“How much do I need to retire?”

That’s the question that makes financial advisors and wealth managers sigh. It’s impossible to answer because it can range from a few hundred thousand dollars (three meals a day and a one room flat) to the GDP of a small country (I want a yacht, two helicopters, a penthouse). So while no one can give you an exact number, we can at least point out a few guidelines.

Here are the things you should have by 50:

1. No more debt besides your mortgage

This is number one on the list for a reason. As you grow older, your capacity to earn will fall. This is especially true if you’re in a physical line of work; it’s much harder to spend 12 hours supervising a construction site by the time you’re 60, or nine hours driving your cab. If you are working …