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Liz Weston: Should you save less for retirement?

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“It’s not so much ‘I hate the job’ as ‘The thing that I do for a living takes a ton of my time and I don’t feel like it makes the world that much better off,’” Ethridge says.

Working at least part time in retirement can not only reduce the amount you need to save, but also gives structure and purpose, Ethridge says.

“Retiring at 30 with $2 million sounds great. It makes me sound like I’ve conquered the world,” Ethridge says. “But I have nothing to do and nothing to be holding on to.”

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MOST WILL GET TO RETIREMENT AGE, BUT SOME WON’T

Merz says that even while she was saving most of her income, she still enjoyed occasional splurges, such as trips to Australia and Ecuador and a $4,000 sewing machine for her quilting hobby.

Some super-savers, by contrast, are so focused on their futures that they neglect their present, says certified financial planner and physician Carolyn McClanahan of Jacksonville, Florida. As someone who has worked in hospital emergency rooms, McClanahan knows that the future isn’t guaranteed.

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“We see people that die way too soon, or get some serious illness that totally changes the trajectory of their lives,” McClanahan says.

McClanahan wants people to save enough to live comfortably after they retire, but also to start working on their bucket list of experiences long before they quit work. If they love to travel or spend time with their families, for example, she recommends that they not wait until retirement to start.

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