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View Poll Results: What was/is your probability of success for FIRE
100% 115 68.45%
95-99% 37 22.02%
90-94% 9 5.36%
80% 6 3.57%
70% 0 0%
below 70% 1 0.60%
Voters: 168. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-16-2020, 03:39 PM   #21
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I originally planned on retiring at 100% success in FIREcalc based on my most recent six months of expenses annualized and the rest of the data entries as close as I could make them to my actual situation.

About that time the job was still going well and I learned about Roth conversion ladders and decided to do that instead of 72(t). So I then added a requirement that I have five years of expenses accessible, which in my case was the value of my taxable account plus the value of my Roth contributions.

Since retiring in 2016, I've realized a few things: (a) I spend less when I'm not stressed by work, (b) I don't need that much to be happy, (c) I have flexibility and creativity that could be employed if needed, and (d) I have some non-porfolio income that is various and varied and not 100% reliable but does contribute a measurable amount in aggregate over time.

I continue to run FIREcalc periodically, and would personally feel comfortable with as low as a 95% success rate mostly because I believe personally that the future will economically be somewhat better than the past.

When I run FIREcalc now with my actual numbers and I solve for 95% success, it says I can spend about 2x what I am currently spending.

...

There is a guy on another forum who advocates for a 50% success rate. His logic, as best I can understand it, is that 100% is overkill because retiring at 50% success gives you the average outcome, which is to have enough money. I don't buy the logic and think it is flawed, but he's out there recommending it. He's still working though.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:46 PM   #22
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I retired 4 years ago with 126% however that didn't include SS. So I added SS into Firecalc and then it dropped my needed nest egg until it was just at 100% success, I now have 280% more than needed. But that was 4 years ago, the number today is 395.5% Part of that is the low spend rate, and part is we were long term good savers. We didn't retire until I was 61yrs old.
We need to learn how to spend money! I'll go look at "blow that dough", see if I can get some ideas.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:52 PM   #23
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When we retired over 5 years ago we could squeak by on the Pension's amount or we could squeak by on just our investment account. Combined, we were in the comfortable range. Since then the market has done very well. Now we are more than fine.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:02 PM   #24
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Definitely over 100%. I was able to reach my goal of a planned SWR of less than 2.5%. Having a pension helped, as well as a job I liked so I did not the desire and angst to want to leave it ASAP. I did not include SS, so when that hits pension + SS will cover expenses for both of us as well as the survivor.Our actual SWR has been closer to 1%, which includes paying off the mortgage this year.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:38 PM   #25
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Now I am wondering if there is anyone on this forum or know of someone who retired at a very low probability? 80% 70% 60% or even 50%
When I retired 19 years ago, I had never heard of a retirement calculator. I'm sure there were some around, but they weren't on my radar.

I simply looked at my situation and made a "seat of the pants" calculation that I would be fine unless TSHTF.

So far, so good.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:45 PM   #26
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My inner math pedant, usually barely under control, is forced to point out: X% success probability isn't the same as 100% success probability with X% of expected expenses (which I'm sure everyone here already knows). So all of these 100+% numbers don't really make sense. If P(success)>1 does that mean that probability of failure is negative? Poor math pedant brain melts at the thought.

All that said, this thread got me to run Firecalc for the first time in a year and, using the criteria of this thread, my success probability is now 260% if I live to be 100. Take that, math pedant brain.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:53 PM   #27
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Now I am wondering if there is anyone on this forum or know of someone who retired at a very low probability? 80% 70% 60% or even 50%
My first iteration came up with an 80% or so success. It was enough that I let it be known that since RIFs were coming I wouldn't mind if one came my way.

Now 7+ years in I'm well over 100%
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:55 PM   #28
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At least it should be a van.
Anything over 70% will get you at least a used RV down by the river.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:56 PM   #29
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See:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...od-102329.html
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:08 PM   #30
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When I retired 19 years ago, I had never heard of a retirement calculator. I'm sure there were some around, but they weren't on my radar.

I simply looked at my situation and made a "seat of the pants" calculation that I would be fine unless TSHTF.

So far, so good.
I retired nearly 21 years ago from my career job. I don't thing Firecalc existed at that time. So my answer could be "a hope and a prayer"

Actually, I took my pension, added 4% of my portfolio (from Trinity study), and had a number that I felt we could live within that amount given my LBYM inclination cultivated over 50 years.

21 years in, have raised two sons through college and the portfolio is now 3.5 times it's value in 2000.

