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Old 12-17-2014, 12:16 AM   #41
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PS. And if something bad happens to me economically, if I still have my health to enjoy my small RV parked out in the boondocks of New Mexico and living off a meager income and/or SS, I do not consider that a retirement failure. Would you?
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:22 AM   #42
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So the Saudis waited until the price of oil started dropping a little before they made it drop a whole lot further by refusing to cut production?
The Saudis haven't done anything. So they haven't "waited". And they produce oil the cheapest of anyone, so they make plenty anyway. It's others that get squeezed first. While they're the largest producer, others could have cut & haven't. Why not "fault" equally? Your concern only at the Saudis is peculiar.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:36 AM   #43
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Just learned Brits spell it "rouble". They're always spelling stuff screwy.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:20 PM   #44
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Just learned Brits spell it "rouble". They're always spelling stuff screwy.
Yea, don't they know English?
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:24 PM   #45
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Just learned Brits spell it "rouble". They're always spelling stuff screwy.
Be glad there was no 'zed' in there for them to change into an 's'.

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Old 12-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #46
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I'll ask my Russian friend, Barney Ruble, how it's spelled.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:40 PM   #47
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Just learned Brits spell it "rouble". They're always spelling stuff screwy.
..and making screwy jokes.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:50 PM   #48
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Just learned Brits spell it "rouble". They're always spelling stuff screwy.
And colour, fibre, tyre....
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:36 PM   #49
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No, not 100% failure over 40 years. But it is impossible to say that it will be 0. In the history of the US since 1776 till 2014, there have been big events like the American Revolution itself, the Civil War, the two World Wars, the Great Depression, etc... Quite a few big events in 238 years. So, how can we say that there's 0% chance of anything big happening in the next 40 years, that won't affect us in a bad way?

I again will say that I am more worried about something happens to me personally, the main thing being health deterioration. Something bad already happened to me while I least expected it, and I recovered but have "nice" surgical scars to show for it. Many Most of us will not be posting here in 40 years. Anybody cares to make a guess how many will be left? Definitely not 97%. I am not sure of the age composition of posters here, but I think much less than 50%, maybe even 25% 10%, will be left standing, er breathing, as quite a few will be alive but bedridden.

And Bernstein was just rounding off 1333 years to a nice number of 1200. When we talk about probability and randomness, a rough order of magnitude is sufficient to make a point.

But there is a problem with this thinking.... thinking that some bad event will result in a failure... for most of the people in any of these events the failure rate is still zero...

My mom just missed WWI.... but lived through the great depression, WWII, Korean war, the bad investments of the 60s or 70s (not sure of the exact dates)... the high inflation during Reagan, the market crash in the 80s... the dot com bubble in 00s... and the almost great depression of 08/09.... all without failure...


SOOO, I say BS on the 1,200 year number... OH, and BTW, if there were a bad event ON AVERAGE every 40 years, that does not mean you will have one the next 40... I remember when I was young that we had a 100 flood two (and maybe 3) years in a row... they can clump together or be spread apart....
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:18 PM   #50
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Yes, if there is an average failure every 40 years then you may or may not see one in your lifetime. It still means you can't run a prediction model that gives you a prediction of 100% chance of success.

My wife's grandparents had 6000 hectares in Latvia before WWII. After WWII they were just barely able to flee the iron curtain bribing Russian guards with household silver and some gold and ended up coming to the USA with $0.50 total given to them by an American soldier. I would say that is a portfolio failure.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:22 PM   #51
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But there is a problem with this thinking.... thinking that some bad event will result in a failure... for most of the people in any of these events the failure rate is still zero...

My mom just missed WWI.... but lived through the great depression, WWII, Korean war, the bad investments of the 60s or 70s (not sure of the exact dates)... the high inflation during Reagan, the market crash in the 80s... the dot com bubble in 00s... and the almost great depression of 08/09.... all without failure...
It probably depends on how we define "failure". If you had your retirement accounts denominated in CSA currency at the end of the Civil War, or Papiermarks in 1923, you had a very big problem on your hands--I think most of us would count it as a "failure" if your resources have dwindled by 95%. If you were in Stalingrad in Dec of 1942, it didn't matter how much money you had--you were eating bread made of sawdust and probably experiencing a failure to achieve your desired retirement lifestyle. If we define "failure" only as "starving to death", then in all these calamities I guess most people were "successful."

OTOH, having money means having options in most cases. Border guards can be bought, private transportation can be arranged, etc. So even in the case of a real SHTF scenario, it's better to have resources than to be without.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:28 PM   #52
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Yea, don't they know English?
The King's version sure, but not the new and improved one we came up with after we sent them packing.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:33 PM   #53
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It probably depends on how we define "failure". If you had your retirement accounts denominated in CSA currency at the end of the Civil War, or Papiermarks in 1923, you had a very big problem on your hands--I think most of us would count it as a "failure" if your resources have dwindled by 95%. If you were in Stalingrad in Dec of 1942, it didn't matter how much money you had--you were probably experiencing a failure to achieve your desired retirement lifestyle. If we define "failure" only as "starving to death", then in all these calamities I guess most people were "successful."
All of this occurring before the age of global electronic money and American dominance, of course. If we go down to the point where the American economy collapses (for whatever reason), the rest of the world is going down with us and we're basically all F---ed.

