Jean Chatzky
Have you run the numbers for your retirement? Most retirement calculators tend to throw an extremely high number back at you, indicating that you'll need a lot of money after you stop working.

New York Times reporter Damon Darlin contradicts that theory, saying it's possible we don't really need as much as the calculations are telling us we need. In his recent article, "A Contrarian View: Save Less and You Could Still Retire with Enough," Damon cites information he garnered from interviews with several prominent economists:
  • The investment companies that run the retirement calculators want us to save more because that means they make more money, Damon says. Often, they don't have our best interests in mind.
  • Most calculators don't include the money that you'll be getting from Social Security or your real estate holdings.
  • When you use the calculators, don't be afraid to question some of the assumptions they make, Damon says. It's nearly impossible for anyone to put a rule of thumb on retirement.
  • If you're going to run a calculator, why not run more than one? Damon suggests running three and seeing how they compare.
  • Don't write off the calculators altogether, Damon says. Finding your number is an important part of the planning process.