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Author: Rayvt Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 76395  
Subject: Re: Retirement Needs Formula? Date: 10/6/2013 12:35 PM
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The traditional TMF way to deal with that problem is to keep 5 yrs living expenses (only 20% of assets) in a laddered maturity bond portfolio. You live off the interest and the one bond that matures each year. In normal years you sell 4% of assets and buy a new 5 yr bond. If the market crashes, you defer replacing the bonds until after recovery.

That's the "cash bucket" method. And it is a mirage. It's an emotionally comforting story for a technique that is a failure financially.
Here's some other ways to describe it, all accurate:
* When the market goes down (crashes), shift your asset allocation to less cash and more stocks. The longer it goes down the more heavily you go into stocks.
* In the case of a very long bear market, wait until it has been going down for many years and then sell your stocks. Instead of selling early-on for 10% loss, hang on and sell for 50% loss.

The single biggest reason (IMHO) that it doesn't work is the step that is usually just mentioned in passing: refilling the cash bucket.

There is a spreadsheet here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xf4ma5blug27aws/SPY_Withdraw_by_Ca... that you can model a cash bucket portfolio using real historical data.
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