I don’t profess to be a retirement expert. However, I have been successful in retirement and come from a family with a deep legacy of successful retirements. 
This is the first of a series of my thoughts and insights on retirement. My goal is that my experiences might be helpful to you.
$1 million is often touted as the magic number to retire with. The reality is that only 8.5% or less than 2 people in 20 reach that magic number. If you take the more stringent measurement of just investible assets (cash) versus entire net worth, those figures drop to less than 5% of population or 1 in 20. 
If you are on track to reach that magic $1.0 million, great. For the other 80%, alternative thinking is needed. 
My parents hold the record in our family for years spent in retirement. They retired at age 56 and had a wonderful retirement of over 30 years.  They did this with far less that the magic threshold above.
How did they do this? They planned, saved what they could, took a hard look at their life style, determined the really important things to them and made the sacrifices necessary to make it happen.
Traditional retirement planning is largely financial based, growing your investments to hit the magic number your financial planner lays out. Important yes, but not the whole picture.
The less talked about elements of retirement are cutting expenses, determining what you want from retirement and having the courage to change your lifestyle (if necessary) to achieve it. 
This might be called PLANNING IN REVERSE.  Not striving for some threshold that may be unrealistic, but instead planning ways to retire with what you now have or expect to have.
Retirement should be all about your time. No more Monday meetings, striving to make goals someone else sets or late nights typing reports. Time in retirement is how you want to invest or define it. This might be volunteering, art, learning new things, enjoying your spouse and family or just wandering this wonderful planet.
None of these pursuits requires large sums of money, but you still have to buy that time. In another words, cover the overhead of retirement and lifestyle.
That’s why you should start now to change your life in ways that move you closer to your retirement goals. Your expenses, lifestyle, the place you live and how long you want to work are the four things you have most control over. 
Each of these unfolds into many life questions. Ones that are key to discuss with your spouse. Investing time in your relationship will pay the greatest dividends in retirement. It is critical you both view retirement the same way.
It is always good to look at a realistic picture. For example, the average net worth of people 60 years of age is $224,755. If a couple retired with that much in investments, they might have an income of $52,000 including social security (close to the national median income for all ages). Would that work considering your expenses, lifestyle and place you live now? 
The good news is that there are plenty of places in the world and lifestyles that can make that work. Business Insider lists 19 major cities ranging from Las Vegas to Memphis where you can live comfortably on $50,000. 
The challenge is making your circumstances fit. The sooner the better. The reward, YOUR TIME BACK!
The next article is about dealing with “Savages and Beasts” that can follow you into retirement.
Until then,
David Young

Sources for article:Business Insider, US Census Bureau,, The Simple Dollar and Economics
Future Articles Include: Savages and Beasts, Friends and Family, New Horizonsand Journey to Yourself