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Dear TMFPixy:

The sets of conditions weighing on individual retirement investment decisions appear to vary significantly more than most of us can imagine from own experiences or even that of associates. I attempted to cover completely all the variables in doing my analysis of my situation, including those that change with time.

Since none of the packaged programs for doing these calculations, at least that I tried, were sufficiently detailed, I resigned myself to constructing my own spreadsheet. It was more complicated than I thought it would be, but I am satisfied with the results.

I guess we all need to answer that question: What kind of Fool (or fool) am I? The answer is definitely not "like any other Fool".

With sources of income, not significantly taxed, to live on for three years and assuming a normal life expectancy waiting to 65 to collect SS is the correct choice by my calculations.

In your reply to kathleenk, you appeared to down play the role SS can play as a significant portion of income for someone in a comfortable retirement. A married couple, recently retired at 62 and planing to collect SS at 65 after making the maximum contributions to SS in their working years, can collect approximately $40,000 per year. Even if the one spouse did not work, they can collect nearly $30,000 per year. Of course, these SS payments increase with inflation. One should also consider the reduced payments that a surviving spouse would be required to supplement, if early benefits are taken.

If one assumes a large enough continuous return on investments, we are all wealthy and the SS payments become less important. I'm using the Buffet/Bogel implied return of 7%.

These calculations do give one a sense of not being in complete control of ones destiny when you plug in higher, but within the realm of possibility, inflation rates. And I do not want hear that equities will always keep ahead of inflation, I've lived too long to believe that.

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