1 Year in, sort of


Dryer sheet aficionado
May 29, 2013
Sorry if this ends up sounding like a long winded boast, but if so I'll take it as a peculiar form of validation.

Originally retired at the beginning of April 2017, after just turning 59. In August, I was called back cause my replacement left (literally in handcuffs). So I worked part time through the end of 2017 as a consultant. 20-30 hr/week, half at the office, half at home. The net result was I didn't have to use any retirement funds.

When I ran Firecalc back in 2016, it showed an 81%-98% success depending on my assumptions. I just reran it using the "benike" spending model, but without SS or any equity in the house, just existing IRA balance and it gave me a 96% success rate. Add SS and change to constant spending, and it does drop to 71%. My withdrawal rate for this year will end up at 4.35% and will probably stay at that level for the next 2-3 years. But then is should drop to about 3% or less.

I feel most vulnerable to sequence of return risk as we have 2 kids, errr... young adults, who just started college this semester. Their college funds will take them through about 3 years assuming they don't chip in anything themselves. They know I expect them to contribute something after their freshman year, not because of financial need, but I think they should be financially vested in their own education.

My only other concern/risk is some large, unexpected expense or a major and extended down swing in the market. But I can't predict or control either of those, so why stress about it.

I don't miss work at all or the commute and spending the last year my kids were at home getting better acquainted was well worth any potential financial risk.
If your WR% drops to 3% or less in a couple of years and you are 60 years old, I would think that the Firecalc success ratio would be 100% or close to it vs. 71%.
+1 One way to calculate an "ultimate" withdrawal rate is to define the numerator as spending - SS and the denominator as nestegg - (SS * number of years until SS starts).... as if you squirreled a SS substitute aside in a separate fund and then started withdrawls for your gap and used the separate fund as a substitute for SS until SS starts.
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