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I've never understood why this issue was so contentious. The idea of an absolutely fixed withdrawal rate is incredibly unrealistic, because I don't know anyone who wouldn't tighten their belt a little when things are tough or feel a little freer with their money when things are going well.

quite true

Retirement withdrawals rose to more than 10% assets well before the half-way mark in 1981 and breeched 20% of the portfolio balance by 1990, six years before the portfolio was depleted in 1996 at the end of the 30-year period. Few retirees would sleep well at night at a 10% withdrawal rate knowing they needed their money to last another 15 years or more -- especially if they understood they were testing the outer limits of these historical "safe withdrawal" studies.

intercst on retiring in bad times (and before tips)

here is an excellent page where intercst shows the worst times to retire in the past and suggests looking at annual withdrawals as a % of portfolio to see how a current (or March 2000 retiree is doing comparatively)

Since historical safe withdrawal rate analysis assumes that "the future is no worse than the past" (in this case, the past 130 years of stock market history), it would be nice if there was some way to fortell the future.

Lacking the crystal ball I am increasing diversification and preparing for a lower withdrawal rate. Lower chance of going bust but a higher chance of working too long <grin>

sorry that gusmed (and probably those who recced his post didn't understand Bernstein) Oh, well
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