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Personally I've always looked at the 4% burn rate as a guideline and as implying 25x living expenses as the minimum you can consider retiring on. It is merely a ballpark starting point for further refinements.

You can certainly see how the low interest rates of today can be a problem for those who invest conservatively and still try to adhere to the 4% rule. I like the idea of an 8%/yr total return target. Then spending half your income and saving half looks far more reliable.

But the bottom line still is, if you don't use the 4% rule what do you do? Keep working until you can retire on dividend income? At least 4% shines a light on a strategy that can let you retire a bit sooner and with reasonable chances of covering your expenses for life.
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