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Lowest Firecalc success rate knowingly/willfully ever attempted?
Old 03-12-2012, 11:35 AM   #1
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Lowest Firecalc success rate knowingly/willfully ever attempted?

I wonder what it is?

I am not trying to out anybody. And I am not talking about someone that was "retired involuntarily by the man".

I am more wondering about someone that knowingly and carefully evaluated the options and said: "Firecalc says 35%....I'm jumpin' in!"

(I am also not talking about Methuselah either: "Oh dear, I am SURE to run out of money on my 126th birthday!")
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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LRDave, you'll have to wait until their shift at Walmart ends to get a reply.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:09 PM   #3
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You might take a step back and ask something along the lines of "Has anybody made the decision to pull the plug based on FireCalc results alone, with no other input?".
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:10 PM   #4
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I didn't even ask FIRECalc before I pulled the plug.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #5
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As I recall I was at 87% success to age 90. FIRECalc was a major factor in my decision to bail.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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My thread topic is not really getting to the heart of my question...... Let me try this:

Keeping the other inputs as constant as makes sense -

Target ER year........ FireCalc score is 87% at age 90 (to use Onward's values above)
Target ER year minus 1.......FireCalc score is 84% at age 90 (a made-up value)

I am not saying just using FireCalc. Given the many analytical tools that are out there, assuming you have a spending target you are comfortable with, etc.

What is the risk value you would trade for an additional younger year of retirement?

I KNOW this is a very individual question. And it is philosophical, not financial.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:31 PM   #7
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I don't think I would do it, even if my circumstances were different. Maybe, if someone would please tell me the exact age I am going to die, I would.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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LRDave, isn't that like asking what FIRECalc probability of success was acceptable to each of us? For some, nothing less than 100%, for others, maybe 80% (my case). Others maybe even less.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
LRDave, isn't that like asking what FIRECalc probability of success was acceptable to each of us? For some, nothing less than 100%, for others, maybe 80% (my case). Others maybe even less.
I was looking for more than 100%, but I always keep in mind what Dr. William Bernstein noted in his excellent Retirement Calculator from Hell series, and I am sure it's true....
Quote:
A wildly optimistic historian might give us another few centuries of economic, political, and military continuity. Back-of-the-envelope, that’s about an 80% survival rate over the next 40 years. Thus, any estimate of long-term financial success greater than about 80% is meaningless.
History will probably get in the way...
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
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I was looking for more than 100%, but I always keep in mind what Dr. William Bernstein noted in his excellent Retirement Calculator from Hell series, and I am sure it's true....History will probably get in the way...
Even though I was not aware of FIRECalc when I took the step I had read some of William Bernstein's writing, and it did influence me.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #11
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LRDave, isn't that like asking what FIRECalc probability of success was acceptable to each of us? For some, nothing less than 100%, for others, maybe 80% (my case). Others maybe even less.
^^^Yes - that is the essence of the question. ^^^^^

I am just sorting through my feelings, above and beyond the finances and math.

Isn't ER year minus 1 about as golden as you can get in this game? The only thing being better is ER year minus 2..... and so on.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #12
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^^^Yes - that is the essence of the question. ^^^^^

I am just sorting through my feelings, above and beyond the finances and math.
No harm in asking, but I doubt (hope) that anyones decision to retire hinged significantly on their FIRECALC probability of success. It's just another tool to confirm you're in the probability ballpark, and a backward looking tool at that. You need a saw to build a house, along with many other tools. FIRECALC is a saw, albeit a good one.

And as you note, it's not simply finances and math. In my view, the $ are the simple (but not easy) part. It's the emotional, activity, etc. transition that's difficult for many...
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:12 PM   #13
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I would poll Uncle Mick on this one. It sounds like his life story. He got a lemon and made lemonade.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:35 PM   #14
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Although FIRECalc couldn't model my scenario exactly, I'm pretty sure it was saying about 75% for as close as I could come. That felt pretty decent with other margins of safety and spending flexibility I had. Plus I use a cash strategy of raising cash when my portfolio is above expectations and reinvesting it in bear markets, that hopefully smooths things out a bit.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #15
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What if, for example, you put your life on hold, and saved and saved, so that FireCalc gives you a 100 percent sucess rate...

And then the Ebola fungus kills nearly everyone (including you). Or a meteor slams into the earth plunging the world into fire and darkness ? or an Alien invasion (from outer space) takes place.

Don't you just hate it when that happens ? Ad dontcha just wish you had maxed out those credit cards ?
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:46 PM   #16
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What MasterBlaster said. There are no guarantees out there. I'm trying to balance the very real liklihood of having a shorter than 30 year retirement with the really scary prospect of either running out of money or eating cat food in my golden years. It's a tough balance. Part of me wants to get out while the getting is good and part of me keeps saying "you don't have quite enough". And just when it gets close....
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:03 PM   #17
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I don't think I would do it, even if my circumstances were different. Maybe, if someone would please tell me the exact age I am going to die, I would.
When you talk to that someone, ask them to provide the correct year-by-year future values for: inflation, T-bonds, S&P 500, and anything else hard to impossible that retirement calculators crunch on, please...
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #18
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I think retirement calculators were the only thing I ever got 100% on. OK maybe the idiot test.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #19
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I guess everybody here knows my retirement planning was pretty conservative and involved belt and suspenders and more.

I required 100%, but withdraw considerably less than that because it makes me happiest to do so. Each to his/her own.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #20
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I think for us we would pull the plug at a lower percentage than most. We've always been self-employed as "slashers" (as the NY Times calls us) - graphic design/writers/ websites/consultants/artists/etc. If we pulled the plug a little early and the first few years saw a harsh recession, we could take on some freelance work to bump up our nest egg again to where we felt safe. We also will have a paid off house at 70 that we do a reverse mortgage on (no kids, don't need to leave anything to heirs) in case of another mishap.
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