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Subject:  Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date:  2/18/2007  11:45 AM
Author:  telegraph Number:  2281 of 117510

ralph: "The retirement calculators NEVER give me the same info that my self-created spreadsheet gives me. I control the 'assumptions' in my spread sheet, therefore I trust my spreadsheet more than the calculators."

Some of the retirement planning programs are good....

Some are mechanical robots that assume the stock market will rise 10.8% every year, with 7-8% real gain over inflation, without fail, year after year. That is not a good assumption.

Even if you have 'an average' of 10.8% a year, it is the sequences of yearly gain - even more so in the first 5-10 years of retirement. A 50% drop the first year is a lot more significant than a 50% drop in the stock market after 10 years - especially if you are maintaining allocation to different asset classes!

Some use Monte Carlo simulations and base the result upon that.

Others use historical data to establish a 'safe withdrawal rate' based upon the 'worst possible outcome' that has occured over a similar withdrawal period in the past at the 'worst time'.

Recently, Kotlikoff has advocated planning using 'consumption smoothing', where data shows that people tend to want to spend more in initial years of retirement, then phase back on yearly expenses as they age.

From my perspective, I did that...first 3 years of retirement, I was 'gone' half the for a month to HI.....then 8 months later off for a month to AK......then yearly trips to Thailand and Caribbean and Costa Rica and other fun (relatively inexpensive) places to see things and have fun.....trip to England for the better part of a month.

After 8 years of retirement (and after 9-11 travel hassles) have cut gone maybe 15% of the time. Put 300,000 miles on cars in 8 years, so still 'getting around' but a lot more domestic travel now.

Enjoying being home for a while, and into more local activities.

Still places to see, but not into 'doing the tourist thing' in lots of other countries..... and putting more 'notches' in the gun just to say I've been to XXXX, YYYY, ZZZZZZ


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