While I find the 4% rule useful as a general guide to be sure I'm not getting extravagant, I developed a spreadsheet of my own long ago. It allows me to plan not only for normal expenses but also include special events in my life like transferring from individual health insurance to Medicare or replacing my car every few years. But what has gotten me through two nasty recessions since I retired is using a little common sense. When markets are down sharply I've cut back a little on expenses. I've found it really isn't hard to trim 5%. 10% would involve a little pain but could be done if necessary. Fortunately I've always lived comfortably but never felt compelled to have the biggest house on the block or the most toys. So my money is mostly in liquid assets that cost nothing to maintain instead of bricks, mortar and steel. The value and income stream may fluctuate with the economy but I'm not struggling to pay upkeep and real estate taxes on a depreciating asset. My parents would be pleased to know I was paying more attention to their example than they thought.
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