Gauging monthly income for retirement?


I've recently been adjusting my retirement options on the fidelity website and the only thing I'm really unsure of is the question of monthly retirement income. That number could make or break our retirement plans and how do I determine that? I had it set to like 5-6K a month and the simulator spits out a "you're all set for retirement are your current saving level." When I use another method to determine monthly spending at about 9k a month of course it spits out "You're retirement plan is in trouble."

It's hard to ask current retirees I know because they live like it's the depression and barely spend a dime. Not an unwise way to live in retirement I grant you, but not really "living" in retirement if  you know what I mean,

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  • One option is to plan using current expenses. Sure, some things will reduce, but others will likely increase (e.g., travel). Plus not many people say they have too much saved.

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  • I'm not sure either. My mortgage will be paid off before I retire. Cars are paid off now, but will be replaced before retirement, plan is still to have them paid off. Taxes are an unknown. Most of my retirement will be taxed, since it's pretax accounts now. I feel like health costs are the largest unknown. I know some retirees with over 1,000 a month in medicine bills. That's rough, to say the least. Also, the way I'm going now, I shouldn't have to worry about any hair care or cutting costs. 

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  • I'm in the first month after retirement, so I am working on that exact question. No mortgage, cars paid off, credit cards paid in full monthly. With 6 years of YNAB background data, I have a pretty good idea of where my expenses are. Now trying to figure out which expenses are gone (401k, etc) and which remain or are increased (doctors, prescriptions, etc.)

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