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Old 06-26-2008, 06:38 PM   #41
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Rich....please help me understand. How is holding cash a hedge against inflation? Historically, that has not usually been the case.
I was thinking having cash to spend when stocks were beaten down early in an inflationary period, and perhaps to rebalance back in when things started loosening up. As to fixed, that is probably when I would carve into my TIPs.
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:19 PM   #42
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I was thinking having cash to spend when stocks were beaten down early in an inflationary period, and perhaps to rebalance back in when things started loosening up. As to fixed, that is probably when I would carve into my TIPs.
Having some cash to spend during inopportune times for liquidating stocks, bonds, real estate or other non-cash assets would be a good thing. But holding significant cash throughout a prolonged period of high inflation would probably be a bad thing, at least in my opinion. I sense a trade-off where inflation erodes (but doesn't necessarily eliminate) the advantages of holding a large cash allocation.

Regarding "when things started loosening up." ......... I know you're a lump sum rather than dollar cost average guy and I admire that courage. What's your plan to pull the trigger with that cash stash going forward?
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:16 PM   #43
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But holding significant cash throughout a prolonged period of high inflation would probably be a bad thing, at least in my opinion.

Regarding "when things started loosening up." ......... I know you're a lump sum rather than dollar cost average guy and I admire that courage. What's your plan to pull the trigger with that cash stash going forward?
Actually, I wasn't thinking about cash to hold, but rather about cash to live on for a while. Buying back in later on, I expect that'll be an exercise in rebalancing. For now, it's all talk. What I actually do when it's no longer hypothetical remains to be seen, but I suspect pretty much what I said.

As to when I pull the trigger, well REWahoo has been urging me to hold off until I'm sure I have enough cushion. He wants me to be sure. So I'll just keep on stashing cash until he gives me the green light .
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:32 PM   #44
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As to when I pull the trigger, well REWahoo has been urging me to hold off until I'm sure I have enough cushion. He wants me to be sure. So I'll just keep on stashing cash until he gives me the green light .

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For now, it's all talk.
Understatement of the year...
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:34 AM   #45
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It underscores the importance of having enough fixed equities and/or cash to hold out a while if necessary.
Right. That and a good “Plan B”. If you have all that, seems IMHO to be a “better than average” time to FIRE, given all this negativity already being priced in the portfolio, the market, and hopefully your expectations.

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Old 06-27-2008, 11:37 AM   #46
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Right. That and a good “Plan B”.
A good example of a Plan B is to work just one more year, or maybe 2 more years, for example. You never know, 2012 might be a much better time to FIRE than 2008. After all, time is money so spend some more time making more money.
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:04 PM   #47
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A good example of a Plan B is to work just one more year, or maybe 2 more years, for example. You never know, 2012 might be a much better time to FIRE than 2008. After all, time is money so spend some more time making more money.
That's more like delaying plan A. I see "plan B" more like - I'm ready to FIRE and the numbers add up. If something happens after I execute, well, we have an option. Could be sell the house, could be work part time, could be ... well, just about anything - as long as it's realistic and keeps us away from the worst case scenario.

It just pays to keep in mind that no plan is flawless, stuff happens, and mother nature has a very nasty sense of humor.

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Old 06-27-2008, 01:29 PM   #48
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It just pays to keep in mind that no plan is flawless, stuff happens, and mother nature has a very nasty sense of humor.
This quote is attributed to Colin Powell (but I suspect the truth of it has been known for a very long time).

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:09 PM   #49
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Inflation is great for debtors as long as your income more or less keeps up (or even close to it). It stinks for savers and lenders, though.
But if interest rates go up, then your savings will keep pace or exceed inflation, a la 1970s with 14% bonds. Some people still have those bonds!
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:15 PM   #50
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But if interest rates go up, then your savings will keep pace or exceed inflation, a la 1970s with 14% bonds. Some people still have those bonds!
Any such double-digit bonds issued today in a very inflationary environment would be callable -- guaranteed -- and probably in as little as 5 years.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:53 PM   #51
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Actually, I wasn't thinking about cash to hold, but rather about cash to live on for a while.
Exactly. I started modifying my retirement portfolio two years before my "planned departure" date (early last year) and to get my cash/income position set.