Was very LBYM for the first ten years, but once made it through the financial crisis of 2008 I started loosening the purse strings.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:09 PM   #31
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80%. As of now I have far more stash than ever expected. Still less than a million. And getting bigger, got to start blowing some.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:12 PM   #32
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We were well north of 100% on FireCalc. I tracked all income/expenses for about 8 years before retiring and knew that we would have enough to retire.

I setup investments to provide for income. About 1/2 of our income is from investments, and 1/2 from DH's SS and pension. I'm deferring SS for another year. In the 20 months that I have been retired (DH is 10 years older and has been retired for a 9 years) we have only had to withdraw from 15K from our savings. That was to pay off a 2022 vacation. The key to successful retirement is to be prepared.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:32 PM   #33
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I had 95-100% with spending "X," no social, and no inheritance. We figured to spend 1.5X or more when we could, and probably will get good socials and some inheritance. Having majority of planned spending entirely discretionary, and being fine with reducing travel when needed, reduced need to maximize calculator results.

E.T.A. also ran calculator with other spending numbers and got lower results. I didn't answer poll, given our variability.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:33 PM   #34
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My inner math pedant, usually barely under control, is forced to point out: X% success probability isn't the same as 100% success probability with X% of expected expenses (which I'm sure everyone here already knows). So all of these 100+% numbers don't really make sense. If P(success)>1 does that mean that probability of failure is negative? Poor math pedant brain melts at the thought.

All that said, this thread got me to run Firecalc for the first time in a year and, using the criteria of this thread, my success probability is now 260% if I live to be 100. Take that, math pedant brain.
You are of course correct on the math. But numbers greater than 100% accurately convey information that I believe the OP was seeking.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:39 PM   #35
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When I retired 19 years ago, I had never heard of a retirement calculator. I'm sure there were some around, but they weren't on my radar.

I simply looked at my situation and made a "seat of the pants" calculation that I would be fine unless TSHTF.

So far, so good.
Similar story here. I was not a member of this forum until 2009, a year after I retired. However, in early 2008, I met with my first Account Executive at Fidelity, and we input my assets, income, and spending data into their RIP program. While I was sure I would be fine, My AE reassured me I was "good to go!" And I "went" at the end of October, 2008.

It's been all good since then, although I became a little squeamish when my HI premiums rose 50% in the first 2 years. The ACA had been passed, so its exchanges and premium subsidies would stabilize that otherwise volatile part of my budget.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:44 PM   #36
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I think the main thing Iíve learned from those calculators is that the devil is in the inputs. If we use tweak the inflation or CPI or portfolio allocation other numbers by just a bit they have big consequences.
Depending on my inputs Iím anywhere between 90-100%. I also donít include SS or any other inheritances because Iím still 25-30+ years from that.

With a big distance to travel (from 40) there is a lot that can change. So Iím waiting till I hit 100%.

I also like those that make the argument that if you are only 75% chance to reach, say 90+, is it worth waiting till your percent is 100%?

Finally, I find itís interesting that my changing number of years till death from 40 to 50 or 55 doesnít change % much since compounding effects mean the chance of ruin doesnít go up (much) with longer time windows past a certain point.

Lots to think about.
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:52 PM   #37
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Op,
You must realize that many folks on this forum got to ER by a LBYM lifestyle and many continue to live this lifestyle in retirement.
Thus 100% and above is a popular number when the WR% is typically less than 3%.
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Old 12-16-2020, 06:02 PM   #38
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I waited for 200%, which I define as doubling my actual expenses and still getting a 100% out of FIRECalc.
+1. Me, too, except I ended up buying a house that made it more like 120% of actual expenses.
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Old 12-16-2020, 06:03 PM   #39
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Living in an ultra low cost of living place helps. And time is your ally--starting to save when young.
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Old 12-16-2020, 06:05 PM   #40
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Another thing I should add about my ER was that I split up the financial side into two parts. The first is getting from my ER age (45) to age ~60 intact, using only my after-tax portion of the portfolio, the more challenging part. After that, things only get easier because my "reinforcements" arrive, those being (1) unfettered access to my rollover IRA, (2) my frozen company pension, and (3) SS.


The timeiine graph from the Fido RIP program showed my total portfolio's value exploding upward in my 60s, as I knew it would. My own spreadsheets only projected my ER through age 60.


I am only about 2 years from being able to access the first of those reinforcements, so I have gotten through the so-called tough part pretty easily so far.
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Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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