I get a number of fifty and sixty-something animation veterans through my office who wonder aloud if they're going to be able to retire with enough cash flow to avoid living in a trailer in Barstow. This article by financial advisor Rick Ferri might offer a bit of comfort.
A well-diversified, passively managed portfolio of low-cost index funds has fared well for retirees over the years despite volatile market conditions. Modest annual withdrawals from conservatively managed portfolios should not have caused retirees any concern about running out of money. For most portfolios used in this analysis, accounts ended with higher values than their starting point in 1999 even with withdrawals and difficult markets. ...
A moderately-aggressive retiree who maintained a 50 percent stock and 50 percent bond portfolio and took out $3,333 per month ($40,000 annually) [from a $1,000,000 portfolio] over the past 12 years ended with a March 31, 2011 balance of $1,114,947. The monthly low point occurred in February 2009 at $783,174 and the monthly high point occurred on October 31, 2007 at $1,169,803. ...
The question many will have is, Who the hell is going to be able to scrape together a million freaking dollars? but it can be done, especially if you start early and tuck money into stocks and bonds year by year. I know a bunch of TAG members who, between the Individual Account Plan, the TAG 401(k) Plan and personal investments, have managed to squirrel away several hundred thousand dollars. A few put the bonuses they received during the nineties into investments (resisting the temptation to leap into bigger houses and high-end cars) and are now happily retired, though they are still in their fifties.
This is a topsy-turvy business, and lucrative employment is often followed by stretches of unemployment, so it's not always easy to save for your sunset years. But if you don't have a roadmap to retirement and the discipline to follow it, you'll be kicking yourself later.
Attached to the top-most link, you will find a spreadsheet listing different withdrawal rates for different asset allocations for a million bucks. Take a look at it. You'll find that it's eye opening.
Add On: Here's a boglehead discussion thread for the article above.