The Moneyist: I’m 68, earn $130,000 and love eco-travel in Peru, Brazil and Africa. I want to travel while I can, but I’m scared to stop working

United States

Dear Quentin,

I’m a 68-year-old guy having just worked from home for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I earn about $ 130,000 a year plus $ 35,000 in Social Security, and an additional $ 25,000 in capital gains from a small apartment house, and partnership interests.

I have a little over $ 300,000 in savings and $ 400,000 equity in my own home. I also have about $ 835,000 in a 401(k). The problem, tempered by the pandemic, is that I love eco-travel in countries like Peru, Brazil, Africa and Belize.

Clearly, as I grow older, this type of travel becomes ever more strenuous, so time is of the essence. I am seriously considering retiring, and traveling as much as I can before I can’t. My income will take a $ 130,000 annual hit if I do so. I’m comfortable spending $ 60,000 a year for lifestyle, plus travel.

Does retirement make sense?

Scared to Retire, But Have Itchy Feet

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at

Dear Itchy,

Retirement makes sense, working part time makes sense and/or scaling back your work so you can travel more. But don’t make any hasty decisions about taking off on a jet plane and locking your door before you see how the next few months pan out. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and the coronavirus is experiencing a resurgence in Europe and other countries, with new mutations.

‘I don’t want to be a kill joy. I want to ensure that you take good care of your physical and financial health, and have all the information to make a decision.’

— The Moneyist

The World Health Organization said recently: “There are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission. In addition, considering that there is limited availability of vaccines, preferential vaccination of travelers could result in inadequate supplies of vaccines for priority populations considered at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

The issue of vaccine passports is a complex one. Every country will have its own rules and regulations about these digital passports, as this Dispatches from my colleagues Jacob Passy and Elisabeth Buchwald points out. The World Economic Forum is collaborating with the Commons Project Group, a Swiss nonprofit group, to launch a mobile application, CommonPass, where users can upload their COVID test results and vaccination records.

Check out MarketWatch’s Retirement Calculator where you can plug in your age, income, savings, and other details to plan your retirement.

On average, retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments recommends that you should have saved 10 times your income to retire by age 67 in order to retire comfortably. If you plan to travel, you may also benefit from renting your home. A 65-year-old man would need $ 72,000 to have a 50% chance of enough savings to cover their health-care expenses in retirement in 2016, according to this Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report.

I don’t want to be a kill joy. I want to ensure that you take good care of your physical and financial health, and have all the information to make a decision. Ultimately, one of the reasons for you to work all those years (assuming you enjoyed it) is to contribute to society, but also enjoy a real-earned rest so you can do what makes you happy. Only you can sit down and look at your income and expenditure in retirement, and I suggest you do that with a financial planner.

Can you retire? Yes. Do you deserve it? Yes again.

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