The AARP calculator didn't say so but any of these I have ever looked at gives results in today's dollars and the numbers are close enough to results I've gotten in that past that I believe AARP is also today's dollars.
Our all in for everything including razors, virus software, Tater's seizure medicine, everything except vacations is $4760 per month. We have a 15 year mortgage on our house that we are paying extra on that should be paid off in nine years when I will be 56. That would take our all in number down to $3060 in today's dollars.
Obviously we would prefer to be able to take trips now and then but we don't have to but there is something missing from the above all in which is one-off expenses like new tires or unforeseen vet bills. These things can't be budgeted for and while there is an element of luck as to how often these things come up, when they do occur they have to be taken care of. A long time ago a reader suggested including $1000 in the monthly budget for one offs and I like that idea. If anything is left over, maybe that could go toward some sort of trip?
Based on the numbers we can stop saving and spend what we've already put away, woo hoo!
Before getting to the elephant, the reason the numbers work in our favor (our benefit, versus our need) is that we live well below our means which is something I've been writing about since the start of the site. If we had a $10,000 lifestyle to replace then the portfolio would have to produce $5500 per month which assuming a 4% withdrawal rate would require a $1.375,000 portfolio. Maybe we'll accumulate that much but I would prefer to not have to accumulate that much.
As for the elephant in the room. I've said repeatedly that I don't expect to get anywhere near my maximum benefit (the $4500 I found on the AARP site). Actually I've said before I expect nothing and readers have consistently disagreed with me on this but I can see where zero could be unrealistic but I have to think $4500 is also unrealistic. Maybe half is realistic?
Regardless of what we might get, we are saving based on the assumption we will get nothing, If we get the full boat then our portfolio won't have to do a whole lot month to month and would be a cushion if one of us needs experiment, lifesaving cuticle surgery that is not covered by insurance (I always use the same joke for these types of examples to keep things light).
The above numbers are also why I talk about finding some sort of income stream after "retirement" to try to bring in a few bucks. Obviously monetizing a hobby would be ideal but not everyone will be able to do that but both partners working 10-15 hours at something reasonably enjoyable, like maybe working at your gym, for $10 hour will relieve a serious piece burden off of the portfolio for a $3000-$6000 lifestyle.
The reason to write these posts beyond finding the subject interesting and important is that everyone needs to make some sort of plan for themselves and then stay in touch with the numbers including me.