The 'Magic Number' Needed to Retire Comfortably Is More Than You Think

The dream of retiring comfortably has become more expensive than ever for most Americans, study shows.

An older couple smile as they stand on the beach and share a blanket while drinking coffee, their beach house in the background.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The idea of a comfortable retirement just got a lot more expensive, and for some, it may be entirely out of reach. Most retired Americans believe they will need nearly $1.5 million in the bank to retire comfortably, according  to a new study.

The majority of retirees surveyed believe that they will need $1.46 million in the bank to retire comfortably, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2024 Planning & Progress Study. That’s a 15% increase — which far outpaces the 3% to 5% inflation rate — over last year and is up 53% from 2020. 

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Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.