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Anyone else obsessed with FIRECalc?
Old 02-06-2021, 04:21 PM   #1
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Anyone else obsessed with FIRECalc?

This isn't something I discuss with my network of friends so figured it would be safe to broach here.

I know this isn't considered a serious "problem", but does anyone else obsessively run their numbers in FIRECALC? haha
I'm over four years into retirement yet I still very often run the numbers in addition to checking my investment account way too much. It is starting to annoy me that I keep doing it.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:27 PM   #2
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Prior to RE, I admit to running the numbers often.

Since FIRE, 5 years ago, I still occasionally look at FireCalc, just to convince myself that our WR is so far below a SWR that we are very safe.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
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I am fairly obsessed with Firecalc. Run it once a month. In general, I like playing with the retirement calculators, not out of fear, but just like playing with numbers.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:41 PM   #4
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I never got hooked on Firecalc. I do bring up some of my financial spreadsheets a lot though. Probably too much. But at least I'm not actually making changes whenever I look at them. I do add notes to planning documents now and then.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:45 PM   #5
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Not firecalc but I admit to looking at my investment money daily and sometimes more often if the numbers haven’t been updated from the day before.

We manage on DH pension and I can’t even access “my money” for another 5.5 years. I think it’s a security issue for me plus I too like numbers. If I hadn’t been a nurse I definitely would have been a CPA or Finance Major.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:56 PM   #6
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After joining here I ran my numbers through FIRECalc every couple of months. That was mostly because I was already retired and my first run came in around 86% success, which is a bit low. Despite lots of boneheaded portfolio moves I’ve managed to get it to 100%, so I check less frequently now, and when I do, it’s mostly to look at a “what if” scenario that crossed my mind.

I no longer check to see how my base case is doing. Too busy.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:57 PM   #7
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Before retirement - for sure. After retirement, nope, nada, never. I do keep a good focus on my spending, but the plan is in place, now I just need to work it. Plus, my nest egg is pretty much the same as it was three years ago when I retired so I don’t see much value in re-running retirement calculators.
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:03 PM   #8
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Like others I used it a lot pre-retirement. I have completed almost 14 years of retirement and never look at it now. A good planning tool tho.
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:20 PM   #9
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Before retirement, maybe... I ran lot's of them often.... Now, a decade later, not so much... I do keep track of my NW annually. If it ever gets down to 2m, I might start caring again, otherwise it's full speed ahead..
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:35 PM   #10
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Just like the others, obsessed before and shortly after retirement. Going on eight years I have struggled with Fidelitys RIP.
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Old 02-06-2021, 06:13 PM   #11
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I tried to play with Firecalc but didn't like it. For my current situation, it gives me 99.1% success. But once I enter for social security any number greater than $10K it always produce 100%. $10K is fairly low number, I hope to have substantially more than that.
I'm not retired yet and definitely anxious about the numbers, but it looks like nobody can predict the future.
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Old 02-06-2021, 06:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FREE866 View Post
... I know this isn't considered a serious "problem", but does anyone else obsessively run their numbers in FIRECALC? haha ...
Nope. I think I tried it once or twice when I first joined here but not since. We have adequate money and since none of those calculators are predictive I am not too interested in them after one trial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FREE866 View Post
... checking my investment account way too much. It is starting to annoy me that I keep doing it.
This may be a bigger problem. Statistically, people who check their accounts often have been shown to get poorer results. The behavioral finance people explain it in terms of our evolution-driven risk aversion. The account is always jittering up and down and seeing all the downs rings the mental alarm bells, which in turn incline the investor towards excessive trading aka market timing.

There was a poster her a few weeks ago who reported a Fido study of their mutual fund investors. The ones with the best returns were the dead ones. (https://www.morningstar.com/articles...dead-investors) I have also been told that if an investor checks his Schwab robo account too much, the robot sends him an email suggesting that the most successful investors do not check so often.

