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Old 05-12-2012, 08:43 AM   #21
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What say you with the difference between 95% and 100% success rate? Is it really much safer?

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... 95% is definitely "safer" than 80% in terms investment risk
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:48 AM   #22
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What say you with the difference between 95% and 100% success rate? Is it really much safer?
It's 5% safer, or could be more if your WR is even lower than the actual 100% threshold. But that's only investment risk, if the Mayans followers are right it won't matter.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #23
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Is that 5% cola'd? I think so

I admit I am too conservative to RE at age 43 even tho FIRECALC gives me 95-100% results without SS. I figure if I worked a few more years, say 48, it reduces my risk even if it's just to breakeven on daily expenses.


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It's 5% safer, or could be more if you WR is even lower than the actual 100% threshold. But that's only investment risk, if the Mayans followers are right it won't matter.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:22 AM   #24
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Now you got me regretting marring my wife ( 3 years younger) some 34 years ago. Knocks me down from 3.5 % to 3%. If someone had just warned me back then that that cute girl was going to cost me some day!
Had you not married her you would have been single. Single men do not live as long as married men. Result: Your withdrawal rate could be even higher since you would be dead sooner.

This is good?
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:18 PM   #25
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+1 the idea of having to eat the same foods as my pets late in life is hard to swallow
Eating pet food at any stage in life is hard to swallow...
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:20 PM   #26
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Eating pet food at any stage in life is hard to swallow...
+1
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:32 AM   #27
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Wow. I am 47, planning to live until 95, and my SWR = 3.5%. Right on target
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Probably just worth taking the low point as possible for any of them past that (i.e. 97% for any 3.5% SWR longer than 40 years).
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:54 AM   #28
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Eating pet food at any stage in life is hard to swallow...
First of all, you can eat "people" food for less than good quality pet food. I'm not sure about the extra large bags of dry dog food at Sam's.

All of our budgets contain extra spending because we're being conservative with our spending. If things get tight, eating out can fall to zero. I can have more chicken and less beef. More rice. Simpler meals. Sell the house. None of this is in my "plan" but they are available options.

I would think I could economize 20% or more if necessary. I'm not even throwing in the "normal" desire to spend less as we age.

What we can't predict is societal collapse which has been discussed. There are many other possibilities that can negatively affect a portfolios success rate. Also, this also predict the worst case. The opposite side is leaving $12MM because your assets grew like crazy while you spent your last decade in nursing home.

I can't remember exactly but I think it was William Bernstein that said any probability of success above 80% is good enough. We can all enjoy the wallowing in nerd-dom and working this all out to four or five decimal places but it doesn't change the fact that behind it all there is a big 10 to 20% of totally unknown out there.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:06 AM   #29
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I can't remember exactly but I think it was William Bernstein that said any probability of success above 80% is good enough. We can all enjoy the wallowing in nerd-dom and working this all out to four or five decimal places but it doesn't change the fact that behind it all there is a big 10 to 20% of totally unknown out there.
William Bernstein was quoted in post #1 and more completely in post #19. If you read #19 or better yet more of The Retirement Calculator From Hell series you may come away with a slightly different conclusion...
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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.

Now, let’s return to the above table. The historically na´ve investor (or academic) might consider reducing his monthly withdrawals to a very low level to maximize his chances of success. But history teaches us that depriving ourselves to boost our 40-year success probability much beyond 80% is a fool’s errand, since all you are doing is increasing the probability of failure for political, economic, and military reasons relative to the failure of banal financial planning.

Mind you, this is not a call for wild abandon. The above table constrains the retiree desiring a theoretical 97% success rate (of portfolio survival) from spending more than 3% per year of the initial real amount of his nest egg. Taking the accident propensity of the species into account would allow him to spend about 4%. But if you believe that we’re about to encounter a bad returns sequence or simply wish to leave a few baubles to your heirs, you’re right back to 3% again.

So live a little, and enjoy your money, for tomorrow we may be consumed by the ghosts of Hitler, Lenin, and Attila the Hun. And at withdrawals of 3% to 4% of your nest egg, don’t spend it all in one place.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:03 AM   #30
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IIRC, there is a 50% chance that a man my age will die before I am 87 years old. This much more likely than other disasters. In my case I will probably make it into my 90's. That is a ~30 year time frame.

There was a study I saw that I seem to remember said that we could take out 4% in good times but portfolio survival improved if we cut back to 3% in bad times. No surprises here. And that is what I understand Dr. Bernstein is saying in the above quote (which was written long before the most recent troubles upon which the study was based).
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:31 PM   #31
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I can't remember exactly but I think it was William Bernstein that said any probability of success above 80% is good enough. We can all enjoy the wallowing in nerd-dom and working this all out to four or five decimal places but it doesn't change the fact that behind it all there is a big 10 to 20% of totally unknown out there.

Hi everyone. Just a lurker here who appreciates the board and informative discussions.
Hopefully this post is a worthwhile contribution.

For whatever reason, Bernstein's assertion struck me (and I do agree with Midpack's clarification of his assertion), so I did a little digging and registered to post this thought:

For a 40 year (or even less) portfolio, I would be concerned with shooting for "only" an 80%-90% backtested chance of success.

I haven't seen this discussed before, but after informally reviewing Firecalc, Otar and Pfau's data, an uncomfortably large number of the failed 10-20% of portfolios, with a typical mix of stocks and bonds, appear to failed after only 20-ish years, or less.

