Being able to retire requires money … that means savings.
Most people only think about their “net” income (what they get in their paychecks after taxes) because this is what they live off of. However, taxes continue into retirement. Pre-tax income needs to be your planning point of reference.
Where do you get that big picture number? In general, from your tax return … the line called Adjusted Gross Income … is a very decent proxy for what you really spend each year, including taxes.
If you develop a plan based on supporting your Adjusted Gross Income, you are more likely than not able to sustain today’s Standard of Individual Living (SOIL) when retired. Social Security provides some of that income. May be Pension provides another part. The gap is what you need to save for.
Contributions are more important than returns!