Tweet Jam: Successful Seniors' Surprising Secrets

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Happy senior couple drinking cocktail and toasting each other
How do you determine how much you need to save for retirement? Is $1 million enough? And how do you save for retirement without drastically changing your lifestyle?

These are just some of the key questions that CEO Marc Diana and I asked 25 of the top voices in personal finance and wealth during last month's #RetireeNextDoorsocial jam. During our one-hour virtual discussion, Twitter (TWTR) participants generated 18.7 million impressions and reached more than 4.4 million unique users, according to analytics platform More importantly, the advice from the nearly 1,500 Tweets served as a virtual playbook for anyone looking to dramatically improve their chances of one day retiring in style.

MoneyTips has compiled the best of the session in the free eBook: #RetireeNextDoor Retweetables: 100 Best Retirement Tweets. I've highlighted several of the most thought-provoking responses and the best guidance from some of the smartest minds in finance (often ending with the hashtag #RetireeNextDoor:

What is the hardest part about planning for retirement? One in three baby boomers has no retirement plan, according to a 2014 financial wellness study by So, it should come as no surprise that the community's response was the emphatic advice, "Get started!"
  • Scott Maderer ‏‪@FocusdIntensity: Getting started. Inertia takes over it is easier to do NOTHING than something.
  • Donna Freedman ‏‪@DLFreedman: Having to do it while you're also living a NON-retired life. Can be hard to pare away funds.
  • Charles Rotblut @CharlesRAAII: Hardest part of planning for retirement is the uncertainty of lifespan, inflation and future returns.
Several panelists acknowledged the difficult tradeoff between the many valid uses of money today versus funding a vaguely understood lifestyle years down the road.
  • Kimberly Palmer @alphaconsumer: It's hard to deny yourself things today in order to benefit the far-off future.
  • Emily Guy Birken ‏@EmilyGuyBirken: Staying focused. There are so many valid uses for our money. It can be very tough to prioritize retirement.
The key, according to certified financial planner Michael Kay ‏(@FinLifeFocus) is "Getting clear on what you want in retirement. How do you want to live this stage of your life?" Emily Guy Birken added a sense of immediacy to Michael's observation: "Remember that your future self is still you, not a stranger even though it feels that way. So take care of future you."

That discussion led to the question, "How do you determine how much you need to save for retirement? Is $1 million enough?"
  • Tiff TheBudgetnista: It helped me determine that I need 5 million to have 250k in passive income when I retire.
Several panelists weighed in with tips on how to set a dollar figure that works for you:
  • Joe Saul-Sehy @AverageJoeMoney: Start backward: what do you want, how much do you have, then find return you need to grab it.
  • Michael Kay @FinLifeFocus: You need a plan that covers your fixed costs and then anticipates the variables-travel, hobbies, medical.
  • Linda P. Jones ‏‪@LindaPJones: Determine what your lifestyle will be. Do you plan to downsize your home? Be a snowbird? Establish priorities.
  • Doug Nordman ‏‪@TheMilitaryGuid: Forecast your retirement spending, and save 25x that amount. Adjust when you're within 5 yrs.
Robert Kiyosaki, New York Times No, 1 best-selling author of "Rich Dad Poor Dad," swam against the tide. He advocated against building any retirement nest egg. He issued this stark warning: Instead, he advised: "People have to stop collecting dollars and instead collect cash flowing assets and investments."

When it came time to sharing the best advice (received or given) about retirement planning, the entire community jumped at the opportunity to spread their expertise: Elle's advice to automate is one I can't agree with strongly enough. It's advice I offer all clients to avoid mistakes, which was the basis for the next question during the tweet jam. Many panelists observed that 401(k)s are a common source of retirement mistakes:
  • Joe Saul-Sehy ‏‪@AverageJoeMoney: Best advice = tax triangle. Save money pretax (401k), some tax free (Roth), some flexible (brokerage/real estate).
  • LaTisha Styles ‏‪@YoungFinances: Ignoring the 'free money' from an employer 401k. It's an immediate return! ‪#nobrainer.
When asked how to save for retirement without drastically changing your lifestyle, the panel weighed in with actionable tips: We wrapped up the panel by asking for key nuggets of investment advice for millennials.
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