How to retire at 45

1 min readLast updated June 6, 2024by Unbiased team

We delve into how to retire at 45, looking at how much money you need, what the average retirement savings are, and how to prepare for early retirement.

Summary 

  • Retiring at 45 is possible, although many Americans would need help to do so. 

  • Saving $2 million offers an approximate  $4,166.67 monthly/$50,000 yearly retirement income, not taking tax or other interest into account.  

  • To retire at 45, you need to re-think your lifestyle, boost your income, save aggressively, and manage tax liabilities. 

  • A financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan that will allow you to make your dream of an early retirement a reality.  

Can I retire at 45? 

A recent industry survey found that 62% of Americans plan to retire at age 57. If even 57 sounds too old for you, you might be wondering how to retire at 45.

The truth is, retiring at 45 is a realistic goal as long as you have a solid early retirement plan and the commitment to follow through on it.  

Of course, depending on how much you can realistically save, you need to be prepared to simplify your lifestyle.  

How much money do I need to retire at 45? 

If retiring at 45 is your goal, you’ll need to plan and save for a retirement that could be as long as 40 years or even longer.  

Many financial advisors suggest multiplying the annual retirement income you would like to receive by how many years you have until you reach the age of 85. In this case, it is 40. This will provide you with a ballpark figure to aim for. 

For example, let’s say you would like to plan for an annual retirement income of $4,166.67 a month or $50,000 a year. Multiply $50,000 by 40, and you find that you should aim to save around $2 million. It’s important to remember that you should aim for a higher monthly/annual income as factors like inflation and the difference in cost of living between states play a big role here.  

You should also consider the average monthly expenses of retired Americans when creating an early retirement plan. The table below shows a few average expenses of people aged 65 and older in 2021 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

ExpenseAverage Amount Spent In 2021
Housing $18,872
Utilities, fuel, public services $3,921
Health care $7,030
Transportation $7,160
Food at home $4,497
Personal insurance and pensions $2,850
Entertainment $2,889
Clothing and services $986
Total $48,205

What are the average retirement savings at 45? 

According to the 2019 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), the average retirement savings at 45 were $254,720. However, according to Vanguard’s How America Saves 2023 report, the average retirement savings at this age is $142,069. 

Both figures are considerably lower than the $1.7 million Americans say they need to retire, according to a recent Charles Schwab survey or the $2 million required for a retirement income of $50,000 per year/ $4,166.67 per month.  

Saving for retirement at 45: how do I do it? 

Knowing how to start saving for retirement at 45 and how to do it effectively is essential if you are determined to retire early. Take a look at a few tips on how to retire at 45 as easily as possible: 

  1. Determine what retirement means to you: Spend some time thinking about what you want your retirement to be, whether it’s trying new hobbies, starting a small business, studying, or traveling. When you have a vision for your retirement and a sense of how much your envisaged lifestyle will cost, you can start creating an early retirement plan. 

  2. Reassess your lifestyle: Typical plans that rely heavily on 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement savings and investment vehicles won’t work for saving to retire at 45 due to tax implications and various regulations. Unless you have a multimillion-dollar annual income, you’ll probably need to make changes to your lifestyle and your spending, saving, and investing habits. Review your budget, pay attention to non-essential spending, consider giving up a few luxuries, such as eating out, and try to get rid of any non-mortgage debt as soon as possible. 

  3. Boost your income: Saving aggressively is usually part of preparing for early retirement, so look for ways to boost your income so that you can save more money every month. Try asking for a raise or a promotion at work or starting a part-time job, side hustle, or small business. Use your extra income to increase your retirement savings and to invest strategically.  

  4. Manage tax liability: Manage your tax liability by rebalancing periodically as part of investing for retiring early. Some advisors recommend selling assets that have declined in value to offset capital gains tax on well-performing investments. You can calculate your estimated capital gains tax here. You can also use tax-advantaged accounts such as IRAs, traditional 401(k) plans, and health savings accounts as part of your early retirement plan. 

Get expert retirement advice  

Retiring at 45 isn’t an unattainable goal, although for many Americans, preparing to do this would require planning, research, hard work, and aggressive, strategic saving and investing.  

If you want to learn more about retirement and how to retire at 45, let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor who can share expert financial advice 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.