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Retirement Discussions / Retire Well on Less


Subject:  Re: Size does matter Date:  10/24/2003  5:25 PM
Author:  galagan Number:  164 of 1845

Nice board, wwl. I've got a couple questions:

- Try to pick investments with less volatile returns. Choose mutual funds over individual stocks and index mutual funds over actively managed funds.

Often, an asset with a less volatile return has a lower total return than an asset with a more volatile return. All other things being equal, a reduction in volatility of returns will increase the level of safety, but a reduction in total return will decrease the level of safety.

So I guess I'm curious: where are you suggesting one draw the line? The asset with least volatile returns is probably cash, but it's pretty clear that the reduction in total return more than offsets the decrease in volatility and results in lower withdrawals. Or would you advise keeping a "traditional" asset allocation that includes stocks and bonds but using more diversified funds rather than individual assets?

- Try to make your spending predictable and inflation-proof as possible. One way to do this is to pay off your house.

I'm also curious about your logic here. A house payment on a fixed-rate loan can stay constant for 30 years, irrespective of inflation. Now I agree that paying off your house can reduce your regular spending, but that's a different question: whether your house is a better investment than whatever you'd invest the payoff money in.

I hope you won't take my comments as criticism - I want to understand better what you are saying.

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