As far as retiring based upon the current market, I look at that as a bit of "short-term" thinking (IMHO). I made the plan, executed the plan (invested 25+ years for retirement and modified my portfolio along the way to reflect the "stage" I was in). During that 25+ year period, there was a lot of times that I said to myself (OK, I listened to other folks ) that it was a good time "not" to retire.

In reality, I know that "these times" would come. I made plans for that (several years of income in a MM fund - which is secondary to my SPIA and VA disability income) and a healthy dose of equities for my "early retirement years".

Looking back, would I have retired May 1, '08 (I actually retired May 1, '07) during this "challanging investment period"? I believe the current "situation" would have not changed that decision. Why I say that is now that I'm in "early retirement", do I get nervous and question myself and say "I should have worked another "X" years"? The answer comes quickly, simply. NO

If you have a (good) plan, you execute it. If not, you hold on till you have a retirement plan you can feel comfortable with, regardless of the market conditions now, and in the future.

Sorry about not keeping with the OP's question (inflation/retirees) but I thought this was appropriate since it referred to the "cash comment" and no, inflation has very little to do with my "retirement life" (answered previously)

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Old 06-28-2008, 04:36 AM   #52
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That's more like delaying plan A. I see "plan B" more like - I'm ready to FIRE and the numbers add up. If something happens after I execute, well, we have an option. Could be sell the house, could be work part time, could be ... well, just about anything - as long as it's realistic and keeps us away from the worst case scenario.

It just pays to keep in mind that no plan is flawless, stuff happens, and mother nature has a very nasty sense of humor.

Michael
2012 is my plan A... Hope things sort themselves out by then.

If the general securities markets and housing market have recovered and stablized by then, the planets align for the chinaco household... at least in terms of financial circumstances.

I will have access to pension, retirement health care, and we will be able to downsize the house.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:17 AM   #53
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2012 is my plan A... Hope things sort themselves out by then.
I hope they do, too.

Late 2009 is my plan A (and plans B, C, and Z, since I am 60 and just plain tired!). I am so ready for ER and it would be pretty difficult for the economy to derail my finances at this point. Since I haven't got to where I am just by luck, actually I have been expecting the market to drop or collapse, along with significant inflation. So, none of this is a surprise to me and actually I have been expecting a lot worse.

I admit the housing crisis was not something I had thought of in advance or prepared for. It won't stop me, though. I am keeping my eye steadily on that goal, with only 497 days to go.
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:23 AM   #54
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Understatement of the year...


ReWahoo: If you are planning on continuing to be an active member of this "Soap Box", probably a good idea to keep an eye out for somebody else warming up in the "Bull-Pen", just in case Rich actually retires.

(A good "straight man" is hard to find)
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #55
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ReWahoo: If you are planning on continuing to be an active member of this "Soap Box", probably a good idea to keep an eye out for somebody else warming up in the "Bull-Pen", just in case Rich actually retires.

(A good "straight man" is hard to find)
Maybe I should take your advice - find a 30-something to start grooming as a replacement. I figure Rich is good for at least another decade.
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:28 AM   #56
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I was thinking having cash to spend when stocks were beaten down early in an inflationary period, and perhaps to rebalance back in when things started loosening up. ...
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Having some cash to spend during inopportune times for liquidating stocks, bonds, real estate or other non-cash assets would be a good thing.
Perhaps I'm missing something - but doesn't all this ignore another basic methodology preached on this forum: Asset Allocation and Rebalancing?

Let's take a very simple example. A $1M portfolio, 50/50 eq/fixed, and a 4% WR. To keep it simple, we will do the 4% withdraw and the rebalance once a year, at the same time each year, and keep the $ in current $ (inflation washes as we don't increase the 4% either):

Start of Year One:

$500K EQ; $500K fixed

Start of Year Two: Market takes a 20% dive, so -

$400K EQ; $500K fixed

So we combine our $40K WD with our rebalancing, and we take all the $40K from fixed. Leaves us at:

$400K EQ; $460K fixed, so we buy $30K of EQ, which is what rebalancing theory is all about - buy when it is low. Leaves us at:

$430K EQ; $430K fixed

Rinse and repeat.

