For some people, the “magic number” is the amount needed to be debt free. For others, it’s the amount that want to save to retire early, leave their current job to pursue traveling, or to start their own full time business. For me, the Magic Number is the amount of money I would need to earn from my various side hustles to retire early.

I’m 29 right now. I’d like to retire by 50, 55 at the latest. My magic number doesn’t include my retirement savings or any combined savings with my husband. This amount is all on me.

My magic number is $3.5 million. Yes, million. Why? No, we don’t have a lavish lifestyle. I took some of our life goals into account when calculating this number. I break it down below.

Quick insight into how my husband and I conduct ourselves financially. When we first combined our finances, we used my paycheck to pay all the bills since it was the reliable one, and whenever my husband did get paid, we put the money into savings. So from the very beginning we learned to live on one income, because we had no other choice. Three years, new jobs, and increased salaries later, we still use my paycheck to pay all the bills, and his for increasing our savings, paying off debt, traveling, funding the retirement accounts, etc.

We do not have children at this time, so our expenses are fairly low. We’re also debt-free except for our house, and are followers of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.

Calculating my magic number:

Annual income: $46,000.00

Multiplied by 3 = $138,000.000

Why 3? 1: to replace my income; 2: to fund traveling; 3: should we have children, to help out with those expenses. Our financial roles would also reverse, with my husband’s paycheck paying all the bills, and mine going into savings, etc.

1988 + 55 years = 2043

2043 – 2017 = 26 years

26 years isn’t a long time and 2043 will be here before I know it!

So what does this mean? This means I have 26 years to save / earn $3.5 million. I laugh at myself when I see this, and unless we really went bare bones OR my crafting side hustle and YouTube channels took off, this is a fairly unreachable goal.

HOWEVER, since calculating this number, it’s really motivated me to do several things:

  1. Get all the stuff around my house written up to be listed on eBay and Amazon.
  2. Be very mindful about what I spend my side hustle money on. My side hustle account also doubled as my fun money, because my knitting is a self-sustaining hobby. I did come across a huge clearance sale on cotton yarn, so I bought it all. $166.42 for 157 balls of yarn which I will knit up into dishcloths and sell at a profit.
  3. Get to working on fiction manuscripts and nonfiction pieces for publication. I’m planning on submitting the fictional piece for traditional publication, while the nonfiction pieces I plan on selling on Amazon via CreateSpace.
  4. Knit up my yarn stash for craft show inventory, and only purchase yarn if on clearance (my normal MO with yarn anyways), see #2.

If you want to retire early, or have plans on saving X amount of money by a certain day. Make a plan, figure out how to do it. What’s your magic number and what will it mean for you when you reach it?”


Saving for Retirement

So ever since I started working, my beloved grandfather tried to instill in me the importance of putting part of my paycheck in my savings account. With all the scary talk that has been going on for the past couple of years (seems longer) on whether or not Social Security with be there for my generation, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take matters into my own hands.

I’m not trying to be political in anyway. This is just my opinion.

I was recently given Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover on audio book. A few things he had to say resonated with me, especially his formula for calculating how much you need to retire.

His advice was to multiply your nest egg by 8%, and the resulting number would be your annual cost of living allowance while retired. This is the most concrete ANYTHING anyone’s ever put out.

Here’s the formula written out:

Nest Egg x 8% = Cost of Living Allowance

So I had some fun doing the reverse math:

I guesstimated $40,000 a year for cost of living allowance. And plugged this into the formula:

Nest Egg x .08 = $40,000

Divide both sides by .08.

Nest Egg = $500,000.

So in conclusion, I’d have to put away $500,000 by the time I retire to retire comfortably. Maybe. This is a guesstimation. I have no doubt this number may change at some point and I’ll have to recalculate.

I do like this formula because anyone can use it and it’s simple math.

If some else finds this formula useful, thank Dave Ramsey.