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Author: Lokicious Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35342  
Subject: Re: Real Returns Date: 11/8/2006 8:25 PM
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Part of the challenge is that what people "need" and what they want to have in retirement are two vastly different things. Sure, you might be able to invest in t-bills and manage a minimal standard of living in retirement. But people tend not to focus on needs - they have lists of things they want but could live without, and if you tell them they have to take some risk to get those luxuries, they'd say to roll the dice.

This is where I think goal setting is essential. The numbers I used are for a lifestyle preserving goal (more or less the same expenses after retirement as before, with appropriate adjustments). But the goals can be set higher, say 150% of pre-retirement expenses, and the numbers recalculated. Or, people can do what I do, which is use conservative assumptions, then have money to play with for luxuries when reality is better. So, you can save enough to reach lifestyle preserving goals if stocks return 5% above inflation and bonds 2% above inflation, and if they actually get 7% and 3% (closer to historical numbers), then you can take that world cruise.

I agree there are a lot of folks who, given the choice of having a clear path to a lifestyle preserving goal and taking risks that might leave them eating dogfood if they don't pan out in order to achieve some luxery lifestyle would opt for the latter. I don't think they do it because they think about a safety net. I think they discount the risks.
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