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A New Approach to Retirement - Zvi Bodie 2001
Old 02-29-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
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A New Approach to Retirement - Zvi Bodie 2001

Hi there. I am new to this community. I have spent some time reading the excellent posts on this forum.

I wanted to drum up a discussion about a paper that Zvi Bodie wrote in 2001. It discusses a new approach to retirement savings. He recently had a debate with Jeremy Siegel, ZB taking the leverage/financial engineering approach and JS taking the more traditional equities approach.

Let me know what you think. Love the FIRECalc.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #2
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Interesting idea, it's pretty hard to estimate what the actual results would be but I do like it. I read a book in the early 80's (I think) by Harry Brown, he suggested an idea somewhat like Zvi's, he said to buy Swiss Francs, gold, and zero's I think, and then buy warrants on stocks to take advantage of the leverage. I hope to someday see reasonably priced investment products like this. Some of the upside with limited downside without the rip off fees.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:19 PM   #3
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Good discussion on this idea here:

Bogleheads :: View topic - Zvi Bodie--Worry Free Investing
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:38 PM   #4
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twaddle, Great link, I think if it could be done for a low enough ER in a tax deferred situation it does make sense, some disagree. What do you think?

Fixed income plus a kicker, Swedroe has a similar idea.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:44 AM   #5
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There are a couple of things that bother me.

ZB assumes that you can live on your savings (creating a baseline income stream) with a risk free security earning a 0-2% real rate of return. That means that you essentially need to FIRE anyway. With money in excess of baseline he chooses the LEAPS and not futures (no premium) because the options have upside but curtail the downside to the premium.

What this presupposes is that most people can and will FIRE essentially with a low yield instrument as their savings vehicle. He is assuming that you will have a high paying career that will get you to FIRE. If you are in the 50th percentile in earnings, I don't know if you would get there. He seems a little out of touch with the everyday person.

So if you are either already rich or able to get there with a high powered career you're set. If you are average, you're SOL.

He suggests the TIPS should be in an annuity wrapper so the income part is tax sheltered (the gains are tax deferred until withdrawal) albeit at higher cost. The LEAPS are the lottery ticket, but with this you are in the same boat as the equity investors.

Here is a link to the Vanguard annuity product with the TIPS option. The cost is high at 72bp:

And here is a cfa institute publication on Life cycle products a la Samuelson and Merton's research circa 1969:
CFA: Error

Btw, ZB is adamant in expressing that gold, oil and other commodities are bad hedges for stocks and inflation according to his research. TIPS by definition are perfect. Maybe except for the expense drag.
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