Regardless of how representative those numbers are we know that in aggregate they are way too low.
There is a line of thinking that exists whereby people think that the magic number concept as put forth by the financial services industry is inflated for self-serving purposes. My first reaction to this is "ok, go ahead and save less." But of course it is in the industry's interest for people to save and invest more so while there might be something to the magic number being over inflated it is also clear that $143,300 has a low probability of growing to the actual magic number (if the one from the industry is too high).
On what I think is a related note a reader left an interesting comment a few days ago;
Thought I would share a neighbor's strategy. He is 70 and has 1.2 million in a tax deferred account. His plan is to keep 300K invested indefinitely and take 5% a year from the remaining 900K. His thinking is that when he is 90, the 300 should have grown to 6-900 and he can do it over again. Can't say I fault the logic. He should never run out of money and yes he will likely leave a nice estate.
This is not unheard of and our firm has a couple of clients doing something very similar and obviously this is along the lines of a bucket strategy but it was an interesting comment. If he can stick to a 5% withdrawal rate there is a very good chance that we won't run out of money. Remember that 4% works out to a 93% chance of not running out of money and the higher the withdrawal rate the greater the chance of not having enough but it is not like a 6% withdrawal rate is a guarantee for running out. I forget the exact numbers but I think at 5% the odds of not running out are in the high 80 percents and the above investor is only looking for 20 years.
More and more this entire issue is evolving into the need to come up with a solution that can work for you. Obviously most people now will not be getting a pension. Most people's primary bucket of money is their 401k which creates an infinitely wider range of outcomes compared to a pension. Whatever the circumstance, someone who works for 40 years and winds up with $200,000 will have to do things differently in retirement than the person who works for 40 years and winds up with $900,000.