Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



$1 Million Isn't Enough

You'd think that retiring with a million bucks to your name would be enough to last you all through a comfortable retirement. But there's a good chance that nest egg won't last as long as you'd hope.

In a recent survey, the folks at Scottrade found that a whopping 71% of investment advisors don't think that $1 million will be a big enough nest egg for most people's retirement. I agree completely.

Hello, worst-case scenario
Retirement isn't one-size-fits-all. Some folks will need more money in their golden years than others, depending on how they plan to spend their time and money, their local cost of living, and what (if any) other income they can expect.

According to Robert Brokamp in our Rule Your Retirement newsletter, you can greatly lessen your chances of running out of money if you withdraw only 4% of your nest egg each year in retirement, adjusting that amount for inflation as you go. A million-dollar retirement fund would thus give you $40,000 in your first year. That's not too shabby -- if you're retiring right this minute.

But if your retirement remains several decades distant, you'll need to remember that inflation will eat away at your purchasing power. At 3% inflation each year, in 30 years that $40,000 you withdraw will buy as much as a mere $16,000 does now. Ouch.

So how much would you need to retire at age 65 with the equivalent of today's $1 million? Check out this handy chart:

Current Age

You'll Need This at Retirement


$3.26 million


$2.81 million


$2.43 million


$2.09 million


$1.81 million


$1.56 million


$1.34 million


$1.16 million

If the size of any of those numbers just gave you a panic attack, take heart. If you start now, a few clear and powerful steps can help you salvage your retirement. Increasing your savings starting now, and/or working a few more years at the end of your career, can add hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a million more, to your nest egg.

Better yet, you can invest your current savings more effectively. If you don't have the time or energy for stock research, a broad-market index fund will likely serve you well, with long-term average returns of 10% a year. But if you'd like to dig deeper, the following types of investments could all make great components of a potent retirement portfolio.

Reliable payers
Dividend-paying stalwarts will grow steadily over time, paying you increasing sums no matter what the market is doing. Big-name companies offering yields of 3% or more recently included:


Recent Yield

5-Year Average Annual Dividend Growth Rate




Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  )



Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  )



Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT  )



Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  )



 Data: Motley Fool CAPS.

These companies tend to do well in all kinds of economic environments. Even in a recession, people will want their large fries, their Oreos, their Band-Aids, and their blood-pressure medications. These big blue chips also generally offer global exposure. McDonald's, for example, generated 72% of its sales outside the U.S. in fiscal 2009, while Johnson & Johnson derived 50% of sales abroad. These companies all command considerable confidence from our CAPS investing community; four of them earn four-star ratings, while Johnson & Johnson merits the maximum five.

Fast growers
The right growth companies can give your portfolio a powerful boost, especially for younger investors with enough time to accept their increased risks. Few people should invest exclusively in such companies, but taking more of a chance with a modest portion of your nest egg can pay off.

These companies with rapid recent growth rates might deserve a closer look:


3-Year Average Revenue Growth Rate

3-Year Average EPS Growth Rate

Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  )


36% (Nasdaq: AMZN  )



Teva Pharmaceutical



GameStop (NYSE: GME  )



 Data: Motley Fool CAPS.

You'll want to keep a close eye on growth companies; their prospects can change quickly, and they're often trading far from bargain levels. Intuitive Surgical has grown by an annual average of 50% over the past five years, but critics have begun to question whether surgeries aided by the company's robots are better or more effective than conventional ones. has gobs of fans, but some investors worry that the stock has gotten ahead of itself, with a P/E ratio topping 50. GameStop faces challenges from digital game distribution, but it could still enjoy years of profitable operations ahead. Teva occupies a compelling industry niche, making generic drugs as more and more blockbuster medicines' patents expire.

Position yourself well
If you feel like even $1 million won't be enough to keep you comfortable for the rest of your life, don't freak out. You might need a bigger nest egg than you first assumed, but odds are you can get there.

We'd love to help you get your financial house in order. Try our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service free for 30 days. You'll be able to access a variety of tools, tips, and experts, along with several model portfolios and recommended stocks and mutual funds. You have little to lose -- and a much bigger nest egg to gain.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, Intuitive Surgical, and McDonald's. Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write covered calls position on GameStop. Motley Fool Options has recommended a buy calls position on Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (17)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1187365, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 9:35:13 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 12 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,199.33 30.06 0.00%
S&P 500 2,139.43 -3.73 0.00%
NASD 5,250.27 -33.13 0.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 4:00 PM
AMZN $822.59 Down -12.59 +0.00% CAPS Rating: ****
BMY $49.29 Down -0.26 +0.00%
Bristol-Myers Squi… CAPS Rating: ****
GME $24.77 Up +0.02 +0.00%
GameStop CAPS Rating: **
ISRG $665.72 Down -13.78 +0.00%
Intuitive Surgical CAPS Rating: ****
JNJ $114.56 Up +0.60 +0.00%
Johnson and Johnso… CAPS Rating: ****
KRFT.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Kraft Foods CAPS Rating: *****
PFE $32.40 Up +0.12 +0.00%
Pfizer CAPS Rating: ****