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I guess I just don't really know what's a smart way to plan for so many different eventualities.

On a piece of paper in the first column write down the names of your Investment Assets. I only use account names.

Across the top write 5 yrs ago, 1 yr ago, and current.

Place the values in the proper cells and calculate your CAGR.

NOTE: Right or wrong when I do this I do not recalculate based on deposits/withdraws. This puts my 401k at a really high CAGR, but it goes on the assumption that my saving level would be consistent. If I want to increase CAGR I can either save more or invest better.

Figure out what investments are for what goals, and when you need to spend those investments. For example I have some cash accounts set up with Scottrade for my daughters' four weddings. I have an idea of how much I want to spend on each, and an estimate on when they will be married. (hoping the oldest does not get married at 22 which is only 10 years from now)

You can then figure out what your CAGR needs to be. If it falls short, you need to save more or reset your expectations.

The rule your retirement service has all the spreadsheets you need. Personally I have not done this exercise in a while and I know I am behind. Our goal is to spend less and save more, while continuing to remove emotion from my investment actions.

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