Retire with $3 million: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated June 4, 2024by Rachel Carey

If you're wondering whether retiring on $3 million is viable, this article will help you decide.

Summary

  • $3 million should be more than enough to fund your retirement, even if you choose to retire early.  

  • A number of factors are at play when determining how long $3 million will last, including your investment strategy and retirement lifestyle.

  • If you decide $3 million isn’t enough to retire on, there are a number of ways you can increase your savings.

  • If you want to manage your finances and get ready for retirement, a trusted financial advisor can help.

Can you retire on $3 million? 

Yes, if you’ve managed to gather $3 million to fund your retirement, this should be more than enough to see you through in most cases.  

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Many Americans believe they need over a million dollars in savings to retire comfortably. So if you have managed to save three times this,  you should be hugely proud of your efforts.

If, for instance, we look at 3 million dollars in a vacuum and ignore how it could grow via interest and investment, we can see that $3 million across 40 years equates to a generous $6,250 per month.  

While this is a substantial amount, to properly determine whether this money is enough for you, we recommend asking yourself the following questions: 

  • What will my retirement lifestyle and resultant monthly outgoings look like? – The more lavish a lifestyle you lead, the more money you’ll need as a retiree. Sit down with your existing data and calculate what you’ll likely spend each month when you retire. You’ll soon see whether the numbers match up. 

  • How many years do I plan for my retirement income to cover? – The sooner you retire, the more time you’ll need to cover with your savings. If you’re interested in early retirement, know it’s possible with $3 million – but also know you should prepare appropriately for how it might look. 

  • Can I guarantee myself a suitable ongoing income by correctly managing my money? – $3 million should be more than enough to give yourself a continual income until your death, especially if you organize your savings wisely and invest, for instance, in ​​an annuity with a lifetime income rider. 

Consulting with an experienced financial advisor can provide tailored advice to assess your retirement needs based on your situation. Match with a financial advisor below.

How long will $3 million last in retirement?  

This is a common question, even among those with millions set aside for retirement. The answer can depend on multiple factors:  

Factors that increase the length of time $3 million will last you as a retireeFactors that decrease the length of time $3 million will last you as a retiree
A solid wealth retention and investment strategy that will allow your $3 million to hold value, at minimum, over time An expensive, luxurious retirement lifestyle outside the norm, complete with high monthly expenses
Remaining resident in/relocating to a tax-friendly, ​​retiree-friendly state The potential impact of inflation/taxation/ world events on the cost of living at the time when you reach retirement age
Effective retirement planning, inclusive of a budget for healthcare and similar expenses Large, unaccounted-for medical expenses applicable to short or long-term care

How much income taxes will I pay if I retire with $3 million? 

Regardless of your retirement savings amount and how it’s distributed to you, you will likely be paying some tax as a retiree.  

Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and employer-backed 401(k)s are taxed at the federal level as ordinary income, as are short-term investment gains and pension and annuity distributions. Federal taxation is graduated across seven brackets, with higher rates attached to higher earnings. You’ll usually be taxed again on this income at the state level. This state rate might be graduated or flat. 

Conversely, Roth IRAs and 401(k)s are taxed when you deposit money, and withdrawals once you retire are tax-free. If you’re investing in and holding onto certain assets for the long term, you can swap regular taxation for often less steep long-term capital gains tax rates. 

Can I retire at 50 with $3 million? 

As mentioned above, $3 million can easily carry you through 40 years of retirement, making leaving the workforce at 50 a plausible option.  

Many dream of early retirement, but if you’re lucky enough to already have $3 million set aside for this phase of your life, you could do more than dream.  

If you’re considering this avenue, sitting down with a financial advisor, asking plenty of questions and going in-depth into the specifics of your finances and personal life is a wise decision. Together, you’ll determine how everything will likely look for you and whether retiring early is viable.  

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Can I retire at 40 with $3 million?

$3 million in retirement savings is a sizeable sum. With this amount of money in your pocket, you could afford to retire even earlier than planned.

$3 million could also be enough for you to retire even earlier, at 40 or even 30, depending on the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re after and the sorts of expenses you’ll face month to month.

Let’s look at some calculations. Say you want your $3 million to last until you reach the age of 80.  If you choose to retire at 40, your annual income – not factoring in income from other sources or taxes – would be $75,000. Alternatively, if you decide to say goodbye to the working world at age 30, you will receive $60,000 annually.

Whether or not this will be enough money for you depends on your chosen lifestyle, but with the median American household yearly income standing at $74,000 in 2022, you have a very good starting point.

What is the average retirement savings amount? 

When saving for retirement and considering the amount you plan to put toward your golden years, it’s common to wonder how much is enough to retire in the United States, what the average retirement savings amount is, and how you compare. 

The Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of ​​Consumer Finances is a helpful point of reference, letting us know that the average American household has retirement savings totaling $65,000. These savings encompass working adults of all generations, so figures get higher and higher when you look at the data by age group. That said, $3 million exceeds the mean or median amount.  

You're in an undeniably strong financial position if you have $3 million earmarked for retirement. 

How do I increase my retirement savings? 

With proper planning and management, $3 million is ideal for a relaxing, financially stable retirement. That said, if, for any reason, you do want to increase your retirement savings, here are some options you can consider: 

  • Considering higher-risk investments, which also come with potentially higher returns 

  • Cutting back non-essential expenses in other areas so that money can be redirected 

  • Speaking with a financial advisor to identify any areas for improvement 

The bottom line 

$3 million in retirement savings should more than adequately fund your existence and expenses as a retiree, allowing you a high degree of financial freedom and comfort in your later life. This large sum of money will insulate you until your passing. Especially if your finances are well organized and your savings can replenish and grow over time.  

Once you have enough fortune to be considered a millionaire, expert financial advice is imperative to protect yourself and your financial future. You’ve worked hard to gather this much money over the years. Continue working hard to retain and protect it. Answer our five-minute survey, and an advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs will be in touch. Get started here

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.

Looking to retire on $3 million?

A financial advisor can build a retirement plan tailored to you