Originally Posted by CaliforniaMan
About predicting the future. And this is very strange. I recently ran across a old Visual Basic program I wrote in 1989. It projected my future retirement assets to 2016, including my estimates for contributions, inflation, etc. In spite of all the changes in my life and my business since then, and all the mistakes I made along the way, it was correct to within about a 7% error.
Similar here too. A couple of years after the start of my career, I realized that I wanted to get out by my 50's at the latest, for all the reasons commonly discussed. My online brokerage offered a primitive online retirement calculator. I took a guess at my desired retirement income, then it estimated the needed portfolio. Well, I realized I had a long way to go and started doubling my savings rate!
About 2 decades later, I FIRED with a portfolio about 13% less than predicted, but then expenses are 13% less than originally estimated. Pretty accurate considering all the changes in 2 decades:
- Lost my last dependent (aging parent)
- Married in my late 30's, to a hard working career gal; became DINKS (no kids). Fortunately, DW is also a saver!
- Tech career soared, then tanked the last half dozen years
- Chronic overachiever and leader became a burnout looking for the door
- Poured money into the market, much of the time into the "lost" investing decade of 2000-2010. It was an act of faith, more than any effort to "buy low"
I'm glad I made plans back then since they have allowed DW and I to FIRE together. In many respects, though, my life has completely changed in the past 2 decades. Still, all the errors and changes somehow offset each other and we got out about 13% before plan, in large part because we don't need as much $$ as I had feared! Bottom line: we somehow FIRE'd 6 years ahead of the most aggressive plan I could have realistically imagined 20 years ago.