I put together a little spreadsheet, maybe will clean it up and post later, but at the end of 5 years of a 20% market drop every year (puts EQ at 33% their original value, or a 67% drop: 1- .8^5). Rebalancing, you are buying EQ as they drop. Pros/Cons versus straight cash WD:

With rebalance in a straight down market, of course your portfolio is lower than just taking cash. $403K rebal; $437K taking 100% cash. But with rebalance, at the end of five years, you have $202 in EQ, versus $157 in EQ, so assuming the market does revert to the mean, you are in a better position to take advantage of it with the rebalance.


IIRC, R_I_T is a proponent of the buckets? I have not looked at that in detail, but on the surface it looks like a bit of a mental 'shell game' that might be hiding the obvious from us? I mean, money is money, it is allocated to an investment type and I don't think calling it something else changes that.

-ERD50
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:31 AM   #57
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ReWahoo: If you are planning on continuing to be an active member of this "Soap Box", probably a good idea to keep an eye out for somebody else warming up in the "Bull-Pen", just in case Rich actually retires.
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Maybe I should take your advice - find a 30-something to start grooming as a replacement. I figure Rich is good for at least another decade.
A decade? I hadn't really thought of it being that long, but now that you mention it, probably not a bad idea -- this inflation/stagflation/recession/correction/bear market/depression thing should be bottoming out around then.

And by then, my golf swing should be pretty darn sweet.

Excuse me a second...[turns to DW in other room] Honey? wanna hear what the guys on the internet said??
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:43 AM   #58
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IIRC, R_I_T is a proponent of the buckets? I have not looked at that in detail, but on the surface it looks like a bit of a mental 'shell game' that might be hiding the obvious from us? I mean, money is money, it is allocated to an investment type and I don't think calling it something else changes that.

-ERD50
I wouldn't call Buckets a mental 'shell game,' because it's really about asset allocation and cash management. But for some it's easier to think of it in terms of buckets. I'm not a real proponent of Lucia's system, but in terms of overall management of the nest egg is nicely summarizes what many here talk about:

Sufficient cash to hold you over during a market reversal phase (generally assuming 7 down years), so folks here talk about cash for 7 years of expenses in money market and short-term deposits (CDs, s/t bonds, TIPs, etc.).

Consideration of the balance of the portfolio in terms of mid-term and long-term growth needs (bonds/bond funds for mid-term, stocks/stock funds for long-term).

Your 50/50 example is no different -- how you arrive at getting the annual disbursement for living expenses while rebalancing is simply considering near-term, mid-term, and long-term investment needs.

The bigger consideration that we don't talk about as much is how to draw the funds -- taxable, tax-deferred, tax-free. I recently noticed that ORP now includes an analysis in the distribution table that advocates converting Roth when there is sufficient dollars in the taxable account to pay the income taxes. You'll find ORP here: Retirement Calculator

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Old 06-28-2008, 08:42 PM   #59
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Oil is cheap … at least in comparison with some other "liquids". According to USA TODAY, crude oil is a relative bargain on a per barrel (42 gallons) basis. For example,
Bud Light Beer
$302

Crude Oil
$124.31
A bit misleading. I buy beer by the keg...I have a home bar. My beer costs about $60 for a "keg", which is 15.5 gallons...therefore a barrel of beer would be less than $180. Still higher than oil...but obviously USA today used a retail price when bought in 12 ounce cans....we as consumers are smarter than that.

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Mr. Bob Brinker today said:
Old 06-28-2008, 08:56 PM   #60
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Mr. Bob Brinker today said:

that the 100% increase in oil cost over the last year is not causing inflation but rather a contraction of our ecomomy. He argues that dispite oils 100% rise, the core inflation rate is only 2.1%. Thus, high oil prices are not currently inflationary, according to Bob.
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