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Old 07-13-2007, 08:11 PM   #1
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Stupid Question probably...

I am new and had probably a stupid question but...I am 37 yrs old and when FIRECALC asks me for the amount I have, do I put in the amount I have NOW which obviously is much less than I will have when I want to retire at 55. Or do I put in the amount I'm planning on having at 55? I know this is probably a dumb question but figured I'd give it a shot.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:18 PM   #2
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Welcome to the board.
Someone smarter than me will answer.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:49 PM   #3
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Ugh...the firecalc button used to spawn a new window on the old board, on this one it replaces the current view and wipes out everything you had typed in the quick reply.

Anyhow, you put in the amount you plan to retire with and enter all dates (for social security, pensions and whatnot) for their dates of actual occurrence.

One way I think you can "game" firecalc to do some planning is to put in your current amounts, expected time frames and whatnot, and add your income in as a portfolio withdrawal "decrease" effective immediately.

Then what'll happen is that your income will offset your spending (presumably) and over time increase your holdings, which will gain money, and you should be able to see the point at which you'll have your desired stash.

I'm sure I used it that way once for a test, but it was a long time ago, I dont recall the details, and i'm sure the next questions will be around how to do this properly...

And i'm not smarter than Dex. And there are no stupid questions...
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:37 PM   #4
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FIREcalc tells you whether or not you can retire "now". You can enter all of your current data -- current assets, current spending, and current life expectancy -- and it will tell you if you can retire now. And more likely than not, you won't be able to retire now. [1]

You can also try to figure out how much you'll have when you're 55 (or any other age) and how much you'll be spending then, and what your portfolio allocation will be then, and your life expectancy then. FIREcalc will then tell you if you can retire then with those figures.

For a better tool on figuring out when you can retire (by putting in your numbers now and having it do the projecting forward for you), check out the tables and/or the Excel spreadsheet at the following link:

Millennium Edition Generation-X Retirement Calculator.

Personally I played around with the spreadsheet for a while and then decided that it didn't match my situation closely enough and I didn't know what assumptions and calculations the spreadsheet author (a guy named John Greaney, aka intercst) had made, so I built my own.

2Cor521

[1] Actually, FIREcalc just give you the percentage of time you historically would run out of money. But if FIREcalc says you would never have run out of money historically, then most people consider that to mean that you can retire now.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:50 PM   #5
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You know that there are TWO version of FIRECalc, right? The "advanced" version will let you specify the year you want to retire (Options tab). So you can enter your current numbers, and not your projected numbers.

FIRECalc Advanced Retirement Calculator

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Old 07-13-2007, 10:56 PM   #6
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Sam,

Hmm. I didn't notice that input before you pointed it out. I wonder how it works. If I put in 2010, does it start with my beginning portfolio balance and run it through all the historical starting years but skip withdrawals for three years in each case? Anyone? Bueller?

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Old 07-14-2007, 12:24 AM   #7
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2Cor521, yes, that's how it works. As you said, it'll skip the withdrawals for 3 years, but still adjusts the withdrawal amount by the historical inflation.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:27 AM   #8
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Ahh. Thanks, Sam.

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