For the rest of our lifetimes, at least.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:22 PM   #54
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It probably depends on how we define "failure". If you had your retirement accounts denominated in CSA currency at the end of the Civil War, or Papiermarks in 1923, you had a very big problem on your hands--I think most of us would count it as a "failure" if your resources have dwindled by 95%. If you were in Stalingrad in Dec of 1942, it didn't matter how much money you had--you were eating bread made of sawdust and probably experiencing a failure to achieve your desired retirement lifestyle. If we define "failure" only as "starving to death", then in all these calamities I guess most people were "successful."

OTOH, having money means having options in most cases. Border guards can be bought, private transportation can be arranged, etc. So even in the case of a real SHTF scenario, it's better to have resources than to be without.


Even in the South there were people that were OK after the war... and the people from the North fared better... for WWII, most Americans fared well... as long as you were not killed in action...

Sure, there are many people in many countries that would 'fail' due to their circumstances.... but it is not a given that is something happens that everybody will fail.... Now, if a 20 mile asteroid comes a calling all bets are off... I just do not think falling oil prices or the Russian Ruble is going to make many people here worried... Russia is just small potatoes to the US economy.... I heard today that it is 1% of GE's revenue... if you are in Russia it might be a different story...
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:35 PM   #55
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Sure, there are many people in many countries that would 'fail' due to their circumstances.... but it is not a given that is something happens that everybody will fail.... Now, if a 20 mile asteroid comes a calling all bets are off... I just do not think falling oil prices or the Russian Ruble is going to make many people here worried... Russia is just small potatoes to the US economy.... I heard today that it is 1% of GE's revenue... if you are in Russia it might be a different story...
My thoughts on it too. If the ruble collapses will that have a serious effect on how many McDonald's burgers are sold? Boeing aircraft? GE engines or appliances? Toyota or Honda or GM cars? Charmin TP? John Deere tractors? Cans of Campbell's pork & beans?

A minor dip perhaps but probably not much different than normal variation.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:57 PM   #56
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Russia is a dwarf economically, especially looking beyond oil & gas. Most of us heard the statistic that half of the government budget is oil/gas revenue. Also, just 2 trillion in GDP. That's about the same as the UK or Brazil. Not peanuts, but not a big loss.

China slowing down growth will be much more hurtful (9.5 trillion).

A giant military wise and in surface area. Somewhat meaningful in population (144M).

With a population that is used to losing everything (WWII, desintegration of the USSR, previous currency collapses) this won't faze them.

I just hope they constrain themselves. And with 'they' I mean Putin and his oligarch club. Those stand the most to lose and can lash out pretty harshly.

Now, speculation wise look at Gazprom : It's listed at a P/E of 2 (forward P/E of 1) and a P/Book of 0.3. That's a 75% discount vs. other oil and gas majors (!). I am too chicken to take a bet on it, but wouldn't suprised if some will make a killing in the next three years.

[Edit] Just as a thought exercise: China grows +/- 7% per year (0.67 trillion). That means in three years time they will have grown as much as the entire current Russian economy. Just to get some perspective about relative importance.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:03 PM   #57
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They make some pretty good rocket engines. But, Congress is ready to outlaw buying them.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:13 PM   #58
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They make some pretty good rocket engines. But, Congress is ready to outlaw buying them.
I thought the last Russian rocket engines a USA company bought exploded...
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:53 PM   #59
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But there is a problem with this thinking.... thinking that some bad event will result in a failure... for most of the people in any of these events the failure rate is still zero...

My mom just missed WWI.... but lived through the great depression, WWII, Korean war, the bad investments of the 60s or 70s (not sure of the exact dates)... the high inflation during Reagan, the market crash in the 80s... the dot com bubble in 00s... and the almost great depression of 08/09.... all without failure...

SOOO, I say BS on the 1,200 year number... OH, and BTW, if there were a bad event ON AVERAGE every 40 years, that does not mean you will have one the next 40... I remember when I was young that we had a 100 flood two (and maybe 3) years in a row... they can clump together or be spread apart....
A bad event will not hurt 100% of the people. And also one bad event every 40 years certainly does not mean one HAS to occur every 40 years.

But how can we claim 0% probability? Zero probability means a certainty that absolutely nothing bad will happen, and even if it does happen absolutely nobody will get hurt. The only things certain in life are death and taxes, right?

What Bernstein is trying to convey is that we should not be fixated on the 100% certainty with something like FIRECalc. It is to be used as a guide, but we cannot count on it as a guardian angel to protect us. Don't get too hung up on it.

And more than what Bernstein says, I have said that even if one's financial resources dwindle, it does not mean personal doomsday. People have always been able to adapt.

And on the other hand, people get hit by unexpected health problems or accidents all the time. That's a bigger concern for me personally. Compared to that, potential money problems do not scare me as much.
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:00 PM   #60
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I thought the last Russian rocket engines a USA company bought exploded...
They did, but they're still pretty good engines.:what: What is a rocket engine? A bomb that doesn't explode. Guess it's about expectations.

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