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View Poll Results: FIREcalc vs. Reality
I'm on FIRE! 7 15.56%
I'm cautiously optimistic. 16 35.56%
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Poll:FIREcalc real world feedback
Old 12-20-2014, 02:18 PM   #1
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Poll:FIREcalc real world feedback

And though (I'm sure) it's been said, many times, many ways (trying to get in the Christmas spirit on a cloudy Texas day...a lot like back home, but no snow)...

How's the FIREcalc working out? Do you find yourself heading to the top of the range or not so much? Have you been "unemployed the good way" long enough to judge or are you so recent that the great market returns since 2009 have skewed your chart...that's SKEWED...the other may be coming all too soon.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:33 PM   #2
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I don't understand the question.

FIRECalc vs reality?

FIRECalc simply reports what has happened in the past. It is reality.

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Old 12-20-2014, 03:18 PM   #3
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I think I generally understand what you are asking about FIREcal... But, a couple of clarifying questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texconsin View Post
Have you been "unemployed the good way"
Sorry, but what does this mean? (unemployed the good way)?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Texconsin View Post
the other may be coming all too soon.
I don't understand what you are trying to say here either.
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:48 PM   #4
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I think Texconsin is asking if Firecalc is more optimistic than recent returns or less optimistic.

But as ERD50 points out - firecalc is based on historical returns... so it's reality based.

No one can predict the future - but we can use worst case past returns to check our plans... and we can add in any extra fudge factors we want to.... or not...
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:55 PM   #5
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No one can predict the future.
Sure they can, it's just that they'll almost certainly be wrong.
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #6
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Okie Dokie - FireCalc has held up fair to middling. It's Reality that won't cooperate.

21 years - you might say preceding the posting of FireCalc some and before reading about 4%.

Unemployed at age 49, making the mental shift to ER, Katrina, moving 1000 miles inland(on a big hill), death of a girlfriend after 29 yrs, remarriage to widow and moving again to 'big city' sort of relative to the burbs and learning to spend up with FireCalc.

Several times a year run FireCalc, i-ORP, and the Vanguard Retirement Nest Egg Calculator.

Handgrenade wise I'm(we) are usually in the ballpark but track to the cheap side of expenses (ie tend to actually underrun input or projection).

heh heh heh - 2007-2010 was an interesting ride but did the Boglehead 'Stay The Course.' Not without some grippiness at times though.
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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I believe the question is "Have your "real" results matched what Firecalc "predicted?"


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Old 12-20-2014, 05:21 PM   #8
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I believe the question is "Have your "real" results matched what Firecalc "predicted?"


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Yes, my actual results after 9 years of FIRE fall within the extremely broad range of FireCalc's historical testing results.

I recall at the beginning noting that FireCalc's output data and graph indicated that during my first decade I could experience huge losses and take a wild ride down. Or, I could experience huge gains and have more than I ever thought was possible. Or I could be somewhere inbetween. Sure enough, I'm somewhere inbetween. FireCalc was right on.
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:26 PM   #9
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I don't understand the question.

FIRECalc vs reality?

FIRECalc simply reports what has happened in the past. It is reality.

-ERD50
You understand!
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:38 PM   #10
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I believe the question is "Have your "real" results matched what Firecalc "predicted?"


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The problem is the word "predicted" because Firecalc is not a forecaster, it is a "backcaster", and all of its squiggly lines have start and end dates in the past, none in the future, no attempt at prediction.

I used Firecalc, Fidelity RIP, and the Financial Engines retirement planners in the run up to my decision to ER. 2 of those tools do use statistical calculations to predict future returns. (Monty Carlo simulations)
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:18 PM   #11
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Well, I was attempting to restate the OP as I understood it, but nevertheless I think users of FIRECalc, to varying degrees, use it to infer, predict, or make a SWAG as to how "safe" there portfolio is...


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Old 12-21-2014, 11:33 PM   #12
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Well, I was attempting to restate the OP as I understood it, but nevertheless I think users of FIRECalc, to varying degrees, use it to infer, predict, or make a SWAG as to how "safe" there portfolio is...


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Exactly.

heh heh heh -
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:34 AM   #13
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I am not retired, but I have been doing some 'playing around' with FireCalc.

I think one of Firecalc's downsides, especially for longer retirement periods, is its use of real data. If you want a 40-year horizon, Firecalc does not look at years past 1974. There are some pretty turbulent years since then. I always want to know would I do OK 'no matter what'.

I took my investment account and divided by 4. Left the income and expenses as-is. And then calculated for only 10 years. And I also did a few other variations of this, 5 years, 20 years, etc.

I am not sure if this help anything, just thought I would chime in and add it.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:41 AM   #14
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If you want a 40-year horizon, Firecalc does not look at years past 1974.
This isn't accurate. You either don't understand how FIRECalc works or need to work on improving your communication skills.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:44 AM   #15
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Almost 10 years into retirement and we're above the starting point on the FIRECalc scattergraph. So far, so good...
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:50 AM   #16
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I think I generally understand what you are asking about FIREcal... But, a couple of clarifying questions.

Sorry, but what does this mean? (unemployed the good way)?


I don't understand what you are trying to say here either.
Unemployed the good way = retirement.

The other thing that might be coming all too soon, instead of skewed, is screwed.

I'll try not to try to be funny anymore.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:56 AM   #17
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This isn't accurate. You either don't understand how FIRECalc works or need to work on improving your communication skills.
The way I understand it, using the total market option, Firecalc looks at data from 1871. It runs 40 years from 1871, then starts again at 1872 for 40 years, etc. Since there are no 40 year periods after 1975, it cannot evaluate years after 1975.

UPDATE: It cannot evaluate years emulating as if you started/FIRED after 1975.

"FIRECalc looked at the 104 possible 40 year periods in the available data"


Using the "Mixed Portfolio", based on performance since 1927, It can only look at 39 cycles.
"FIRECalc looked at the 39 possible 40 year periods". I am not sure why only 39, rather than 48, but that's what it says.

Please enlighten me if I am not understanding FireCalc's methodology.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:57 AM   #18
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The problem is the word "predicted" because Firecalc is not a forecaster, it is a "backcaster", and all of its squiggly lines have start and end dates in the past, none in the future, no attempt at prediction.

I used Firecalc, Fidelity RIP, and the Financial Engines retirement planners in the run up to my decision to ER. 2 of those tools do use statistical calculations to predict future returns. (Monty Carlo simulations)
I'd like to be able to mouse-point at a few of the "squigglies" to see which years (in my conservative choice of 20 until R.I.P.) are which. Likely only the outliers would be possible, as they bunch too much at the norms. But it's the outliers I'd like to identify. Just how DO I get to Boardwalk (or Mediterranean Avenue)?
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:10 PM   #19
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Please enlighten me if I am not understanding FireCalc's methodology.
Since you want to look at 40 year periods, FIRECalc would would begin with the period 1871-1911, then 1872-1912, 1873-1913, and subsequent periods all the way up to and including the 40 year period ending in 2013 (1973-2013), including the years of 1974 through 2013 in the appropriate sequences.

It is accurate to say FIRECalc looks at no 40 year periods "beginning 1974 or later" as there aren't 40 years of data after 1973. That is until FIRECalc gets updated next year with 2014 data...
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:18 PM   #20
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I'll try not to try to be funny anymore.
I think this may be good as I'm having difficulty understanding what you are saying/asking on this and other threads.
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