Also, a number of these failed portfolios started hovering around what I would consider "unacceptably/frighteningly close to failure", with maybe 20-30% of the original portfolio remaining in what appears to be around 10-15 years.

At, say, closer to 4% SWR, and particularly under what I perceive as a low-yield (interest and dividends), and seemingly somewhat higher-valuation (equity price) climate, I am a little more concerned about the possibility a 15-20 year portfolio failure than economic, political, and military discontinuity rendering the whole effort futile, within that shortened frame of time.

Without trying to split unknowable hairs, I personally feel more comfortable setting a 95% (1 in 20 likelihood of failure, rather than 1 in 5) backtested success probability as a minimum. Especially for > 20 year plans, since such a failure would likely hit when I'd be considerably less employable, yet perhaps still kicking.

Anyway, hope that makes sense.
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:45 PM   #32
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Wow. I am 47, planning to live until 95, and my SWR = 3.5%. Right on target
You might want to put those dancing shoes on ice.

Recall that the default FIRECALC runs that Midpack shows use the default 75% EQ 25% Fixed AA. IIRC, you are stock averse, and are 100% fixed?

If you re-run FIRECALC with lower EQ % AA, you will see very different results. At 25/75 EQ/Fixed, a 97% success can only be met with a 3.0% WR.

At 0% EQ, a 3.5% WR will provide a frighteningly low 27% success rate. You would need to drop your WR to 2.1% to reach 97% success. Another way to look at it is you would need ~1.7x larger portfolio.

2.1 <> 3.5

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #33
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Hi everyone. Just a lurker here who appreciates the board and informative discussions.
Hopefully this post is a worthwhile contribution.

For whatever reason, Bernstein's assertion struck me (and I do agree with Midpack's clarification of his assertion), so I did a little digging and registered to post this thought:

For a 40 year (or even less) portfolio, I would be concerned with shooting for "only" an 80%-90% backtested chance of success.

I haven't seen this discussed before, but after informally reviewing Firecalc, Otar and Pfau's data, an uncomfortably large number of the failed 10-20% of portfolios, with a typical mix of stocks and bonds, appear to failed after only 20-ish years, or less.

Also, a number of these failed portfolios started hovering around what I would consider "unacceptably/frighteningly close to failure", with maybe 20-30% of the original portfolio remaining in what appears to be around 10-15 years.

At, say, closer to 4% SWR, and particularly under what I perceive as a low-yield (interest and dividends), and seemingly somewhat higher-valuation (equity price) climate, I am a little more concerned about the possibility a 15-20 year portfolio failure than economic, political, and military discontinuity rendering the whole effort futile, within that shortened frame of time.

Without trying to split unknowable hairs, I personally feel more comfortable setting a 95% (1 in 20 likelihood of failure, rather than 1 in 5) backtested success probability as a minimum. Especially for > 20 year plans, since such a failure would likely hit when I'd be considerably less employable, yet perhaps still kicking.

Anyway, hope that makes sense.
Hi Jwill. Thanks for registering to share your thoughts. I am one of those with a 40 year horizon and 80% probability @ FIRECalc. We each must work with our own risk tolerance. While I don't disagree with anything you say, I am also not confident that going from 80% or 85% to >95% probability makes my financial outlook at age 90 any different, for two reasons. First, the math behind most calculations assume investors act passively to market conditions, when in reality we react in a (hopefully) proactive way either by shifting our asset allocations or modifying our spending. Second, over 40 years the landscape changes so dramatically that we may not even know how we will be defining "success".

The choice we all make is the trade off between the cost of that extra 10% protection vs the benefit, and that equation is quite personal and different for each of us.
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:46 PM   #34
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There are so many factors in calculating SWR and portfolio survivability that anything we do now is going to look somewhat silly in 30 years. Think about your cost of living 30 or even 40 years ago. How much do you need now to support the same lifestyle? Have your investments been performing the same? What type of pension benefits did you think you would be getting? What were the taxes and government benefits? Do you think there may be as many or more changes in the coming decades?

Yes, we can run the numbers for a pseudo-inflation adjusted SWR. We can wax poetic about the nuances of various survivability rates. Ultimately, we will probably spend less (inflation adjusted) as we age and it won't be because we don't have the money. At some point we all just have to make the jump and hope our parachute works long enough.

Not much else to really say.......2B put it very well
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:11 PM   #35
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Remember these success rates are based entirely on past history.
Is there another website that we can obtain simular info, but with future history? Just curious...
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:26 PM   #36
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Is there another website that we can obtain simular info, but with future history? Just curious...
Not yet, but I predict you can get the next thirty years infoif you hang around for another three decades...
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:49 AM   #37
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Good point, ERD50. Well I guess I will continue to see patients a few hours a week to increase my chances of FIRE success. It will also allow me to get my 40 quarters too for SS and get my CME anyway.
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You might want to put those dancing shoes on ice.

Recall that the default FIRECALC runs that Midpack shows use the default 75% EQ 25% Fixed AA. IIRC, you are stock averse, and are 100% fixed?



-ERD50
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:37 AM   #38
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Is there another website that we can obtain simular info, but with future history? Just curious...
Mickey, as soon as I get my time machine fixed, I will post the data. Just need to get a new transmorgrifier to complete the repairs.
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