooo cool! will you take me there one day? It’s near USAA’s headquarters! Woo!

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20 Kim @ Say What?! April 2, 2011 at 6:31 am

I have no idea what the wooden nickel saying means; I’ve never heard it before. Care to enlighten?

As it stands, I could not presently live off a million dollars for my whole retirement if I were to retire today – mortgage, student loans. However, since those factors will be long-since paid off by the time I actually retire, I think that I could if the economic conditions were similar (which, of course, in 2055 they won’t be).

Just 40 more years to retirement….yup, I actually count.

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21 Diane April 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

No. I am close to that now and no way could I retire now and have the $ last. I aim to have $2M and a paid-off house before I can retire.

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22 WR April 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

Cool Topic

Having a millions dollars is quite different than having a million dollar net worth.

If you add up all your stuff and subtract all you owe that is the first part: Net Worth

If you then look at all the stuff you have accumulated you can weed out the biggest money drains. As prices go up (inflation) so do your property taxes and general upkeep, utilities, etc.

For instance, If you know you are going to travel in retirement, you can safely trade down to a smaller home that will give you less total cost of ownership.

Most importantly I think, if you choose to live frugally, you can save up some cash. The nice thing about having a little bit of money is that you can actually then save a lot more:

You can bulk buy and take advantage of volume discounts.

You can pay cash for a nice used car instead of feeling pressure to finance a new one.

You can be adequately insured against loss. In fact, once you get to a certain level of wealth, you could decide to self-insure. One small example of this is having larger deductibles on car insurance and paying a much cheaper premium. Of course you have to have that extra $1000 in the bank to cover a damage claim but if you do, it pays.

It is always about lifestyle choice and habits. If you develop strong financial habits now (investing 30% no matter what, for example) you will be wealthy in retirement. As you get older your needs will change. Instead of cars, tablets and shoes you’ll be buying more meds, birdseed and toys for your grandkids.

It is less about what a million dollars will buy but rather about the lifestyle a million dollars will support.

-WR

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23 sandy moss April 3, 2011 at 12:13 am

So, here’s the thing…
Where we are financially, in this country, pretty much dictates retirement as we think of it today will not exist by the time it’s our turn. The flip side of that is ok..you “work” your entire life til say 62 and then STOP… how much golf, how much travel, how much of any “retirement pleasures” can anyone really take? I’ll take the million but count me out of the retirement gig.

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24 Steve April 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

Have a million dollars in retirement funds. Don’t think it is enough!. At age 50 with 2 kids (6 and 3). I have a long way to go before I can retire and given the market, inflation and life expectancy, doubt that a million dollars will get me there.

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25 J. Money April 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

@Kim @ Say What?! – Haha… look at some of the comments above – they explain it for us ;) And man 40 years sounds long… whew. I hope it takes forever to get there!
@Diane – More power to ya! $2 Mill would def. be more ideal.
@WR – Man, that was one helluva good commment – jeez! If I were you I’d copy and paste that bad boy right into a blog post ;) Loved it. Esp that last line – “It is less about what a million dollars will buy but rather about the lifestyle a million dollars will support.” Thanks for sharing my friend.
@sandy moss – Oh yeah, no way I’ll stop workin’ on things… in fact, I don’t really “work” now anyways! haha… more like playing with my passions ;) although I would like to learn how to play golf one day….
@Steve – It’ll def. though ;)

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