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Help, FIRECalc making me crazy
Old 08-04-2007, 08:03 PM   #1
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Help, FIRECalc making me crazy

My wife and I are retired. We have a combined total annual pension of 70,200. My wife already collects 16800/yr social security and I will get 22800/yr starting in 2015. We have over 900k in our diversified 60/40 portfolio. We put in a 90k annual spending and we keep getting a 0% chance of success? It does not seem to include our pensions no matter how many times or ways I try it. Any suggestions?
Thanks Larry
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:16 PM   #2
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I tried it and got 100%. Be sure you are checking the decrease box when you input your pension figures.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:13 AM   #3
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bbbamI, I certainly did that as well as checked the increase, leaving it blank, as well as doing it as an annual and then monthly figure (the instructions do not say whether to use annual or monthly figures for SS or pensions. Believe me, I tried numerable combos and kept getting the same 0% success rate. I will try again today and if that doesn't work, I guess I need to scrounge up a couple of million dollars to get a better success rate.
Thanks
Larry
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:38 AM   #4
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I just did it again and at first it gave me a 0% chance when I listed a 90,000 annual spending. When I decreased that to 25k (I deducted mine and my wife's pensions) then I got the 100%. I thought by putting in our pensions and marking decrease that it would automatically deduct that from the annual spending amount listed. Either I am not getting something or the directions leave much to be desired.
Can anyone explain
Thanks
Larry
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:54 AM   #5
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bigla, I also ran your numbers through FIRECalc and got 100%. A summary of my steps:

- Using Advanced FIRECalc starting with the "How much will you spend tab"
- Changed "How much will you spend" from 30000 to 90000
- Changed "Your SS" from 0 in 2020 to 22800 in 2015
- Changed "Spouse SS" from 0 in 2020 to 16800 in 2007
- Checked the "Decrease your withdrawals by" button, inserted 70200 starting in 2007 and unchecked the inflation adjust button. (I did not see any COLA pension information, so made this assumptions.)
- on the "How much do you have?" tab, changed 750000 to 900000
- on the "How is it invested?" tab, left the first option selected and changed 75% equities to 60%
- made no changes to the remaining tabs, and click "submit"

Result = 100%

Be sure not to include commas in any of your amount fields...
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:22 AM   #6
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Bigla, on the FIRECalc results page, upper right, there's a "link to this set of data" link. If you save or copy that link into a message, we can all see exactly what you've entered in FIRECalc. We might be able to figure out better what problem you're running into.

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reahoo, I had done that and did it again
Old 08-05-2007, 09:29 AM   #7
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reahoo, I had done that and did it again

and this was the result: Sorry, meant REWahoo and also Coach
Your plan is to spend $90,000 a year, or 10.00% of your starting portfolio.
FIRECalc looked at the 106 possible 30 year periods in the available data, starting with a portfolio of $900,000 and taking out $90,000 the first year of your retirement, and the same amount after adjustments for inflation each year thereafter.
(FIRECalc assumed your retirement portfolio is in investments that perform about like the US stock market as a whole. Mutual funds report each year how well they have performed relative to the stock market as a whole. Such information can help you see how relevant this information might be to your situation.)
The key result: a 2.8% Success Rate

It does not seem to take out the 70200 from the withdrawal box. When I deduct it from the spending amount and change 90000 to 25000 the I get the 100%.
Here is the link to my entries

FIRECalc Advanced Retirement Calculator
This has become quite the puzzler for me.
Larry
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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bigla,

On the top right of the result screen, there is a "Link to this set of data". Copy and post that link for your case here, and people will tell what went wrong, hopefully.

Good luck
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Sam, I thought I had done that with earlier post.
Old 08-05-2007, 10:45 AM   #9
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Sam, I thought I had done that with earlier post.

Redid it the whole thing again, still came up with 2.8% chance. When I did previous post, while writing, I had all the data but then when I clicked on it, it came up with blank calculator. Hope this works and thanks
Larry

FIRECalc Advanced Retirement Calculator
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:52 AM   #10
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Hmmm, might be close to a bug.... I changed your retirement year from 2007 to 2005, to match your spouse's SS start and your pension start. That gets you to 100% success.

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Old 08-05-2007, 10:53 AM   #11
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If you change the 2005 dates to 2007, it works out to 100%. I guess firecalc does not go "backward".

I'm glad this worked out, because if it didn't, there would be no hope for any of us!
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:58 PM   #12
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Coach

First off, if you put in 2005 or even 2007 as retirement date, if you read the final calculation carefully it says I will be retiring in 4013 or 4015 with 2000+ years of preretirement. It only seems to calculate on # of years left to retirement and then I get 2.8% again .
Larry
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:22 PM   #13
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Enter 2007 instead of 2005 in social security area and 2007 instead of 2005 in the pension area. That should get you 100%
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Thanks Coach that worked but
Old 08-05-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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Thanks Coach that worked but

it still leaves it very confusing if you have been retired for awhile and want to see how FIRECalc might work for you. I have actually been retired for 4 years and my wife for more than that. Should have have better instructions tho I do appreciate all the work that has gone in to it.
Larry
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:58 PM   #15
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bigla,

Yep, you have just found a non-supported feature (bug) in FIRECalc. As several people have mentioned, FIRECalc only go forward. Apparently entering any year before the current year confuses the calculator greatly.
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Thanks Sam and everyone else who helped
Old 08-05-2007, 09:14 PM   #16
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Thanks Sam and everyone else who helped

I am glad to know that in this case it wasn't me, since my wife so often at other times, reminds me, that it is me.
Larry
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:06 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigla View Post
First off, if you put in 2005 or even 2007 as retirement date, if you read the final calculation carefully it says I will be retiring in 4013 or 4015 with 2000+ years of preretirement.
Larry
Sorry Bigla, you are quite right -- I should have read the results more carefully. I'm glad others found the correct solution to the problem.

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Old 08-06-2007, 09:27 PM   #18
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Yikes -- I'll look at this in the next rewrite.

The code that does the starting year allows for either a number of years in the future or a calendar year, and the algorithm for figuring out which you entered does not anticipate a year in the recent past.

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Old 08-07-2007, 11:20 PM   #19
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Yikes -- I'll look at this in the next rewrite.

dory36
Looks like Shiller's got data through the end of 2006 now too...
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Cb View Post
Looks like Shiller's got data through the end of 2006 now too...
Oh great -- more work!
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