Most people have dreams for retirement, which could range from traveling the country in an RV to spoiling grandkids. These plans cost money, though, and you'll want to make sure you have plenty of cash to do the things you've been looking forward to.

If you've decided that you need $50,000 in retirement income from your investment accounts in order to fund your preferred lifestyle as a retiree, here's what you would need to do in order to bring home that much money. 

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This is how big your nest egg would need to be to produce a $50,000 annual income

The exact amount you would need to have invested for retirement for your savings to produce $50,000 each year is going to be determined based on how much of your account balance you're willing to withdraw. You don't want to take too much money out, because you need to keep a hefty sum invested to continue earning returns.

Experts traditionally recommend withdrawing 4% of your account balance when you first retire. Then, each year, you can adjust the amount up so buying power keeps pace with inflation. If you want your accounts to provide $50,000 in annual income and you decide to take this approach -- which is called the 4% rule -- you would need $1.25 million in your investment accounts upon retirement. 

If your goal is to produce a different amount of income, such as $40,000 or $60,000, you can also estimate the amount you'd need if you followed the 4% rule. Just multiply your desired investment income by 25, and the resulting number will tell you how large your portfolio balance should be to provide the desired support. 

This is how much you'd have to save each month to get it

Saving $1.25 million can be a challenge, but whether you can hit that target is going to depend on how old you are when you retire, what your income is during your working life, and the returns you expect to earn on your investments.

If you anticipate a 10% average annual return, here's how much you would need to save on a monthly basis to end up with a $1.25 million nest egg by the time you reach the age of 67 (full retirement age for Social Security for many future retirees). 

If you start saving at... You must invest this much per month to end up with $1.25 million
25 $194
35 $518
45 $1,459

Starting young should put this objective well within reach. But even if you wait until late in life, if you can be aggressive in making large retirement account contributions, you can still end up with $50,000 in retirement income from your investment accounts.

Just remember to take advantage of any employer matching contributions to your 401(k), as well as tax credits for retirement savers, to make investing enough money easier.