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Author: gurdison Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5068  
Subject: Re: FIRE Benchmarks Date: 9/24/2003 2:31 AM
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<Sticking your head in the sand and sticking to a 25x approach because you don't think you can manage more just won't cut it and intercst has done a grave disservice with popularizing this idea.>


I'll try to focus my comments on the wannabees, whether they are in the early or late stages of accumulation.

The study is what it is, no more and no less. There was entirely too much wheel spinning on this subject. IMHO, it is a simple tool and should be especially useful to a FI/RE wannabe. You look at the parameters and the set of assumptions made and it spits out a result. Change the parameters a bit and the answer changes. So, if one decides that 0/100 is the only allocation they feel comfortable with, it spits out a 2.3% SWR (or roughly 42X).

I believe attempting to understand the study and the implications it may have on your plans is time well spent. I believe that any attempt to come up with a number for the future that you can cast in stone is an exercise in futility. It is much more crucial to spend your time on understanding the tradeoffs you are or are not willing to make along the way (job, family, kids, education or training, medical history, where to live, rent or buy, etc). You should also be spending a lot of time developing an asset allocation you are comfortable with. You should also be sure you have a good understanding of what your expenses will look like. You should be able to break them down into things that are absolutely needed, things that would make you comfortable and things that are pure extras. All of these factors will be different for each individual. It is infinately more imortant to focus on these than it is to go round and round trying to wrestle a firm SWR to the ground.

The math of the study is incredibly simple. It takes all the 30 year periods and tells you what the SWR were at the efficient frontier. It give you a number that would have survived (meaning it did not run out) the worst case. In most cases you had at least the amount you started with. In many cases you had much more than you started with. It does not tell you a damn thing about what it will be in the future, nor was it intended to. Maybe it will be 1%; or 6%; or maybe the asteroid hits us and it doesn't matter; or maybe someone gets so hysterical about the argument that they keel over from a heart attack, negating the need for it in the first place.

Some people have mentioned investment real estate as an option. It too is perfectly valid IMHO. It isn't part of the study, but so what? My assumptions in making that statement is that it is clearly not for everyone and that anyone following that line will have done as much DD as they would have on any stock investment. Where the real meat and potatoes are for a wannabe is in the major life decisions they make. Do you LBYM or not? Do you want to buy a modest house or do you want people to be impressed with your address? Are you satisfied having good reliable transportation or do you want others to do a double take when you drive by in your expensive sports car or SUV? When it comes time to settle down with a SO will you completely ignore that they are up to their eyeballs in CC debt because you are madly in love? Will this person always be looking out for you or will they slowly bring you down? Are there any family medical histories that you may be able to offset by modifying your behaviour (ie: smoking, exercise, diet, etc)?

I havent come close to hitting on all of the important questions, but I hope I made my point clear enough. I think any serious FIRE candidates will want to get used to working both sides of the equation. If you can improve your job prospects through further education or specialized training go for it. You also cannot take you eye off of the expense side of things. Finding the right balance for all of these ideas takes a lot of discipline. Finally, it makes no sense at all to totally deprive yourself from enjoying your life today in order to save everything for tomorrow.


BRG
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