So stop looking! Buffett: "Much success can be attributed to inactivity. Most investors cannot resist the temptation to constantly buy and sell. ... Lethargy bordering on sloth should remain the cornerstone of an investment style."
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Old 02-06-2021, 06:34 PM   #13
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Over the years, yes, I have spent many hours re-running and re-running the bloomin' obvious through FireCalc just to see how things work out for me :-)
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Old 02-06-2021, 06:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post

This may be a bigger problem. Statistically, people who check their accounts often have been shown to get poorer results. The behavioral finance people explain it in terms of our evolution-driven risk aversion. The account is always jittering up and down and seeing all the downs rings the mental alarm bells, which in turn incline the investor towards excessive trading aka market timing.

There was a poster her a few weeks ago who reported a Fido study of their mutual fund investors. The ones with the best returns were the dead ones. (https://www.morningstar.com/articles...dead-investors) I have also been told that if an investor checks his Schwab robo account too much, the robot sends him an email suggesting that the most successful investors do not check so often.

So stop looking! Buffett: "Much success can be attributed to inactivity. Most investors cannot resist the temptation to constantly buy and sell. ... Lethargy bordering on sloth should remain the cornerstone of an investment style."

Yeah, I've read reports on this too, but I've stuck by my plan 100%. I had a strict discipline before ER and 4+ years in I haven't wavered. At all.
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Old 02-06-2021, 06:51 PM   #15
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I think I ran FireCalc once. But my decision to retire was more date related than $ related. I knew when I wanted to retire, and I accepted that I'd have to make do with the $ I had at that point.
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Old 02-06-2021, 07:20 PM   #16
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I used to be obsessed with running our numbers in Firecalc. But at some point, I started using the feature under the "Investigate" tab that - given a time horizon, an asset allocation and a success rate you provide - calculates the withdrawal rate that would have provided you that success rate. I've become much less obsessed with running Firecalc, and only really use it once a year now.

For example:
For a time horizon of 54 years, and an asset allocation of 70/30, I plug in the following inputs under the heading "Given a success rate, determine spending level for a set portfolio..." in the "Investigate" tab:

Quote:
"Search for settings that will get a success rate of as close to 100% as possible (usually within 1%) by changing Spending Level"
I use a time horizon of 54 years so that I can model a long time horizon but not so long as to exclude the worst start year, which I believe is 1966. We probably won't live 54 more years, but I like being conservative.

I don't bother changing the default portfolio value under the "Start Here" tab as it doesn't matter.

As of this year, these input parameters result in a withdrawal rate of 3.13% at ~100% success rate.

I then calculate what 3.13% of our current portfolio value is to determine where we stand. Happily, my wife and I can maintain a higher standard of living with a 3.13% withdrawal rate. Adding our Social Security and my wife's upcoming pension is just icing on the cake.

While I'm no longer that obsessed with Firecalc, I'm still obsessed with keeping an eye on our numbers, always with a 3.13% withdrawal rate in mind (until next year when it might change).

I'll run this scenario again next year after the next set of market data is included in Firecalc. I'll be using a time horizon of 55 years then.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:11 PM   #17
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I've used FIREcalc for years. I started using it to see how close I was to FIRE.

I then used it to make sure I was still FIRE.

I then used it to tweak my AA to make sure I had the best chance to stay FIRE.

Lately I use it to see how much I need to increase my spending by and still stay FIRE.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:15 PM   #18
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I became obsessed enough to incorporate the firecalc model into my spreadsheet. Now I can run myriad whatifs without going back and forth between my spreadsheet and the website. I'm 53 days from retirement and I look at it every day and run what ifs through the spreadsheet multiple times a day. I also have a Monte Carlo sim in my spreadsheet so I can instantly compare the two model's outputs. I hope once I am retired I can break the obsession and just enjoy retirement.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:18 PM   #19
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In the years before retiring I would run FIRECalc every so often.

Just prior to retirement I ran my situation through FIRECalc and just about every free retirement calculator known to man, plus my own retirement spreadsheet plus the free (at the time) retirement review from Vanguard. Every one gave me various versions of a green light so I retired.

Now that I am retired, I probably run it once or twice a year when I happen to think of it.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:41 AM   #20
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Years ago I ran it and other calculators a bunch.
They all said 100% success

I do track our money and in 6 years it is 27% higher in purchasing power than when we retired and we now have 6 yrs less in the timeline.

So I feel more confident the $$ will last.
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